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Thoughts on Leadership: Leading Like a Dog

For today’s post, I want to talk about dogs. Well, people really, but first, let’s talk about dogs. According to the latest survey from the American Pet Products Association, pet ownership in the U.S. rose to an all-time high—70% of U.S. households—in 2020. Why? Because pets are the perfect companions. No matter if we’ve been… The post Thoughts on Leadership: Leading Like a Dog appeared first on RISMedia. For today’s post, I want to talk about dogs. Well, people really, but first, let’s talk about dogs. According to the latest survey from the American Pet Products Association, pet ownership in the U.S. rose to an all-time high—70% of U.S. households—in 2020. Why? Because pets are the perfect companions. No matter if we’ve been away from them for five minutes, five hours or five days, they’re exuberantly excited to greet us. But for me, it’s not just pets, it’s dogs that are the greatest pals we could ask for. One of the best feelings is coming home from a trip, pulling up to the front door in my Uber, and seeing my dog, Kona, through the window, wagging her tail as I walk up to the house and step inside. It makes you feel so good, doesn’t it? You just feel so loved by this animal in front of you that your heart could almost burst from the joy of it all. That kind of enthusiasm got me thinking about one of my mentors, Bob Moles, who has the same ability to make you feel welcomed and happy every time he sees you. It’s why I believe one of the rarest but most incredible qualities of a leader is their ability to be like a dog. I met Bob when I was in the third grade (we played little league together and his dad was our coach), so it’s remarkable that we ended up working together and that he played a defining role in my real estate career. They say you are the sum of everyone you meet, and I have truly been blessed to have met Bob when I did because our fortuitous friendship shaped the entirety of my professional life. Bob was one of my earliest mentors and he gave me a great deal of confidence in my career. As a coach and a mentor, he had confidence in me, and we all know when your coach believes in you unequivocally, you tend to believe in yourself, too. Let’s travel back to 1988 and recall a story that perfectly encapsulates Bob’s influence on my life. At the time, I had just become manager of a Contempo Realty office—Bob was president of Contempo Realty and his father was the chairman. I was a hard-charging manager, making all sorts of changes that I felt would have a positive impact on the culture, productivity, and profitability of the office. I got a new copy machine. I extended the office hours and announced the office would be open on Saturdays and Sundays, with a receptionist ready to greet prospective clients. I changed the way we were answering the phone. I changed the way we greeted people. I required attendance at office meetings. I established a dress code for the gentlemen to wear a tie and crisp, white shirts. Mediocrity or stagnation was not tolerated. Excellence was expected. And while the changes were created with improving the office environment and experience in mind, change can be a tricky thing. Most people don’t like it. As you might suspect, the office was up in arms about this new manager who was making all these changes to how things used to be. The office was so upset about the changes, they all got together and arranged a lunch with Bob Moles to explain their agitation with my new style of management. After the lunch was over, I went to Bob and asked him how it went. He said, “Well, they had some issues with your management style.” I replied: “So, what should I do?” Bob responded, “I don’t care if you need to change out every single agent in that office. You are the leader and I trust you’ll do a great job.” It was that kind of support that gave me the confidence I needed to know my decisions were solid. If a leader like Bob believed in me, I knew I could believe in myself. In fact, if I was ever having a tough day or a problem I couldn’t solve, I’d give Bob a call and immediately that problem seemed fixable or that tough day got brighter. It reminded me about what I later learned from Og Mandino, author of the bestselling book, The Greatest Salesman in the World. Og said pain is like having a pebble in your shoe; it seems so harsh at the time, but you are surprised when you remove your shoe and find only a grain of sand. When we sold Contempo Realty and Bob became the president of Century 21, I stayed on as the president of Contempo. I called him every single day for the next seven years at 6:30 in the morning to get his advice. His counsel was that important to me and my leadership journey. I can still remember we’d have these monthly all-company meetings at Contempo and whenever I came into the room, Bob would be waiting to shake my hand and greet me like I was the only person there. I went on to observe him do the very same thing to every team member who joined the meeting. It made them feel special, the kind of special you experience when you walk through the door and are greeted by your beloved dog. The kind of special I feel every time I step out of the car and see Kona’s tail go crazy at the very sight of me. It’s why I say, a leader who can have that dog-like enthusiasm is a special kind of leader to admire and revere. Bill Clinton was famous for possessing this kind of charisma. In a 2014 article, Fast Company,reporter Stephanie Vozza noted that Bill Clinton has “legendary focus and can make anyone feel like the most important person in the room.” Clinton’s political arch-nemesis, Newt Gingrich, even commented on this distinct ability, describing the former President as “one of the most charming and effective people I’ve ever negotiated with.” So, what’s the message? On the opposite end of this happiness spectrum, when you ignore someone, or when you make them feel small, it’s one of the most awful emotions anyone can experience. But if you can uplift them—if, like Bob Moles, Bill Clinton and my sweet dog, Kona, you can focus on how happy you are just to see them step in your direction—then you’ve got a truly special ability to connect with your team in a way not many people can. To this day, Bob is one of the few people who regularly gets together with his high school friends; and if you stop by his house, he always makes you feel welcome. It’s not often I say leadership is for the dogs but in this one instance, it absolutely is. P.S. If you’re reading this on Friday, it’s Bob Moles’ birthday. Happy birthday, Bob, and thanks for inspiring me all these years. This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America. The post Thoughts on Leadership: Leading Like a Dog appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMay 22nd, 2022

Mark Esper says the Trump campaign"s months-long effort to challenge the 2020 election was "a national embarrassment": book

"I never imagined ... that these challenges would go on and on, and play out through November, December, and January," Esper wrote in his memoir. Former President Donald Trump, with former Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 28, 2020.Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images Esper in his new book criticized the lengthy challenges to the 2020 election waged by the Trump campaign. He wrote that he didn't foresee the GOP efforts "play out through November, December, and January." Trump continues to litigate the 2020 election and repeat debunked claims about the final results. Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in his new released memoir called the Trump campaign's months-long effort to contest the 2020 presidential election "a national embarrassment," indicating that the lengthy Republican-led push to challenge the results undermined the country's credibility.In the book, "A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times," Esper — who served under former President Donald Trump as Army secretary from 2017 to 2019 and in his aforementioned role from 2019 until his November 2020 termination by the then-president — wrote that he had long hoped for an election with a clear victor."In the weeks and months leading up to the election, close friends and colleagues would ask me my thoughts on the contest," he said. "I would simply say that I wanted the election to be 'clean and clear,' meaning no corruption that could overturn the results, and an electoral vote margin large enough to prevent any serious challenge to the outcome."He continued: "If we had a repeat of what happened in Florida in 2000, with only a few hundred votes deciding the winner of the contest, that could be an invitation for mischief."In the 2000 presidential election between then-Democratic Vice President Al Gore and then-Republican Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, Bush edged out Gore by 537 votes out of nearly 6 million ballots cast in the Sunshine State after an extensive recount process and myriad legal challenges that didn't produce a final result until December that year.Esper in his book wrote that he could see many of the close statewide races trending toward then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden immediately after Election Day."I was relieved ... to wake up on the morning of November 4 to learn that the election was not in fact balanced on a razor-thin margin," he said. "Joe Biden was ahead with large enough vote counts in enough states, coupled with strong indications that other open races were trending his way, that it would be difficult for Trump to seriously challenge the results."He went on to state that an examination of election results is to be expected when there are charges of election fraud or questions concerning voter integrity, but didn't think it would be dragged out for a long period of time."I was not surprised by the allegations of fraud and malfeasance that some GOP officials would begin levying," he wrote. "Trump and his campaign did the same and began exploring ways to challenge some of the vote counts."He added: "That was part of the process, and it is important to the integrity of any election that credible allegations be investigated. It would delay the outcome, I thought, but not too long, and would most likely not change it."However, Esper was not thrilled by the lengthy timeline of the challenges — which included various Republican groups seeking to invalidate certain votes, along with the push to overturn results in key swing states that included Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania in an attempt to block Biden's win."I never imagined ... that these challenges would go on and on, and play out through November, December, and January," he wrote in his book. "It was a national embarrassment that undermined our democracy, our credibility, and our leadership on the world stage."Trump also reportedly pressed the Justice Department to declare the election corrupt, and was surrounded in the last weeks of his administration by advisers who recommended he could compel his vice president to block the certification of Biden's election, or could even use his powers to impose martial law. Trump would eventually leave the White House in January 2021, but he continues to repeat debunked claims of a "stolen" election as he teases a potential 2024 presidential campaign.A representative for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 10th, 2022

