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The Change Maker catapults readers into a world few will ever experience. Entertaining, fast-paced, and episodic, this memoir of an unconventional agent of change provides a lesson in the values of strategic thinking and responsible leadership found so wanting today.

With self-deprecating humor and irony, Al Checchi chronicles the meteoric rise whereby his creativity, strategic thinking, and negotiating skills helped transform three major American institutions—Marriott Corporation, Walt Disney, and Northwest Airlines—and led him to challenge the California political establishment as a candidate for governor.

Peppered with excerpts from speeches and articles, The Change Maker also offers thoughtful perspective on institutional change in America since the 1960s, and scalding commentary on the current state of our public and private institutions, political parties, the emergent political class, and the economic policies and leadership of the Obama administration.

Checchi demonstrates that through experience, vision, courage, and force of personality, one person can make a difference and lead others to move beyond their comfort zones and transform our institutions.

The Change Maker challenges us to confront the status quo and demand accountability and a restoration of the fiduciary standards so vital to reclaiming and maintaining America’s position of economic and political leadership.

This title is also available in paperback from Open Road Media.

ABOUT Al Checchi

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Alfred Attilio Checchi was born on June 6, 1948 near Boston, Massachusetts. His grandfather ran the Elba Fruit Market, a grocery in Calais, Maine. Checchi was raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he attended Catholic schools. His father worked for the Food and Drug Administration from 1946 to 1960, and later ran a successful consulting firm. Checchi and his wife, Kathryn, have three children.

    Checchi has enjoyed success in various business ventures, most notably in restructuring Northwest Airlines after the first Gulf War and repositioning Northwest to become the most profitable airline in the U.S. from 1993 through 1996. Al served as Chairman and Co-Chairman of Northwest from 1989 through 1996. By 1997, when Al left the company to enter politics, the partnership had returned more than $4.5 billion of cash and marketable securities to its original investors. Al continued to serve on the Northwest Board until April 2005. Prior to that, Checchi was a principal with Bass Brothers Enterprises, where he negotiated the profitable purchase, sale, and financing of several businesses and the investment in and strategic repositioning of Walt Disney Inc. From 1975 to 1982, Checchi worked at the Marriott Corporation where he developed innovative techniques to finance hotels that laid the foundation for the private equity industry. He ultimately served as Vice President, Corporate Development and Treasurer, managing all hotel development, foreign and domestic, and raising all corporate and project capital.

    In June 1998, Checchi ran in the California Gubernatorial primary against Gray Davis as a New Democrat, liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal ones. He campaigned on the theme of "change" increasing investment in education, making a 10% across-the-board cut in all state bureaucracies to pay for more teachers and after-school programs. Checchi supported regional planning for growth, regulatory reform, and financial incentives to stimulate housing. He released a 90-page book detailing his policies and political positions.

    Al received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and American Studies from Amherst College in 1970 and received a Master's degree in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1974. He is the author of several articles and two books: The Checchi Plan: A Vision for California in the 21st Century, and The Change Maker: Preserving the Promise of America. He has most recently drafted a new "Declaration for Independence."

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