Monthly Archives: March 2011

Andrew Hill

If you read anybody on the reputational threats facing McKinsey, it should probably be Walter Kiechel. As author of the definitive history of strategy consulting, The Lords of Strategy, he knows a lot about what goes on inside consultants’ heads.

On the Harvard Business Review blog, he’s used his knowledge and the latest revelations from the Galleon insider trading trial to explore “the beguilements…. beckoning to consultants over the last two decades”, in search of a better understanding of how Rajat Gupta, former head of McKinsey, “could have gotten himself into the current mess”.

(Gupta, who left McKinsey in 2007, is accused of sharing information, acquired in 2008 when he was a director of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble , with Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam. His lawyer has said the Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil charges of insider trading are “baseless”.) Read more

Two weeks ago, I had what I thought was a clever idea. I owned an iPhone that I had not been using in New York because I did not want to pay AT&T’s data charges of up to $45 per month for e-mail and browsing. Why not just connect it to the network on a voice plan and use it for this alone when not in WiFi range?

Andrew Hill

Having worked in Milan in the mid-1990s, I have a soft spot for Italy’s imprenditori – the enterprising corporate leaders, often company founders, who make up the backbone of the industrial economy. They must be ashamed of the way their government is stirring up protectionist sentiment against French takeovers of Italian companies like Bulgari. Read more

Andrew Hill

At last, a bit of perspective on tax avoidance.

Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, says something is lost when companies switch tax domicile on a whim. The pharma boss tells The Observer:

One of the reasons why we’ve seen an erosion of trust broadly in big companies is they’ve allowed themselves to be seen as being detached from society and they will float in and out of societies according to what the tax regime is.

 Read more

From the Birmingham Post to the Christian Science Monitor via the Korea Herald, the severe impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on global companies is making observers question the risks implicit in the country’s “vaunted ‘just-in-time’ approach to business” (as the New York Times put it).

John Gapper

Twitter’s fifth birthday today comes as  AT&T’s announces it wants to buy T-Mobile USA for $39bn to form the largest US mobile provider.  The two events are more than a coincidence.

AT&T produced some slides for its announcement showing the rapid growth in mobile data use – 8,000 per cent over four years according to its calculations – and is justifying the acquisition partly by warning of spectrum exhaustion.

Twitter, meanwhile, is the first big social media company to be conceived with mobile in mind. It’s 140-character limit for messages was based on the original 160-character limit for phone text messages. Read more

John Gapper

The New York Times’ plan to charge users online, which it unveiled today, has been dubbed by Ken Doctor a “pay fence” because it is easier to get over than a “pay wall”. The NYT’s fence is also rather low. Read more

It is tempting to dismiss the Renault scandal, which has humiliated Carlos Ghosn, the company’s chief executive, after he admitted this week that it had falsely accused three former executives of espionage, as a corporate Dreyfus affair.