Transcript: Samara Cohen

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Samara Cohen, BlackRock CIO for ETF and Index Investments, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ:… Read More The post Transcript: Samara Cohen appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Samara Cohen, BlackRock CIO for ETF and Index Investments, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have yet another special guest — extra special guest. Samara Cohen is the Chief Investment Officer at BlackRock where she manages ETFs and index investing. BlackRock is $10 trillion. Their ETF business is over $3 trillion. Their index business is also over $3 trillion. Samara is consistently on everybody’s list of most influential women in finance, but that’s not why you want to listen to this. You want to listen to this because there really are very few people in the world more knowledgeable about managing ETFs, managing indexes, what passive really means, how people should be thinking about the actual engineering of products if you want to have broad market exposure or specific types of beta. Really, I’m going to stop talking and just say with no further ado, my conversation with Samara Cohen. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Samara Cohen. She is BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officer for ETFs and index investments. BlackRock manages up about $10 trillion. The ETF business is about $3.27 trillion. Samara Cohen, welcome to Bloomberg. COHEN: Thank you so much, Barry. I’m happy to be here. RITHOLTZ: I’m happy to have you here. I have so many questions to ask you, but I have to start out with your education, which we usually skim over. So, you graduated UPenn with a B.S. in Economics and — and Finance at — at Wharton, but you also had a B.A. in Theatre Arts. How has theater training helped in your financial career? COHEN: First, Barry, when you hear theater, a lot of people might think that — that I was an actor, so I feel like I need to start with the fact that I was decidedly a backstage kid. My love of theater was very much on the production, design, directing, you know, behind-the-scene side, and that has definitely helped me across the course of my career. But I have to tell you, I came to the University of Pennsylvania to be a theater major, and I left with a dual degree in Finance and Theater. So, finance was something I discovered because I knew I was good at math, in fact, when I started college I didn’t really need to take any math classes because I had all of this credit. And I missed it, and so I discovered markets and economics, and it felt like math with a purpose, so — and I got to combine the financial degree with the theatre degree, which made my parents much more comfortable with the fact that I was spending all of my summers working for regional theater companies basically, but it was a big part of learning who I am. And — and today in my role, I often remember being told that casting is 95 percent of directing, and putting the right person in the right seat is a lot about leading any business, so it definitely has played a part throughout. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So, you — you end up interning at Goldman Sachs on the trading floor pretty early in your career. Tell us what that was like and — and how theatrical was that. COHEN: Well, actually I came to Goldman out of business school. I — well, my first job was actually at BlackRock. That’s where I came out of college. I was at BlackRock for four years, went to business school. And part of why I went back to school after BlackRock was in my head I thought, “Maybe I could further combine this love of finance and love of theater. And how might I do that?” And I loved the idea of going back to school. I’m kind of a voracious learner, and I’d work hard and I liked the idea of meeting other people and seeing what was out there after four years of — of working. And in that summer and actually in the process of figuring out where I wanted to work for the summer, I visited the trading floor. And I walked onto the trading floor, and I thought this is it. It’s a lot like theater. It’s a lot like that like multi-tasking, high-energy collaborative environment where lots of things are happening at the same time. And I thrive in that. And so, actually, the theater — the — the trading floor I found pretty theatrical, and that really worked for me. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, there’s a — there’s a buzz, there’s an electricity on a big trading floor, which I think is one of the things that’s lost from old Wall Street. You can replace it with more efficient algorithms and technology. But man, when you walk onto a big floor, you just feel there’s nothing like that. And ever … COHEN: Right. RITHOLTZ: … have a desire to become a trader? Was that — did that ever appeal to you? COHEN: Until I walked onto the trading floor, the idea really scared me. And you know what? I — actually, I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody this. I did not proactively send my résumé to the Securities Division. They reached out to me as part of a diversity hiring effort to get more women onto the trading floor. And the reason I didn’t send my résumé was it sounded really intimidating to me. And so, I think that’s just an important thing to — to note is that sometimes if something’s interesting, even if it’s intimidating, it’s worth checking out because I knew. And yes, there weren’t a lot of women on the floor when I walked out there, but it was really clear to me that I would, you know, once I got my bearing and learned to speak the language, it can be an intimidating place at first, but — but I knew it would be a great fit for me. RITHOLTZ: So, let me make sure I understand the chronology of your career. So, you intern at BlackRock, then you work at Goldman for like 16 years, something like, then you boomerang back to BlackRock. Did I — did I get that right? COHEN: Yeah, pretty much. I went to BlackRock out of college, and then business school from BlackRock, and then Goldman from business school, and then back to BlackRock. RITHOLTZ: That’s really, really interesting. I — I heard the phrase BlackRock boomerang. Is this a thing to people like work at BlackRock, leave, and then, you know, magnetically get drawn back? What’s that about? COHEN: In my case, it was definitely a thing. I don’t know the — like with the total stats are, but it’s definitely true for other people. I mean, people’s careers are marathons and — and not sprints. And — and, you know, part of my marathon — an important part of my marathon actually was that 16 years at Goldman. I think had it not been for that, I wouldn’t have the seat I currently occupy at BlackRock, so I’m pretty grateful for it. But also, I think my — my history with BlackRock and my passion for the firm and its purpose did draw me back as well. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about that seat you have at BlackRock. You recently were promoted to Chief Investment Officer of ETFs and index investments. That sounds like a pretty serious job, especially when we consider at BlackRock, you know, that’s well over $3 trillion in assets. Tell us a little bit about your new job responsibilities. COHEN: I’m really excited about the new job. And — and even more than — than me being in the job, I’m excited about the fact that we have a Chief Investment Officer role for ETFs and index. And it actually is broader than the ETF book. It’s our whole indexing book. And in the — and — and what it means in short is that I’m accountable for — for investment performance in our ETFs and index book, which I love telling people because sometimes they look at me and they say, “Well, I don’t really understand that. Isn’t investment performance the outperformance of a benchmark? And aren’t you, Samara, ETF and index person the benchmark?” So, what is investment performance? And we’ve done a lot of work really in partnership with our clients and articulating what that is. And in the case of ETFs and index, it’s two things. It’s first what we call market quality. What do you expect an ETF? It’s how it trades in the market, secondary market volumes, market quality in stress scenarios, premium discount behavior. There’s a bunch of metrics that we monitor with respect to ETF market quality. Part of my job is to be accountable for performing on those, and the other part is delivering on those index outcomes, which in a world where what we can index is evolving as more markets and more strategies are indexed. It’s also important that we deliver to investors what they had signed on for with that index objective. And so, that’s what it means to be the CIO of an ETF and index book. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned market quality and — and performing within the market, you know, was only less than two years ago we had the big COVID selloff in March, and people were concerned that ETFs were not going to be able to manage the — the pressure, they wouldn’t be able to deal with all of the stress, you know, all the usual criticisms of indexing plus additional criticisms of ETFs. How did ETFs perform during that 34 percent collapse from February to April of — of 2020? COHEN: The people who were concerned before the COVID bout of volatility had a huge and rich set of data to draw from when we emerge from those volatile markets that show that actually ETFs have really supported stressed markets, added liquidity, added transparency. And that was on a full display over the COVID volatility period, particularly in the bond market, where if you think about what was happening across the world, there were traders who were, you know, setting up their — their home desks, their — their home, you know — you know, hundreds of — that one trading floor that we talked about that came thousands and thousands of — of home office trading floors. And the bond market, in particular, still has largely operated in an over-the-counter bilateral basis in the bond market for — for that reason and a whole lot of other reasons. You know, and the treasury market, in particular, became very hard to access while ETF, you could see on your phone they were transparent, they were trading. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: One of the stats that I love to quote that I think is quite indicative of what was happening over that period is, you know, we had an investment grade ETF that traded on one of those volatile days in March — March 24th 90,000 times on exchange. And, of course, every time something prints on an exchange is price formation where its — its underlying bonds — the top holdings of that underlying bond portfolio traded, on average, 30 times. So, 90,000 versus 30. There just wasn’t price formation happening in the bond market, but it was happening in the ETF market with buyers and sellers meeting on exchange, which meant that there wasn’t a whole lot that needed to happen in the underlying bond market to — to support that. And so, really — and — and what’s interesting is you can see a whole lot’s been written by policymakers around the world about this supportive role that ETFs have effectively played in — in stressed markets. The, you know, SEC has written about it, the BOE, IOSCO, so it’s been exciting to have this really rich dataset to draw and looking back at that period. RITHOLTZ: The bond discussion is really interesting, and — and I was referring to equities, but we’ll circle back to that. You know, a lot of people have complained that bond markets are thin. You know, you have a few 1,000 stocks, but there are just countless, countless numbers of bonds — many, many more times of bonds than there are stocks. It seems like the bond ETF universe handled the crash — or plunged maybe is a more accurate word because it was so short — handled it pretty well. Everybody — we saw a lot of money rotate out of stocks into bonds. As a safe harbor, didn’t seem like there were a lot of dislocations or wild price anomalies or an inability to get an execution. The bond ETF universe seemed to behave really well. COHEN: The bond ETF universe behaved well. And as a result, the bond market behaved better. And that’s one of the things that I get really excited about because the fact is I’m really a lifelong markets reformer. That’s the passion that I have. I’ve spent my entire career in the markets and — and my desire, at this point, is to contribute to making them better, making them safer, more efficient, more transparent, and we can measure how bond ETFs actually did that in the bond market. And, in fact, interestingly, as a result of the — the demand for bond ETFs that came out of the COVID period, we had seen the bond market start to trade more electronically big pieces of the bond market portfolios in the bond market. Bond dealers have started to really invest in algorithmic pricing, which creates more transparency, more trading, and more liquidity. So, we’ve written about and we’ve observed this what we call a real virtuous cycle of how ETFs have been integrated into the fabric of — of capital markets across the board. And we can definitely talk about equities, but how in the bond market it has been good for bond ETFs and also good for bonds. RITHOLTZ: So, when we had the great financial crisis since ’08, ’09, I thought that was pretty much the end of the argument that indexing is problematic for markets or ETFs aren’t going to be able to handle pressure. That — that should have been the last word in that. I was kind of surprised to see those same arguments still hanging around. And then March 20202, the execution seemed to go off without a problem. There were a handful of individual stocks that’s sort of pricing get a little wacky. But is this the end of the passivist destroying the markets and ETFs are dangerous argument or is there — are they just going to throw this out every time there’s something else to complain about. COHEN: I love your thoughts on that, Barry. I would hope that it’s a — it’s — it’s closer to the end where we — where we can kind of look forward to — to numerous things that can improve the markets. But look you make an excellent point. I mean, to be fair, in 2008, I was — I was on the bond trading floor actually at Goldman and I didn’t know what an ETF was, like in 2008, you know, in — in the fixed income markets, you didn’t — you know, you — we weren’t talking about what ETFs were. But to your point, it is true. If we look back at the data during those weeks and months when what was so valued by investors was transparency and was so feared was the lack of transparency when all this information was coming out about bank balance sheets and what was on balance sheets, we did see a real pick up in volume and velocity of ETF trading in 2008 and in 2009. And we have repeated stressed market events like the big energy selloff that happened at the end of 2015, the — you know, what we call Volpocalypse that happened in February of 2018 where we have repeatedly seen ETFs perform well under pressure and actually add support to high-velocity markets. And yet this still, you know, comes out from time to time, which feels like kind of the language that comes out around any sort of disruptive technology. But I do think like we talked about that the — the data is pretty clear. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: You are definitely responsible for a lot of capital, and that leads me to a quote of yours that I — I need an explanation on. At BlackRock, there is absolutely nothing passive about index investing. Explain. COHEN: I am on a mission, Barry, to replace the word passive with the word index when people talk about ETFs and index investing because how we manage our portfolios is extremely active. And it goes back to that conversation we had about what investment performance is in the context of an ETF and index investment book. It is delivering the index outcomes, which the reason ETFs and – and index ones exist is that indexes aren’t often easily investable. They could have thousands and thousands of securities in them. And so, depending on how much you — you, you know, are investing, you can’t perfectly replicate the index, and so you need to optimize to deliver that index outcome with as little friction as possible. So that’s delivering the index outcomes. And then there is that huge dimension of ETF market quality, ensuring that the ETFs track the underlying portfolios with, you know, we call it premium discount behavior, ensuring that they’re strong secondary market quality, transparency, and liquidity in the ETFs. So, we have teams of people, not robots, but actual people. And a lot of them, by the way, are women around the world who are actively managing our market quality and investment performance in our ETF and index book. So that’s why there is absolutely nothing passive about it. