Personalities: Flamboyant Pierre

Take two parts of insight and three parts of gall. Combine with chunks of meaty research, season with flammable forecasts and serve sizzling on a sharpened verbal skewer. The recipe describes the concoctions of Economist Pierre Rinfret, 46, the engaging, bumptious and increasingly conspicuous purveyor of advice to corporations, investment bankers, Presidents and other politicians.

Rinfret is part Puck, part Polonius. The blend is instantly apparent when, his chubby face rumpling into a smile, he admits that he is more than a bit controversial: "When Pierre stands up to speak, they say, There he goes again, that publicity seeker, that...

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