Monthly Archives: July 2009

John Gapper

I am going on sabbatical leave until late September. Normal service will be resumed then.

John Gapper

What have the Romans ever done for us? is the rhetorical question posed by the rabble-rouser Reg in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, to which the reply comes from his audience: aqueducts, roads, education, wine, peace etc. Read more

John Gapper

My weekly column for the FT this week is on financial regulation: Read more

John Gapper

Listening to a bunch of neuroscientists talking, as I did at the TED Global conference in Oxford is, ahem, challenging. But it was also gripping, even if my brain is not fully up to neuroscience. Read more

John Gapper

I am in Oxford at the TED Global conference, a melange of all sorts of talented people people making short and provocative presentations over four days. The surprise attraction at the opening session this afternoon was Gordon Brown, the British prime minister. Read more

John Gapper

I am not sure of the moral to be drawn from the fact that Citigroup, in its role as lender, has taken control of a resort hotel in California where American International Group held a retreat after being bailed out by the US government, but it is a straw in the wind.

The St Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point is far from the only resort hotel to be in trouble as a result of the severe cutbacks in business travel and conferences following the financial crisis. Read more

John Gapper

The Federal Reserve and the Treasury must be patting themselves on the back today after managing to face down the finance company CIT successfully.

After being refused a further public bail-out, CIT managed at the weekend to negotiate a two-year $3bn rescue package with its lenders that keeps it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Read more

John Gapper

I have written a piece for the Weekend FT on Charlie Gasparino of CNBC:

Charlie Gasparino, chronicler of Wall Street and champion television reporter of its downfall, is in his element. He is sitting at a prime window-side table at San Pietro, his favourite lunch-time ­restaurant in Manhattan, ruminating on the financial crisis, when a familiar face appears. Read more

John Gapper

With apologies for lateness – travel and problematic internet connections are to blame – here is my column from the FT on Thursday: Read more

John Gapper

The saga of Chooch, the low-budget film dragged into the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the financial links between investment firms and the New York State pension fund, from which they were seeking business, is intriguing.

The film itself, to judge by its Amazon DVD description, only sounds worth renting if you are desperate: Read more

John Gapper

I have written a piece for the Weekend FT on Rupert Murdoch:

It is a long way from Sun Valley to the Street of Shame. Read more

John Gapper

Fritz Henderson’s remarks this morning on General Motors’ speedy exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy were a pretty sweeping condemnation of the old GM’s culture and structure.

His decision to sweep away entire layers of regional management, and eliminate the entire group running the North American business and taking charge himself, suggest there was a lot of redundancy. Read more

John Gapper

The executive comings and goings at Citigroup have provided plenty of material for intrigue in the past year and the latest reshuffle is no exception.

The arrival of Eugene McQuade, a veteran commercial banker, as the head of Citi’s North American operations as Ned Kelly is pushed upstairs to vice-chairman from being Citi’s chief financial officer, feels as if it could turn out to be significant. Read more

John Gapper

My Thursday column in the FT is about corporate financiers: Read more

John Gapper

I was naively puzzled for a long time about how people got addicted to painkillers – what was so enjoyable about having pain numbed? – until I tried Vicodin.

It was prescribed after a minor operation last year and I suddenly discovered the alluring qualities of pills such as Vicodin and Percocet that combine opiates with paracetamol. After a day or two of pleasurable wooziness, I thought it would be wise to stop. Read more