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. We’ve gone through these periods whether these spasms of anti-indexing sentiment, and it goes all the way back to Jack Bogle and — and the early days of indexing in the 1970’s. Indexing is un-American. It’s — we’ve heard people call it Marxist. It’s going to lead to market crashes. What — what’s your perspective when you hear these things crop up? The – by the way, the latest one is it’s anti-competitive and it’s going to lead to price fixing and a lack of competition due to all this ownership. How do you respond to those sort of backwater, low review silliness? COHEN: I — I begin with — and we’ve written on this this year in — in something we call the Investor Progress Report, but we estimate that there’s about 120 million people around the world who are accessing our ETF and index capabilities. There are more people accessing the markets, and investing in the markets, and participating in economic growth on their terms than never before in history. And from my perspective, there’s really nothing that’s more American than that. So that’s how I think about it. I think ETFs bring markets. They bring the market access. They bring transparency. And increasingly, they bring choice to lots of individual investors who are saving for retirement and thinking about their financial futures with the help of ETFs in ways that they couldn’t before. And a lot of the — you know, one of the pieces that we — that we put out recently points out to the fact that a lot of the households who own ETFs in the United States have — have median incomes of $125,000. So, you’re talking about investors who simply didn’t have market access before who, as a result of ETFs and indexation, can — can get diversified strategies to manage their risk the way more sophisticated institutional investors have and participate in the markets. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about product engineering. Tell us a little bit about what that means. What sort of projects are these teams working on? It’s one of those phrases that definitely resonates. COHEN: I’m glad that it resonates. It’s something that we’ve been using for — for a few years now. And that team, which is global, there are product engineers in — in really every major region of the world. And they do two things. First, they help design the operating models and the investment process for — for new ETFs, how will creation redemption work, what are the characteristics of the index. What — you know, how will the index rebalance? Those types of things when it comes to new ETFs. And the second piece of what they do, which is actually really critical, is they continue to manage the structure of the product over its lifetime. So sometimes, we will identify something in one of those market quality statistics that, you know, let’s say it seems to be trading a little bit wide in the secondary market, and we’ll go out and we’ll talk to market makers and ask what’s happening. And they’ll say, well, it’s a little tricky to hedge because of X, Y, and Z. And sometimes, we can change something structurally and how the market interacts with the ETF to improve its investment performance in market quality. And that’s the purview of our product engineering group. So, I tell all of our teams, you know, I want all of our teams to be able to explain how they contribute to the active management of our ETF and index book, and that’s how the product engineering does by — by identifying the operating model and by continuously assessing and improving it. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about the rest of your team. You have portfolio engineers, risk managers, platform architects, market structure developers, and product operating model designers. That sounds like some very intriguing job descriptions. Tell us about what a market structure developer does or some of those other really interesting titles. COHEN: I think they’re all exciting jobs, and I do have to make a plug for — for anybody who is — is considering going into investing. It’s never a dumb question to ask what — what is the job, but because there are so many different jobs. And I remember when I was in college, I was almost scared to ask that. But — but as you just pointed out, and it’s — it’s, you know, fun for me to kind of hear you walk through it, there are so many different types of ways to be an investor and to participate in an investment platform. So really, we do three things. Number one, we manage day in and day out. We are responsible for the investment performance of our funds, how we’re managing the portfolios through rebalances, through corporate actions, and how we’re managing ETF market quality. That’s number one. Number two is we are continuously improving our platform in the Aladdin technology that we use to manage our portfolios to make things that can be lower touch — lower touch to give us capacity to spend more time on, you know, new markets and new strategies so that platform architecture piece, how we create scale that’s kind of bucket two of what we do. And the third part is ecosystem leadership. And you talked about — you know, we talked about how we engage with liquidity providers, with stock exchanges. Earlier, you talked about the — the COVID volatility. And I think it’s really important and — and was a really interesting case study in the U.S. that a lot of the volatility guardrails that had been put in place by the U.S. stock exchanges over the five years preceding March 2020, market-wide circuit breakers, limit up/limit down, like the whole limit up/limit down framework was really only 10 years old had been tested a few times and had its biggest test in March of 2020. We engaged very deeply with stock exchanges. Remember in the U.S., ETFs are between 30 and 40 percent of daily trading volume, so those volatility guardrails really matter from a market quality perspective. So, focusing on the external environment for our ETFs, that’s what we mean by ecosystem developer. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned Aladdin. I just finished a couple of months ago the book, “Trillions” by Robin Wigglesworth, and he describes the Aladdin system really as the technological backbone of — of BlackRock from the very beginning and the secret sauce to that successful scaling. Tell us a little bit about — for — for a person who may be not familiar with Aladdin, tell us a little bit about that. COHEN: Aladdin is how we — we arm our investment managers, both BlackRock’s investment managers and the investment managers who are — who are Aladdin clients outside of BlackRock with best-in-class risk management tool. And it is the — the DNA of the firm. And I can say that actually because as I’ve shared with you, I was at the firm pretty much at its — at the beginning. BlackRock was started in — in 1988, and — and I started there in — in 1993. And the reason BlackRock was founded really was a group of fixed income markets, specifically mortgage-backed security experts who said, “We can take this technology that’s been built on the sell-side and deliver it directly to clients as a fiduciary to help them create better outcomes.” So, giving — putting better risk management tools directly in the hands of — of clients was really BlackRock’s founding mission. And — and that’s what Aladdin has grown in today. First, it was the system that all of BlackRock’s portfolio managers used, and then it became a system that — that other asset managers wanted to — to access as well, and it is really the — the backbone of how we — we look at risk and we run our portfolios. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. So, let’s talk a little bit about ESG generally, and then we’ll — we’ll — we’ll dig down a little more specifically. Your boss, Larry Fink, famously pens a — a letter each year to Corporate America’s. Tell us a little bit about why we do that and — and what — what’s the thinking behind that. COHEN: Larry writes a letter to start a conversation, and it’s really a conversation with our clients who are owners in all of these companies across Corporate America and — and what we think are — are the top of mind themes for the year ahead. And it’s a good integration of everything we’ve heard from clients, and how we’re thinking about the markets, and how we’re thinking about risk. And it becomes really a — a point of — of bringing people together us inside the firm and us with our clients to — to take a look at the world and what we’ve learned over the past year, and — and what we want to bring to — to the year in front of us. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about corporate governance. How do you think about that in terms of affecting risk? COHEN: The conversation about corporate governance is one we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about because, as — as you know, but it probably bears, you know, speaking to explicitly, in a lot of cases, we vote the shares on behalf of the clients whose money we manage. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: And the question is do those clients want to vote the shares themselves? And something we did in December and it’s actually gone live this month or it went live at the beginning of 2022 was work to give our institutional clients and some of our comingled fund clients, but a — a good portion of our assets the option whether they’d want to vote their shares or not. So, it’s early to say are they going to take it us up on it or not, but that will be very instructive to us because our job is to help them create better financial futures, create better portfolio outcomes. In some cases, they may want to participate in the corporate governance process themselves. In other cases, they may want to intentionally delegate it to us, and we had a very big what we call investment stewardship function where we, you know, were very transparent. We publish the criteria in terms of what we think is important when we engage with companies, but some investors feel like, well, that — that engagement with companies is part of the value proposition that I hire my asset manager for. And some investors may feel, nope, I’d like them to manage my assets, but I want the votes. And we are really hopeful of increasingly being able to give those investors choice. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about ESG generally. You know, for a long time, it’s captured a lot of mindshare. People have talked about it, especially with climate change and the focus on the environment, but it doesn’t seem like ESG is captured as many inflows as it has, you know, sort of mindshare. What are your thoughts on that? Is this going to be a persistent gap or are we seeing more people, especially younger generations more interested in ESG investing? COHEN: I think flows are actually the tip of the ESG iceberg, and what you don’t see below the surface is the integration and evaluation of ESG risk across portfolios. And that has captured a huge amount of time and attention from investors and — and certainly from us. And it’s actually really exciting from — from an investor perspective that reminds me again dating myself here. But when I started at BlackRock, I — it was in — in, you know, 1993, and I think in the five years since BlackRock was founded, interest rates had dropped something like 300 basis points, right, like late 80’s call it 10 percent on the bond to — to seven percent. And one of the big topics of risk in the fixed income market was mortgage prepayments. And so, figuring out how to model that, articulate that, make that transparent better than anybody else, again a big part of BlackRock’s value prop that it was bringing to investors, and we are doing the same thing today with climate risk and with ESG integration. And we have integrated ESG metrics across our portfolios and transition risk metrics, so we can assess what sort of risks are there. And that’s the really the first step. It’s measurement, and transparency, and then decisions around capital commitment, and — and risk taking. RITHOLTZ: So — so I want to restate a little bit of what you’re saying. I’ve traditionally heard ESG described as I want to invest in a way that parallels my personal values, but you’re really describing ESG as a risk management tool, as a way to screen out potentially problematic concerns, sectors, companies, whatever. Am I — am I overstating that or is that a fair translation? COHEN: Both statements are actually true. It’s a spectrum, so what we need to do is give our clients choice and — and clarity, and — and help them articulate because often they’re not even sure where they want to be in that spectrum, but I would say the majority of the conversations that we have right now are much more understanding. Looking at my portfolio today, what are my ESG risks broadly? What are my climate risks? What are my risks to a net zero transition? And then the second question is how do I want to manage those. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. Let’s talk a little bit about no carbon and low carbon. That was kind of a — a hot topic a couple of years ago. I’ve always been a little perplexed by that because if you back out the big carbon producers in the S&P 500 everybody else who’s left are giant carbon consumers. How should we think about something like carbon? Is that the most attractive approach to dealing with I’m concerned about climate change or — or — or global warming? COHEN: It depends on what your goal is. And again, I think a big part of what our work has been is to offer a spectrum for investors who are trying to do different things. And even more importantly and this has been meaningful to me as a personal investor, offer transparency around what it all means. So, something we did in December is we published a metric for all of our public index and all of our ETFs called the ITR Metric, Implied Temperature Rise. And the beauty of this metric is it’s really easy to understand. You can pull up anything on our website. You can see the ITR Metric, and you can see is it Paris-aligned or not, meaning is it, you know, 1.5 degrees or lower or is it higher? And — and we show the spectrum of — of bands and ranges. And — and what you can see is, you know, to your point, 90 percent of — of companies in — in MSCI ACWI are not Paris-aligned … RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: … but step number one is — is getting transparency in terms of your book, and then deciding do you want to take the first step and move to something that is a screen diversion of — of that index or go much further and — and take more targeted exposures. And what we hear from clients is, you know, they want different things, so putting out that spectrum and putting out those measurements really, you know, looking to be champions of transparency in this world, which as it emerges can kind of become a Tower of Babel in terms of the different languages and different metrics. So arming investors, both institutional and personal investors, with the tools to understand what does this mean for me, that’s really been the priority. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting, the old Peter Drucker line is if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And having metrics sounds like a great, great start. So, let’s talk a little bit about what it’s been like the past couple of years with the pandemic, and then last summer delta, it felt like it was ending, and then omicron hit. I keep hearing all these firms are trying to get their staffers back into the office and on the trading desks. Tell us what — what you guys are doing. Are you going to have everybody back in the office? Are you going to be remote? Are you going to be hybrid? What’s your thinking about the world going forward? COHEN: We are going to pilot a hybrid model, and we actually started piloting it in certain parts of the world, including New York City, prior to omicron. And what it was was you are welcome to back — to come back to the office for five days. If you would like to take two remote days, take two remote days, and — and we’ll see how that plays out. And then omicron happened and we kind of, you know, pulled back on the pilot and — and we’ll put it back in hopefully in a few weeks. I’m — I’m in the office right now. RITHOLTZ: I see. COHEN: I like being in the office. And I think we’ve had a whole bunch of learning. So, I mean, of course, our number one priority is making sure that people are safe and that people are healthy, but healthy doesn’t just mean, you know, being safe from the — from — from the virus. It means being mentally healthy. RITHOLTZ: Right. COHEN: And — and one of the things we’ve learned is — is a lot of us really missed the connection with other people. So, creating an environment where you can have those moments of human connection in the office. And, of course, there were moments of human connection that people, you know, particularly with kids of different ages we’re — we’re having at home that they didn’t have before, so trying to take those learnings from the pandemic and employ them in a way that makes people healthier physically and healthier mentally, that’s what the goal is. But I imagine we will be experimenting for a while both based if conditions in the world change and — and as we see how it works in our offices. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, the — the challenge has been how do you manage corporate culture over Zoom or remotely. And BlackRock has a very specific corporate culture. Lots of other firms are trying to maintain that. Finding that right balance seems to be a work in progress that we’re all going to be dealing with over the next couple of quarters or years for all we know. COHEN: Absolutely. