Howard Stringer this week apologised at Sony’s annual general meeting in Tokyo for the hacking attacks that contributed to a 24 per cent fall in its shares in the past three months and a 16 per cent cut in his pay as chief executive. Meanwhile, the culprits have sailed gleefully away.
Three things irritate me about Biz Stone’s announcement that he will step back from running Twitter.
1) He doesn’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s”. (Too much time reading his followers’ tweets, I suspect).
2) He talks about his stint at Twitter in grandiose terms that imply he has been there a lifetime, describing how his work there has “spanned more than half a decade”.
3) His Twitter project isn’t complete yet. Read more
Richard Lambert’s piece on Vallares and the reputation arbitrage that the £1.3bn investment vehicle is pulling off by listing on the FTSE 100 is well worth reading. It raises serious questions about how London financiers are exploiting index funds.
As Sir Richard, a former editor of the FT, points out, Tony Hayward and Nat Rothschild are pulling a neat trick by promising investors they can release the “trapped value” of commodity groups in far-flung countries with murky corporate governance:
You unlock this value by putting a respectable board of directors on top of the notepaper, by appointing managers with a strong following in financial markets, by pledging to follow all relevant corporate governance codes and by listing the shares on the London Stock Exchange, preferably on a scale that gets them into the FTSE 100 index. Suddenly investors who might previously have run a mile are queuing up to buy.
Surveys say business leaders are overwhelmed, workers are stressed out and unfulfilled, and managers are struggling to manage. My straw poll reveals why: they are frantically filling in questionnaires and participating in online surveys.
Old companies may die, but old stock market indices ought to live for ever. Certainly, the longevity of the FT30 index, first published in 1935, suggests they can go on and on, even if their relevance ebbs and flows.
In fact, there could be no better moment to revive interest in the original benchmark of British stocks. Read more
J.K. Rowling is not the average author, given that she has amassed a estimated fortune of £500m from the Harry Potter series and that she can more or less dictate her terms to Hollywood studios and others.
Nonetheless, her new e-book venture Pottermore is a fascinating insight into the shifting balance of power between book publishers, authors and e-book retailers and publishers, led by Amazon’s Kindle platform.
I wrote last July about the impact of the short-lived threat by Andrew Wylie to publish backlist titles from his authors in e-book format without giving the publishers with the physical book rights a share of revenues.
Since then, other agents have jumped on the bandwagon, including Ed Victor, the UK agent, who has established a publishing arm. Read more
Some have attributed Nick Clegg’s proposal to give every British voter a share in the UK’s state-owned banks (floated during a trade visit to Rio de Janeiro) to a combination of jet lag, domestic political calculation and Copacabana sunstroke. But the UK deputy prime minister’s suggestion has a long pedigree – longer than perhaps even he recognises. Read more
The demise of Norwegian electric car pioneer Think Global will drain some of the energy from advocates of electric vehicles.
They should recharge by shifting their view from blueprints of cars and studying instead more comprehensive plans that aim to combine vehicle, infrastructure and services. Read more