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about the rising demand for ETFs. It seems that lots of institutional traders are driving ETF demand. Can — can you talk to that a little bit? I’m curious as to your perspectives. COHEN: What might surprise you to hear is one of the biggest adopters of — of ETFs has been other asset managers. So institutional asset managers, you know, like, you know, BlackRock’s own asset managers outside of the index business who are integrating ETFs into their own pursuit as alpha generally to, you know, use ETFs as a cash equitization tool to look at ETFs alongside other sources of market beta like futures contracts or swap contracts, to look at options on ETFs. Often, we’ve seen — and — and this was actually a very interesting story going into the Brexit referendum, there weren’t a lot of volatility place out there, but there were some U.K. — we had a U.K. equity market ETF and — with options — with options ecosystem around it. An options open interest went up 1,800 percent … RITHOLTZ: Wow. COHEN: … into the referendum because it was a way to play volatility, and sometimes that would be an asset manager’s first experience of an ETF because they were looking for some sort of non-linear payout. And then they would become more interested in integrating ETFs as another wrapper, another tool in their overall toolkit in — in making money. So that has been one of the largest sources of — of adoption of ETF. RITHOLTZ: I have a very vivid recollection, I want to say 15 or 20 years ago. Hearing certain institutions say — or institutional fund managers say, “Look, we want to get exposure either to broad equity market or to the specific sector, but our due diligence and our research process takes so long that by the time we pick a particular company, a particular manager, a particular investment, the move is half over, I could just use the ETF and get instant exposure to X. Do you still see that sort of behavior or am I going too far back in history? COHEN: No, we absolutely see that behavior. Often, you know, people will use the ETF as a placeholder as they do that research and figure out where they want that exposure to be specifically. So sometimes they have longer-term horizon, sometimes they have shorter-term horizons, but again, this is actually a key reason why we see that increase in ETF trading during high velocity markets as they are very convenient and transparent way to manage risk and pivot exposures during fast-moving markets. So, you can make quick changes to adapt your risk profile and work into what your longer-term target state might be, and we do continue to see that. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Let’s talk about thematic ETFs. They seem to have exploded in popularity the past couple of years. How exciting is that for you guys to work on? And what do you see coming down the pipe? What — what’s new and interesting? COHEN: It’s so exciting that we can increasingly index new types of strategies and access new types of markets, and — and that’s really what we’re about, bringing the markets to investors on their terms. And, you know, one of the things that really brought it home for me with some of our climate-focused ETFs was being able to find something that my kids connected to. My daughter is a big environmentalist. She’s a part of her school’s Environmental Action Committee, and I think she never thought that ETFs were — or investing was particularly relevant to her. And talking to her about a climate-focused ETF, it was a conversation. So, part of how we are bringing more people into the markets is helping them connect to the themes that are important to them and then helping them use those as a way to start to construct the portfolios that will deliver the outcomes they’re looking for. RITHOLTZ: So, one of the big things that we’ve seen has been the rise of direct indexing. What are your thoughts on that? Is this a challenge to ETFs? And we’ve seen a lot of big institutions buy direct indexing shop. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts with that. COHEN: Direct indexing is a — is a very important part of the index and — and ETF ecosystem. About half of our book actually is direct indexing versus ETFs. Increasingly actually, there’s also been attention to what — to — to smaller direct indexing opportunities more for individual investors where we — we acquired Aperio to — to offer that service as well. So, I think direct indexing for individuals, for institutions fits nicely into that overall ecosystem. When you come to those things we talked about around what value the ETF wrapper brings, that secondary market liquidity, the transparency, that’s the role that ETFs play, but there’s certainly a role for a — a very important role for direct indexing, too. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. Your bio mentions that you’re an advocate for employee networks. Can you speak a little bit towards that? I — I know this is like a total subject change, but I don’t want to not get to this question. Tell us a little bit about employee networks, and — and what are they? And — and what role do you play with those? COHEN: I’ve been a big beneficiary over the course of my career of the networking and visibility that comes from being part of, you know, in my case, women’s networks. It’s an opportunity to meet and connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise know and an opportunity to — to think more intentionally and — and strategically about your career and — and maybe expand your universe of role models. So that’s how I participated in employee networks. And at BlackRock, one of the things I love about being a — a senior advocate for — for many of the networks is I really believe that you can’t do your best work unless you can talk about your challenges both inside and outside the office. And a lot of times these networks create safe spaces for people to talk about what they’ve struggled with, how they’ve overcome that. And — and — and I find that really inspiring and — and it helps me recruit great people. So — so it’s something that’s very important to me. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay with that topic, finance is notorious for not having a lot of diversity or inclusion. I know BlackRock has a couple of initiatives in that space. Tell us about them. COHEN: I’ve spent my career, you know, being asked the question of — of, well, what’s it like being a woman in finance. And — and we could talk about this for — for a really long time, what’s it like being a woman, what’s it like being a mother, what’s it like being a parent. And — and it’s always hard when you feel different no matter what. No matter what the source of the differences, I think it can be very hard to — to feel safe and to feel secure amid differences. And — and that is what we try to sell for, whether it’s with employee networks, whether it’s, you know, creating mentorships and role models, although I’ll have to say a lot of my — my most memorable mentors weren’t necessarily women. But again, thinking about those challenges, which are different for — for different people, talking about them and making people feel safe and raising what they are, that’s what we try to focus on the most. And — and probably, I think that’s what’s changed the most over the course of my career. I think early in my career I felt the imperative was to, you know, not — not address the fact that there were differences and just get out there and — and try to act like everybody else, and — and that didn’t necessarily work for me. But, you know, it was sometimes hard to talk about that. And so, talking about it like — and having transparency to those things has — you know, has really been the first step and — and one that we have to take again and again. So, I think it’s — it’s not an old conversation, it’s not a dated conversation. I am incredibly proud, Barry, that the leadership team of the ETF and index platform is majority female. And we talk all the time about how to increase our diversity — diversity of thought, racial diversity, geographic diversity because we think if we bring our differences to the table we’ll perform better. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So, let me throw you a curveball. You’re short of a bicoastal, New York and Boca. How do you split your time? And — and given what we’ve learned about working from home, can you operate from anywhere you have an internet connection? COHEN: I — I live in New York, Barry. I live in New York. I’m in the New York City office right now. I have a home in Florida. And — and I’ll tell you a funny story. My — my husband loves Florida, so we’ve always — we’ve had a home in Florida for a while. He — he’s a — he’s an investment manager, a triathlete. He cycles a lot. He plays a lot of golf. He, you know, does some work from down there. But I was always in Florida for vacations and weekends until the pandemic when during that 2020 spring lockdown I spent about six weeks there and — and liked it more than — than — than I had. So — but now Florida is — is — is really weekends and — and vacations for me. But last night, you’ll like the story. My daughter texted my husband and said, “Hey, dad, I’m wondering. Are you coming home tonight or are you going to be in New York City?” And, by the way, my husband and I were at a restaurant in New York City. So, the kids like to joke that my husband lives in Florida, but — but actually, we are — I am mostly here. And — and between May and November, he is mostly in — in New York City as well. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. So, I know I only have you for so much time. Let me jump to my favorite questions that we ask all of our guests starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days. What have been keeping you entertained when everybody has been stuck at home? COHEN: I have three categories of — of things I stream, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before, Barry, the things I watch with my husband, the things I get my kids to sit down and watch with me, and — and the stuff I watch for myself. So — so in each category, my husband and I, we love Ted Lasso. That was one of our favorite things of the pandemic. And we also love Yellowstone. My — my kids will not sit down to watch the same shows together no matter how much I try. So, with my son, we’re watching Boba Fett and the Mandalorian. With my daughter, it’s been Emily in Paris. They are 15 and 13. And, you know, I’ll tell you for myself, I finished the — the sequel to Sex and the City and Just Like That, and I loved it. It was, you know, women around my age talking about dealing with their teenage kids and finding meaning in their lives. And I know the reviews were — were pretty mixed, but I really loved it. RITHOLTZ: We talked briefly, but you didn’t give us any names about some of the mentors who helped shape your career. Tell us about those folks. COHEN: I have had great mentors and sponsors, and I think it’s important to talk about both. I don’t think until more recently in my career I understood what a sponsor was, a sponsor being somebody who will actually work intentionally to — to move your career forward. But the — at Goldman Sachs, I had the, you know, privilege of working with John Rogers who asked me to testify to Congress in front of the House Banking Committee on — to represent Goldman, which was the scariest thing I had ever done. And what John told me, which I will never forget, it — it’s the scariest things that once you do, you are the proudest of — of having done. Marty Chavez, who I also worked for Goldman, was a tremendous mentor. And I think importantly, as I said, I’ve had — I’ve had some great female role models, but I’ve had some awesome male mentors. I think my high school calculus teacher Judy Conan (ph) probably changed the course of my career. So those three are my biggest mentors. At BlackRock, my — my boss Salim Ramji, our Head of H.R. Manish Mehta who was the — you know, had this job before me, they’ve been great sponsors. And I think being intentional about providing sponsorship as well as mentorship is something we think about a lot. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I know you read a lot. Tell us some of your favorite books and — and what are you reading right now. COHEN: I am — I’m sure you are as well, I am a voracious reader and I’m usually reading multiple books at a time. So, the two I am reading right now I kind of usually have something fiction, something non-fiction. The nonfiction book I’m reading is “Digital Body Language,” which in the, you know, situation that we’re in right now, it’s fascinating how — how — how we create a digital body language, how people respond to it and what you need to think about it. That’s my non-fiction book right now. And my fiction book, I’m — I’m a few chapters in and I’m loving it, it’s called “The Louding Voice,” and it’s about a young woman, a young teenager in a rural Nigerian village who gets married very young, and — and is thirsting for an education because she wants to find her louding voice, and that’s probably a theme in everything I read about women — people in general, but often women finding their voices and using them. And one of the books I read recently that — that had a big impact on me, a colleague of mine actually gave it to me when I was promoted to CIO, it was Indra Nooyi’s memoir, “My Life in Full.” And I absolutely love that book. She started out by saying, “I intended to write a book about my career as CEO of PepsiCo and not write about my life as a mother and a wife. I didn’t want to write that book. And what I ended up writing was exactly that book,” because when you’re a mom or a parent and a wife and — and how you show up with that to the office, you know, as a CEO weaving all of that together, she did brilliantly and it was really moving. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I have a book recommendation for your daughter. This is a fascinating book called “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming” by McKenzie Funk that describes, since your daughter is interested in ESG investing … COHEN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … it describes how the entire world to finance slowly started recognizing investment opportunities both at, you know, the individual company level, the ESG level, but also at the venture capital and startup level, and how Wall Street has arms into all these industries that are working on either climate change or, you know, electric cars. And — and — and that book is ready about five years old. So, when they talk about firms like Tesla, they’re still fairly nascent. Maybe it’s seven years old, 2014-2015. But if she’s interested in that, it’s a really well-written book and it’s really fascinating. She may really, really enjoy it. Let’s go on to our next question. Speaking of younger people, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either finance or investment management? COHEN: Ask all of your questions. Find people, ask your questions. There are no dumb questions. And — and if it sounds interesting to you, it’s worth having a conversation about it. I wish I had done that more. In a lot of ways, I feel like I — I got lucky. I — I told you I was the product of actually a diversity recruiting effort that led me to the — to the trading floor at Goldman. But if it sounds interesting, it’s worth doing the exploration. And — and networking and finding friends and just saying, hey, can I spend 10 minutes and ask you about your job? Doing that a lot, I think, is an awesome idea. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing today you wish you knew 25, 30 years ago when you were first getting started? COHEN: If you asked me 30 years ago what I thought about the world of investing, I probably would have said Gordon Gekko. I mean, I was really thinking Wall Street. And — and even, you know, when I was in college, that was the — that was the vision that I had. That’s what you had to look like to be — to be an investor. Now what I know is excellence looks like lots of different things in the world of investing. And, you know, if you’re a woman, if you’re a person of color, it’s — you can be excellent. And, in fact, if you’re a theater major, you can find a path. I think there is a superpower in being different. And my mother always suggested that to me 30 years ago, so — so maybe I should say that’s what I wish I’d believe 30 years ago when I was told. Now I know it’s true. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Samara, thank you for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Samara Cohen. She is the Chief Investment Officer for ETFs and index investments at BlackRock. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of the previous several hundred we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find that at iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, wherever you feed your podcast fix. Check out my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week. Mark Siniscalchi is my Audio Engineer. Paris Wald is my Producer. Shawn Russo (ph) is my Researcher. Atika Valbrun is our Project Manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~     The post Transcript: Samara Cohen appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureMar 29th, 2022

Samsonite International S.A. Announces Final Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2021

HONG KONG, March 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Samsonite International S.A. ("Samsonite" or "the Company", together with its consolidated subsidiaries, "the Group"; SEHK stock code: 1910), a leader in the global lifestyle bag industry and the world's best-known and largest travel luggage company, today published its final results for the year ended December 31, 20211. OverviewCommenting on the results, Mr. Kyle Gendreau, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Samsonite finished 2021 on a positive note as the strong recovery in sales and profitability continued into the fourth quarter. For the three months ended December 31, 2021, the Group registered net sales of US$664.1 million, an increase of US$107.0 million versus US$557.1 million in the third quarter of 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the decline in net sales compared to the same period in 2019 further narrowed to 28.0%2, 3, with all regions achieving significant improvements, particularly Latin America which saw fourth quarter 2021 net sales surpass the same period in 2019 by 7.7%2. Likewise, all our core brands made strong gains, especially Tumi which saw fourth quarter 2021 net sales in North America recover to be almost even2 with the fourth quarter of 2019. Our performance in the fourth quarter of 2021 is a notable improvement over the first three quarters of the year, which saw the decline in net sales compared to the corresponding periods in 2019 progressively narrowing to 37.6%2, 3 in the third quarter from 52.2%2 in the second quarter and 57.3%2 in the first quarter of 2021." "Behind the scenes, we remained relentlessly focused on controlling expenses while sales continued to improve. Fixed selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses as a percentage of net sales were 24.6% for the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to 25.7% for the fourth quarter of 2019. As a result, Samsonite's Adjusted EBITDA margin4 expanded to 19.1% for the fourth quarter of 2021, 610 basis points higher than 13.0% in the third quarter of 2021, and 400 basis points higher compared to 15.1% for the fourth quarter of 2019, despite a significantly lower sales base. I would like to recognize our teams and business partners around the world whose passion and perseverance over the last two years made this outstanding accomplishment possible." The strong recovery in net sales, together with continued close attention on expense controls, enabled the Group's Adjusted EBITDA5 to further improve to US$127.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, an increase of US$54.8 million from US$72.2 million in the third quarter of 2021, and an improvement of US$172.2 million compared to the Adjusted EBITDA5 loss of US$45.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Consequently, the Group's Adjusted Net Income6 increased by US$103.7 million to US$112.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 from US$8.7 million in the third quarter of 2021, an improvement of US$246.7 million compared to the Adjusted Net Loss6 of US$134.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. For the six months ended December 31, 2021, Samsonite recorded net sales of US$1,221.2 million, an increase of US$421.7 million from the US$799.5 million recorded during the first half of 2021. Second half 2021 gross margin increased by 620 basis points to 57.0% from 50.8% in the first half of 2021, despite increased product, freight and duty costs. Driven by the strong recovery in net sales and gross margin, our Adjusted EBITDA5 and Adjusted EBITDA margin4 made significant gains, improving to US$199.3 million and 16.3%, respectively, in the second half of 2021, compared to a loss of US$17.0 million and (2.1)%, respectively, for the first half of 2021. The Group's second half 2021 gross margin and Adjusted EBITDA margin4 both recovered to pre-COVID levels, with gross margin 210 basis points and Adjusted EBITDA margin4 150 basis points above the second half of 2019, despite second half 2021 net sales being considerably lower than the comparable period in 2019. Overall, for the year ended December 31, 2021, Samsonite recorded net sales of US$2,020.8 million, an increase of 35.1%2, 3 year-on-year, and 43.5%2, 3 lower than 2019. Net sales in North America and Latin America saw faster recovery, increasing by 47.0%2, 3 and 49.3%2 year-on-year, respectively, compared to Asia and Europe, where net sales rose by 20.3%2 and 37.7%2 year-on-year, respectively, during 2021. Compared to 2019, 2021 net sales in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America were lower by 38.0%2, 3, 48.4%2, 47.6%2 and 26.8%2, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2021, net sales of the Group's core travel brands Samsonite, Tumi and American Tourister increased year-on-year by 36.3%2, 56.3%2 and 37.8%2, respectively. Compared to 2019, net sales of Tumi experienced the strongest recovery, with 2021 net sales coming in 34.5%2 lower than 2019, while net sales of Samsonite and American Tourister were lower by 44.1%2 and 47.6%2, respectively.  The Group's gross profit margin expanded to 54.5% for 2021, an increase of 850 basis points compared to the 46.0% recorded in 2020, and 90 basis points below the 55.4% registered in 2019, despite increased product, freight and duty costs. Adjusted EBITDA5 was US$182.3 million for 2021, an improvement of US$401.1 million from an Adjusted EBITDA5 loss of US$218.8 million in 2020. As a result, Samsonite recorded Adjusted Net Income6 of US$17.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, a significant improvement of US$423.5 million from the Adjusted Net Loss6 of US$406.1 million for 2020.  Mr. Gendreau continued, "The strong increase in Adjusted EBITDA5, along with our ongoing attention on cash flow management, enabled Samsonite to generate total cash7 of US$175.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of US$59.5 million from the US$116.1 million generated7 in the third quarter of 2021, and a considerable improvement from total cash burn7 of (US$27.3) million in the second quarter and (US$64.6) million in the first quarter of 2021. Overall, Samsonite generated total cash7 of US$199.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an improvement of US$559.9 million compared to total cash burn7 of (US$360.1) million in 2020." "We are very pleased with the accelerating sales recovery, strong positive Adjusted EBITDA5 and cash generation7 achieved in 2021, especially in the second half of the year, which all underscore the positive impact of our decisive actions over the last two years and the strength and resilience of our brands." "As the effects of COVID-19 on our business continued to moderate and our performance improved, we began to prudently reduce our debt. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we prepaid a total of US$370.0 million of borrowings to finish the year with net debt of US$1,477.2 million8, US$258.3 million lower than at the end of 20208. Our liquidity stood at US$1,501.4 million9 as of December 31, 2021, nearly unchanged compared to the end of 20209, which will enable us to support our continued recovery from the effects of COVID-19 while investing for long-term growth." Samsonite remains focused on executing to its competitive strengths to extend its market leadership and drive long-term growth. The Group is doing so by leveraging its century-plus heritage of innovation, global platform, diverse set of product categories and leading and complementary brands offering products tailored to each region's preferences, as well as its commitment to sustainability and innovation. As sales and profitability continue to improve, Samsonite intends to increase investment in the business to capitalize on the ongoing recovery in travel. Mr. Gendreau remarked, "We continue to invest in developing and launching new products that meet evolving consumer needs. An increasing proportion of our products incorporate sustainable attributes such as recycled or recyclable materials as we continue to advance on 'Our Responsible Journey' to lead the luggage and bag industry in sustainability." Successful product launches under the Samsonite brand in 2021 included the Magnum Eco, Proxis and Lite Box suitcase lines. Magnum Eco and Proxis are manufactured using sustainable materials, while Lite Box, made with CURV®* material, is among the lightest and sturdiest suitcases on the market. Tumi also experienced great success with its TUMI | McLaren and TUMI | Missoni luggage and travel collections in 2021. In 2022, the Group has a pipeline full of exciting and competitive new product launches, including Tumi's relaunch of the Alpha Bravo collection. Comprising more than two dozen entirely new styles, many of which feature a main body fabric and interior lining made from recycled materials, the new Alpha Bravo collection has received an enthusiastic reception from both consumers and the media. The Group also has high expectations for Samsonite's upcoming Elevation™ Plus collection, which features a high-performance polypropylene exterior combined with an interior lining made of 100% recycled PET bottles, addressing demand from travelers for functionality and sustainability. The Group continued to closely manage its marketing spend in 2021. Although marketing expenses increased by US$9.1 million, or 12.4%, year-on-year, to US$82.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, they remained US$107.2 million, or 56.6%, lower compared to 2019. Marketing expenses made up 4.1% of net sales in 2021, significantly lower than the 4.8% in 2020 and 5.2% in 2019. As the effects of COVID-19 continue to diminish, Samsonite intends to increase its marketing investment in 2022, both in absolute dollar terms and as a percentage of net sales, to support its new product launches and capitalize on the ongoing recovery in travel. In addition to the robust recovery in Adjusted EBITDA5, an important factor driving Samsonite's strong cash generation7 in 2021 was a reduction in working capital, particularly inventories. Inventories totalled US$348.4 million as of December 31, 2021, US$107.4 million below the US$455.9 million at the end of 2020. This reduction was primarily driven by strong product sell-through due to the rebound in travel, though delayed stock replenishment due to shipping delays and port congestion was also a factor. With shipping delays and port congestion expected to continue in 2022, Samsonite is increasing investment in inventories to support continued business recovery. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Samsonite substantially reduced capital expenditures and software investments in 2020 and continued to maintain tight control in 2021. The Group spent US$25.9 million10 on capital expenditures (including software purchases) during 2021, almost unchanged compared to the US$26.1 million10 spent in 2020, and US$48.6 million lower than the US$74.5 million10 spent in 2019. As sales and profitability continue to improve, Samsonite intends to increase capital expenditures and software investments to support its long-term strategic objectives. Mr. Gendreau continued, "While the recent wave of new COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant caused sales recovery to slow in January 2022, considering vaccine effectiveness and higher vaccination rates today compared to a year ago, we are hopeful that the effects of COVID-19 on everyday life will continue to moderate, driving a sustained recovery in travel. Separately, we continue to see some sales volatility due to shipping delays and port congestion, especially in North America. That said, our performance has improved in February 2022. Overall, the decline in Samsonite's net sales for the first two months of 2022 compared to the same period in 20192, 11 was about in line with the 28.0%2, 3 decline in the fourth quarter of 2021 when compared to the fourth quarter in 2019." Mr. Gendreau concluded, "I also want to address the situation in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis in the region. Our thoughts are with all who have been impacted, including our employees and their families as well as our customers and partners." "Until further notice we have suspended all commercial activities in Russia. We have temporarily closed our 37 company-operated retail stores in Russia as well as our e-commerce sites there. We have also stopped all product shipments both into and within Russia and have suspended all further investments there. Business development activities and advertising in Russia have also been temporarily discontinued." "Samsonite's employees around the world, including our colleagues in Russia, have made great sacrifices and shown extraordinary resilience and dedication over the last two years. Our decision to temporarily suspend commercial activities in Russia is a difficult one, not least because of our employees there. Our top priority has been and continues to be the safety of our colleagues, and we continue to support our team members and their families in the region. We continue to monitor this situation closely and hope that a peaceful and just resolution can be achieved soon." "Samsonite is donating over 10,000 pieces of luggage and bags to support Ukrainian refugees and will also contribute US$1.0 million to support humanitarian relief efforts." "The conflict, and the resulting rise in geopolitical tensions, have added some uncertainty to our outlook for 2022. While Group net sales of our Russian business have ranged from only 1.5 to 2.0% of global sales annually over the last three years, the economic effects of the conflict have caused additional headwinds. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that such headwinds will not materially disrupt our recovery. With our dedicated and responsive teams and substantial liquidity position, we are confident we have the capacity not only to navigate through the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and increased geopolitical tensions, but also to invest for long-term growth and success." Table 1: Key Financial Highlights for the Year Ended December 31, 2021   US$ millions, except per share data Year ended December 31, 2021 Year ended December 31, 2020 Percentage increase (decrease) 2021 vs. 2020 Percentage increase (decrease) 2021 vs. 2020 excl. foreign currency effects2 Net sales 2,020.8 1,536.7 31.5% 30.3% Operating profit (loss)12 132.7 (1,266.2) nm nm Operating profit (loss) excluding impairment (reversals) charges, restructuring charges and the loss on sale of Speck12, 13 120.1 (282.9) nm nm Profit (loss) attributable to the equity holders 14.3 (1,277.7) nm nm Adjusted Net Income (Loss)6 17.4 (406.1) nm nm Adjusted EBITDA5 182.3 (218.8) nm nm Adjusted EBITDA margin4 9.0% (14.2)% Basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share – US$ per share 0.010 (0.891) nm nm Adjusted basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share14 – US$ per share 0.012 (0.283) nm nm nm – Not meaningful. The Group's performance for the year ended December 31, 2021 is discussed in greater detail below. Net SalesAs vaccination rates rose and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic moderated, governments around the world began easing social-distancing and travel restrictions, leading to a recovery in travel and increased demand for the Group's products across all regions. As a result, the Group's net sales increased by US$484.1 million, or 30.3%2, year-on-year, to US$2,020.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. On July 30, 2021, the Group completed the sale of the Speck business, including the Speck brand. When excluding the net sales of Speck for August through December 2020, the Group's net sales increased by US$538.3 million, or 35.1%2, in 2021 compared to the previous year. For the year ended December 31, 2021, the Group recorded a net sales decline of 43.5%2 versus 2019 when excluding the net sales of Speck for August through December 2019, and a decrease of 44.4%2 when such net sales are included. This is a significant improvement compared to 2020, when the Group's net sales decreased by 57.5%2 compared to 2019. During 2021, the Group's quarterly net sales performance (when compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019) experienced sequential improvement, particularly during the second half as continued progress in the rollout of vaccines led many governments to ease social-distancing, travel and other restrictions, resulting in a rebound in travel. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the Group's net sales decline compared to the fourth quarter in 2019 narrowed to 28.0%2 when excluding the net sales of Speck for the fourth quarter of 2019, and to 30.2%2 when such net sales are included. This encouraging trend continued from the third quarter of 2021, which saw the Group's net sales decline compared to the third quarter of 2019 improve to 37.6%2 when excluding the ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 16th, 2022

The Revolution Has Come For Joe Rogan

The Revolution Has Come For Joe Rogan Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary (emphasis ours), The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in the late summer of 2021, shortly after the Americans withdrew, tired and weary and broke after nearly 20 years of fighting. They seized was control of the country in the broad and particular sense: setting up command in the presidential palace in Kabul and targeting the individuals who criticized the new government. By December 2021, regular Afghans and the members of the Afghan press who had expressed critical views of their new rulers had “been subjected to months of intimidation and fear.” The Biden Administration has adopted these same tactics, calling for their critics to be silenced by the Administration’s corporate and media allies. After 20 years of trying to export Western values to Afghanistan, they ended up importing Taliban-style repression to the United States. And it only cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives. Now, the Regime and its comrades target Joe Rogan, an inquisitive comedian with a podcast. He is accused of spreading “misinformation” by those that illegally spy on their citizens and lies without remorse. In reality, this isn’t about misinformation. It’s that Rogan’s crimes are those of words and thought. The prosecutors have become the prophet of the god they have created, searching to eradicate those guilty of the sin of blasphemy. The Taliban would be proud. We can be certain that the Regime is not concerned with the truth. Have you seen them struggle to explain the “evidence” that Russia was planning a false-flag in Ukraine to justify an invasion? Or, consider how the COVID-19 misinformation originated from the U.S. government and its bureaucratic arms. In early 2020, Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins were both presented with arguments that SARS-CoV-2 was engineered. Instead of investigating this issue, they saw to it that this theory was killed off. Despite – or perhaps because of – these lies, Fauci and Collins remain dear sons of the Regime. Reminders that “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others. (The Christians of the Left – such as David French – even go so far as to say that you have a “spiritual problem” if you don’t trust Fauci and Collins. Both the left and the right make their idols.) They killed the truth before. Who is to say they’re not trying to do that with Rogan? Those are the easy observations. Then we get to the deeper and more consequential truths that are manipulated and deformed and remade for political purposes. Patterns emerge - and maybe they’re repeating. The institution of marriage, and the definition of marriage, is subjected to social – meaning political – evolution. Mothers are redefined as “birthing people.” Words are even disappeared by the U.S. government for threat that they are stigmatizing, dare someone have a negative opinion of an ex-convict or prisoner. To put it more bluntly, the people who believe men can give birth are now in charge of what is true. The only authority they have is political power. Such power isn’t necessarily authoritative, but it gives them the strength to set definitions and enforce the rules, to declare guilt and issue punishment. Conflicts of interest be damned. Power over language is power over the people: “the primary purpose of language – which is to describe reality – is replaced by the rival purpose of asserting power over it.”1 In their eyes, this public lynching is justified because these are revolutionary times and removing Rogan is a revolutionary act. There is no forgiveness because they seek destruction, not restoration. There is some limitation to their enforcement power, those means by which they achieve their ends, necessitating the Biden Administration in July 2021 to order social media companies to ban those who disagree with the official line of thinking. The U.S. government went so far as to flag the objectionable content itself, helping corporate America snuff out inconvenient voices. Supposedly devout Christian Francis Collins has been silent on the government’s campaign to punish dissent, having been part of the cover-up. As Collins uses his faith to promote COVID-19 vaccines, perhaps he needs a reminder that Christianity does not give the civil government jurisdiction over your thoughts or words. Or a refresher of the evils of abortion. Anyway, the censorship encouraged by the Biden Administration was effective – to an extent. Alex Berenson was banned from Twitter in August 2021 for correctly labeling the COVID-19 vaccines as “therapeutics.” Dr. Robert Malone, “who has been credited with inventing the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 immunizations,” was also been banned from Twitter. These suspensions came after Fauci and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and other members of the Biden Administration called for stronger measures to stop the spread of misinformation. Yet Joe Rogan thrived, in large part because he provided an alternative platform to the voices that were being suppressed. The public yearned for this information and it was delivered through his podcast. It’s reported that Rogan has an estimated 11 million listeners per episode. It’s also estimated that his interviews with Dr. Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough brought in millions more. In response, the Biden White House demanded Spotify do more to censor the discussions of Rogan and his guests. At the same time, the liberal mob – encouraged by their leadership – aimed at Rogan, hurling disgusting and false allegations of “racism.” CNN, eager to shift the focus off the network’s own problems, is asking Spotify to give Rogan the proverbial death sentence: CNN's @BrianStelter & Jim @Acosta strongly suggest Spotify should remove Joe Rogan from their platform; also note his "profanity-laced apology" "It seems untenable to have that kind of video surface, and that kind of compilation surface, and keep one’s job" pic.twitter.com/rSyAV8f1dN — Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 6, 2022 This is the same network that lied about Rogan’s use of Ivermectin, calling it “horse dewormer.” It is the same network that ran an altered video of Rogan, making him seem sicker with COVID-19 than he really was. No surprise that it’s CNN’s Brian Stelter leading the way against Rogan. How do I describe Stelter? (For starters, I do so with pleasure.) He is a humorless fat man. A dedicated media believer pretending to be a media reporter. He is as dumb as he sounds and as arrogant as he looks. He oozes the sadism of a hall monitor and the false confidence of an impostor. He is Kim Jong-un without the hair or the country or the charisma. Prior to Rogan, Stelter’s favorite targets were enemies of the Regime: Tucker Carlson and Fox News. For being a “media reporter,” he typically has a curious focus to target one journalist and one network. CNN tolerates this well enough, excusing Stelter’s poor ratings because he attacks the network’s adversaries and defends the network without question. Put Stelter on the offense against critics and he’ll call a Jihad against “right wing” media from his CNN studio. He’s the zealot that will behead you for drawing a cartoon of the wrong left-wing figure (whether it’s Joe Biden or Don Lemon) – and then blame you for inciting violence on “Reliable Sources” the next day. He will demand the unvaccinated be treated as second-class citizens, relegated to the margins of society until they comply with his favored health policies, just as he continues on his own adventure of finding out what comes after “morbid obesity.” And in the presence of his preferred State power, masochist Stelter emerges to flatter and grovel. When he had the chance to interview Biden’s press secretary, he lobbed the softball of his dreams: “What does the press get wrong when covering Biden’s agenda?” But back to Rogan. One could say that Rogan is under attack for speaking truth to power. But that’s not quite true. As Christopher Hitchens observed, that cliché is looking in the wrong direction because power already knows the truth. More importantly, Rogan – and his guests – speak truth to the powerless. That’s what they’re scared of. And that’s why we see these campaigns against Tucker and Rogan and anyone else who dare tell dangerous truths. To put it another way, President Biden and his corporate allies, and their mob of supporters, seek to obliterate the relationship between the writer and the reader, the speaker and the listener. Thus, this is about more than Joe Rogan. It is about you and it is about me. It is about gatekeeping and limiting what we can watch and read and hear. And they achieve that end through the destruction of Rogan the individual.2 *  *  * 1. Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands.2. “Human individuals are the most important of those real things, the obstacles that all revolutionary systems must overcome, and which all ideologies must destroy.” Roger Scruton, Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands. Subscribe to The Reactionary Tyler Durden Sun, 02/06/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

A Pfizer exec leading the world"s vaccine efforts says a "high-growth mindset" drives innovation at the company

Biopharma leader Angela Hwang told Insider about her top leadership strategy to inspire groundbreaking research. Pfizer group president Angela Hwang is responsible for helping deliver over 600 medicines and products to patients.Pfizer In an Equity Talk, Insider spoke with Pfizer exec Angela Hwang about her top leadership principles.  Hwang said a "high-growth mindset" among employees contributes to Pfizer's success. The exec is referencing the groundbreaking research of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck.  Containing the spread of COVID-19 is arguably the world's most pressing challenge right now. Over 5.4 million people, including at least 818,00 Americans, have died from the virus. There's a legion of scientists, researchers, doctors, distributors, and business leaders working tirelessly to find solutions to the pandemic. Angela Hwang is one of them.As head of Pfizer's biopharma division, Hwang oversees the company's ambitious efforts related to its COVID-19 vaccine and booster. Her decisions impact not just the 26,000 people who report to her, but the lives of millions of people around the world.The executive is known for her business acumen and her ability to lead scientists to research breakthroughs. Her leadership strategy, she said, is all about boosting innovation and risk taking. It revolves around fostering a "high-growth mindset," she told Insider, referencing the groundbreaking psychological research by the notable Stanford University psychologist and researcher Carol Dweck."As I have risen through the organization, I have realized that bringing people along, creating great teams is how we do great work," Hwang told Insider in an Equity Talk. "Having a high growth mindset is so important." Driving a growth-mindset Hwang said innovation comes when teams feel comfortable to express their bold and unique opinions and thoughts.Hinterhaus Productions/Getty ImagesFor Pfizer's Hwang, having a high growth mindset is crucial because it prepares you to tackle seemingly insurmountable problems, like helping humanity protect itself against a pandemic. Psychologist Dweck developed the terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset," based on research she's done since the late 1980s about how people perceive struggle, and additionally, how that perception impacts their success. Growth mindset is a way of thinking that sees challenges as an opportunity for learning and hard work, Dweck wrote in her 2007 book "Mindset." A fixed mindset, conversely, dictates that struggling is a sign of failure or inability. Dweck found that people who adopted a growth mindset of being open to learning and of not getting defeated by obstacles performed better in their work. Her research has shaped the leadership styles of many CEOs including Microsoft's Satya Nadella."Look at what happened in the last two years. It was completely unexpected, where everyone was not exactly prepared for a pandemic," Hwang said. "When we think about solving big problems with clear and bold goals, that comes with some discomfort." Making a safe space for new ideas and unique thoughts How you deal with that discomfort determines your success, Hwang said, echoing Dweck's findings. Facing high pressure situations is an opportunity to foster risk taking and bold thinking in your teams, Hwang added. "We said, 'If we're gonna be useful and valuable to the world, a vaccine needs to be done by October 2020. So let's throw away all paradigms and let's focus on the goal,'" the Pfizer exec said. "That's when I think you can really start from a blank slate and say, okay, 'What is it that we need to do to solve this problem?'" Hwang said that instilling a growth mindset in employees requires leaders to allow employees to bring their "whole selves to work." In other words, employees must feel safe enough to bring their unique thoughts and perspectives to the table.  To develop a sense of belonging at Pfizer, the exec mandated that in 2020 all leaders have conversations with their direct reports on anti-racism and addressing hate. She then worked with other executives to establish clear diversity and inclusion goals within her division, including plans to mentor and sponsor people of color. Allowing for more people from different backgrounds to voice their ideas will lead to transformational products, she said. "You have to create a culture that embraces uncertainty, that allows people to take thoughtful risk taking," Hwang said. "I think great things happen because people then can bring their whole selves to work." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 28th, 2021

A Culture War in Four Acts: Loudoun County, Virginia. Part Two, "The Incident”

A Culture War in Four Acts: Loudoun County, Virginia. Part Two, "The Incident” By Matt Taibbi, via Substack An Underground Railroad simulation at an elementary school brings a long-simmering political dispute out into the open, triggering a bizarre series of unfortunate events February 5th, 2019. An educational consultant named Dr. Linda Deans walked to the lectern at a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. Addressing issues like black student underrepresentation in the gifted programs and overrepresentation in disciplinary cases, she asked the board to remedy matters through more funding of diversity and inclusion positions. Loudoun had a diversity officer, but Deans stumped for a department. “To be real about equity and inclusion, contracting out the work might be a good idea because insiders may be — hmm — influenced by politics,” she said, pausing to apply a dollop of contemptuous stank on the hmm. She went on: “I highly recommend that LCPS offer this serious work to a reputable organization, such as the Loudoun Freedom Center.” The Center, where Deans worked, is a nonprofit founded by charismatic local pastor and new NAACP chapter president Michelle Thomas. The meaning was clear: Loudoun had race problems, and if the board wanted to be credited with taking those seriously, it had to make a financial commitment, and to the right destination. Deans was followed by the Education Chair for the local NAACP chapter, Robin Burke. Burke and husband Steven had recently met with Loudoun’s Director of Teaching and Learning, and weren’t happy. “On Wednesday, January 16th, 2019,” she says, “my husband and I attended a meeting facilitated by Mr. James Dallas to discuss our concerns regarding our son… being denied admission to the Academies of Loudoun.” She paused. “We are convinced that the admission process is disjointed, unfair and represents a clear example of historical institutional racism. Therefore, we expect now more than ever that our straight A-student [son] be unconditionally admitted to the Academies of Loudoun.” The Board was silent for a moment, some members confused. They only set policy and had no power to intervene in an individual gifted admissions question. Also, the admissions process was blind: reviewers had no access to names or racial identities, seeing only test scores, grades, courses taken, etc. To some members, this was an obvious reply to any charge of “historical institutional racism.” To Burke, the blind nature of the testing was the racism. The fact that Loudoun had race-neutral admissions was “true, therefore problematic,” she told me by email. “By removing personal identifiable information,” she added, “it is impossible to assess an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores.” Burke had reached out to several officials about her son. After correspondence didn’t result in changes, she went public with complaints. Asked about this, she replied, “As the Chair of Education for the NAACP, I represent all students of color,” adding that, “These claims were brought to the attention of the School Board and the Superintendent,” whose “inaction led to the NAACP contacting the AGs office.” Loudoun has a gruesome history on race and schools. In 1956, the county infamously voted to defund schools rather than follow the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education desegregation order. Not until 1962 did the first black student attend a “white” school. Segregation was essentially pried from the cold dead fingers of this county’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and suspicions in the black community naturally linger. However, the current controversies aren’t a clear continuation of civil rights-era battles. Some aspects may be similar, but the legal context at least is reversed: in place of a decades-long effort on the part of groups like the NAACP to expunge racial considerations from the law, the new thinking is that progress is impossible without them. Whether or not that’s a warranted belief is a separate issue, but it’s how the new debate is framed. Heading into the winter of 2018-2019, a dispute between county officials and the NAACP had been escalating. This disagreement would eventually be memorialized in the aforementioned formal complaint to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, called NAACP Loudoun Branch vs. Loudoun County Public Schools. Loudoun’s NAACP leadership increasingly felt statistical inequities in areas like gifted admissions or discipline were explained by racism, and policy proposals often mere cover for perpetuation of an inherently discriminatory system. For a long time, they clashed in this with an old guard of county officials trying to cling to do-gooder liberalism’s once-standard position that a variety of addressable factors, including racism but also economics and other issues, were the cause of discrepancies. The latter group’s idea for addressing gifted admissions once involved things like Loudoun’s adoption of EDGE (“Experiences Designed for Growth and Excellence”). The plan was to provide “intensive, engaging support” early in elementary school to talented-but-disadvantaged students to help them compete in the difficult admissions processes ahead. The school system had long been pushing back against more drastic action, like eliminating standardized testing, that might heighten complaints about a lack of rigor in Loudoun’s once-celebrated school system. The county had already eliminated final and midterm requirements in 2015, leading some parents to complain of their kids being left unprepared for college. NAACP officials were more and more uninterested in those concerns, demanding direct intervention to square ugly numbers. In 2017, after data was released showing 88% of Loudoun teachers were white compared with only 48% of students, then-NAACP chapter head Philip Thompson threatened to file a federal civil rights complaint. “We believe we will only see an increase in the number of minority teachers when LCPS puts requirements on the people hiring the teachers,” Thompson said. Rhetorically, this was walking a fine line, since Supreme Court cases like the 1977 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke had deemed explicit racial quotas in public education illegal. According to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, Thompson hastened to add he wasn’t “suggesting the school division adopt racial hiring quotas,” merely applying pressure to meet “targets.” However, putting “requirements on the people hiring” seemed to have a clear meaning. By 2019, the NAACP seemed out of patience, moving toward the Ibram Kendi conception of equity, which holds that “there is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.” As Kendi puts it, “racial discrimination is not inherently racist. The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity.” Loudoun in this view fell under the latter category, even if the admissions inequity, for instance, overwhelmingly redounded to the county’s Asian minority. (Ironically, Asians were also massively underrepresented in school hiring in 2017, making up 3% of teachers despite being 20% of the student body, though this fact didn’t make it into the NAACP complaint). When asked about the legality of quotas, which she would later publicly support, Burke’s response was that the legal system itself was part of the problem and therefore not relevant. “As you are aware, the legal system has protected and in some cases perpetuated systemic racism. It was LEGAL to own people,” she said. She added: “LCPS needs to make of amends for the wrong they have done, by helping those who have been wronged, African American students and families. Reperations [sic].” Late in the fall of 2018, a group of fourth-grade teachers at Madison’s Trust elementary school in Brambleton, Virginia got together to plan the curriculum for Black History Month in February 2019. At the time, principal David Stewart was following in the footsteps of Superintendent Eric Williams, described on school websites as a devotee of an educational theorist named Philip Schlechty, by pushing a program called Project-Based Learning. Schlechty scoffed at the idea that a teacher was a mere “facilitator” of “personal development,” seeing the educator as a more muscular figure who helped ensure the “functioning of a democratic society” by “transmitting the collective wisdom of the group” through “authentically engaging activities.” Loudoun’s schools touted “Project Based Learning” as such an “engaging” approach that fused the “3 Rs” (a Relevant, Rigorous, and Responsive curriculum) and the “4 Cs” (utilizing Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity). What did those seven letters mean, at a school like Madison’s Trust? In practice, that classroom instruction might be bolstered by cross-pollinating lessons with a gym class. The 4th grade team that fall was working on a “PBL” on “Notable African Americans.” One of the school’s three PE teachers volunteered that he’d been to a conference years before, where he’d heard about a plan that sounded to him like a potential complement to any lesson about Harriet Tubman. Ian Prior of the Loudoun parent group Fight for Schools later brought details forward in a story for The Federalist, and noted in a longer private report that this teacher had attended the 2011 meeting of the Virginia Association For Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAPHERD) at the Hyatt Regency in Reston. There, a program was presented called “Underground Railroad” In “Underground Railroad,” kids in a PE class are led through an obstacle course simulating the path of slaves to safety along Tubman’s famous road to freedom. Along the way, they stop at various stations, where they might be introduced to a “drinking gourd” to learn that slaves used the Big Dipper constellation to help find the north star, or help each other move through hula hoops, or watch a video about Tubman, etc. Such simulations have been going on for at least thirty years, if not longer. One educator I spoke with who’d used a version of the program, Geoffrey Bishop of “Nature’s Classroom” in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, said he thought he first came across the idea at a conference in New Hampshire 35 years ago. The most famous “UGRR” simulation is the Kambui Education Initiative, a re-enactment founded by Kamau Kambui, a former devotee to a Malcolm X-inspired secessionist group called the Republic of New Afrika. The Initiative takes place in a thousand-acre slice of Minnesota’s Wilder Forest, dates back to the late eighties at least, and is part living museum, part outdoors adventure. Anthony Galloway, a pastor and equity coach who does use the term “critical race theory” in describing what his “Dare 2 Be Real” program teaches, cites experience with the Kambau Initiative as part of his credentials. However, both he and the current head of the Initiative, Chris Crutchfield, vehemently deny that he or Galloway had anything to do with any public school programs. “It’s abhorrent to me that people might think that,” Crutchfield says. “If it’s not done in the right way, it can be problematic.” In the end, the origin story doesn’t really matter. As the New Yorker wrote last year, “UGRR” simulations became a craze beginning in the nineties, long ago reaching into public school classes from coast to coast. Writer Julian Lucas described it as part of a movement to replace the old Schoolhouse Rock heroes with progressive updates: The runaway has emerged as the emblematic figure of a renovated national mythology, hero of a land that increasingly sees its Founding Fathers as settler-colonist génocidaires. In their stead rises a patriotism centered on slavery and abolition, and a campaign to set the country’s age-old freedom cult on a newly progressive footing. No matter who came up with the Madison’s Trust lesson plan, the idea clearly grew out of this same nest of ideas, with the aim of valorizing Harriet Tubman, Henry “Box” Brown, and other Railroad figures. Until there were complaints, there were plenty of progressive educators in Virginia who seemed to think these simulations were a good idea. A story in the Virginia Pilot from 2006 showed teachers boasting of how lifelike they’d made theirs. In that case, a pair of PE teachers in Chesapeake “transformed their gym into an eerie obstacle course” and “allowed the school’s 800 students to experience a little of what the slaves encountered during their nighttime runs.” Parents volunteered to play roles as slave-catchers and “patrolled the gym to the recorded sounds of barking dogs and galloping horses,” and teachers added heavy doses of verisimilitude: Students who made unnecessary noise or skipped obstacles found themselves caught and wearing gray construction paper manacles. There were no second chances. The slaves never got any, the teachers explained. “Some first- and second-graders cried,” the Pilot noted, in a deeply buried lede. A version of this was even officially approved for use in Loudoun County at one point, only to be discontinued years before the 2019 incident. Though the Loudoun County Schools declined to speak on the record for this story, it’s safe to say there’s disagreement about who signed off on what at Madison’s Trust, whose much watered-down version incidentally didn’t involve dogs or manacles. The Physical Education teachers are adamant that principal Stewart, as well as the Dean, Robert Rauch, visited the simulation in its first days — all of this took place between a Monday and a Wednesday on February 4th, 5th, and 6th, of 2019 — and gave it a thumbs-up. Other teachers and even Stewart tweeted about it in approval, claiming the students were “100% engaged.” Those messages have since been deleted. An amazing part of this story is how close it came to never happening. “We would have been fine not going cross-curricular,” one of the three Physical Education teachers told me. “We’d have been just fine doing our normal stuff.” Much later, what happened in the district would be portrayed as a white backlash against teaching the “truth” about America’s past. Buzzfeed for instance would eventually describe the Loudoun controversy as an effort by “right-wing activists” to “ban lessons and conversations around race, racism, and slavery.” A Washington Post article described local citizens as being against “efforts to promote racial justice,” and blamed Donald Trump and his followers for seeing “hateful lies” in “teaching about slavery and racism.” Yet the triggering incident in Loudoun clearly involved an overenthusiastic attempt to teach students about the Underground Railroad. Any progressive’s knee-jerk response to this story would involve aching to go back in time, Terminator-style, to quash thoughts of sticking “conversations about slavery” in a period normally reserved for volleyball and sack races. The issue wasn’t teachers trying to sabotage an antiracist lesson plan, but rather trying too hard to teach one. Even if you saw it as problematic, it was surely the opposite of not wanting to “teach about slavery and racism.” What happened next followed the pattern after simulations in Carrolton, Ohio, in 1997 (“Living-History Lessons Resurrect Old Wounds”), or Atlanta in 2013 (“Parent Says Slavery Experiment at Camp Went Too Far”) or Chicago in 2018 (“Illinois School Made Black Students Pretend to Be Slaves”) or countless other places: things went wrong. The typical complaint involved a black student coming home with a tale about having been asked to role-play a slave in school, followed by said child’s parent going somewhat understandably ballistic (“That’s when the blood vessel kind of broke,” is how one Atlanta parent described hearing his daughter’s story). The parents of one black child complained about the Brambleton simulation, and what followed was a perfect metaphor for so much of what’s wrong with modern American politics. Continue reading over at Matt's substack Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

8 phrases that make you sound weak at work and what to say instead to be a stronger communicator

Starting a conversation with "I'm not an expert but..." or "It's just that..." can make you sound unsure of yourself and your experience. Strong communication looks a lot like not weak communication, Thompson said.Elenaleonova / Getty Images Research shows that concise communication is important for overall career advancement. Avoid phrases like, "I'm not an expert but..." and "It's just that..."  to sound more confident.  Our words matter to how we are perceived. Think about how you want to sound before you speak.    "You have one minute to tell me why I'm here and another minute to tell me why I should stay!"When my dad was starting out in his career, he was asked to give a presentation to the bigwigs in his organization during an extremely sensitive time. As you can imagine, when the biggest wig of all stopped him five minutes into his talk, my dad was frazzled. In the end, he pulled himself together and was later commended for telling them exactly what they needed to know and not a word more.When I asked my dad for his greatest career lesson, this one reigns supreme — and it's not only him who values clear and concise communication as research has shown again and again it's a key driver to career advancement.As someone who grew up with a severe stutter and social anxiety, I've had to put in a decent amount of work to get to the point where I make a good chunk of my living working with people to add more weight to both their spoken and written word.Fortunately, you don't need to do an entire personality revamp to speak more confidently. In fact, a solid place to start is being more conscious of the phrases other people say that diminish their authority and making a point to not say them yourself. After all, strong communication looks a lot like not weak communication.Like all things in life — and especially online — context is everything. In general, if your goal is to have your voice heard and your ideas respected, cruise over the phrases below, and if you're guilty of saying them, consider a re-word or eliminate them entirely.1. "I'm not an expert, but…."When it comes to "career hacks" few are more valuable than asking the strong communicators around you which phrases to be mindful of. According to my friend Melody Wilding, LMSW, the author of "Trust Yourself" and executive coach for sensitive high-achievers, phrases like — "I'm not an expert, but…" and his popular cousin — "I'm not sure if this is a good idea…." are harmless prefaces for relaxed brainstorming sessions. But if you're in a situation where you're trying to get people to respect you and take your ideas seriously, these phrases undermine your credibility.The next time you feel these phrases rising, stop yourself, and consider taking a more direct and less self-deprecating approach instead — "What I believe is the best direction is X" or "I would suggest we also consider Y."2. "It's just that…."Every Tuesday I have a sounding board call with two-time tech founder Marina Glazman. The original idea for the calls was to discuss freshly brewing ideas for articles. Over time, however, my big motivation to speak with Marina is she's one of the strongest communicators I know — if not the strongest.According to Marina, weak objections tend to not only get overruled, but they send a signal to people that you're not willing to take a stand."The client said they don't like plastic, what about using glass?" is more effective than saying, "It's just that the client said they don't want to use plastic." Or any variation of the words "The only thing is…"3. "Just"I wasn't going to include "just" in this list as it's been said before. But it's worth mentioning because there's an effective exercise to reduce how much you use it that doesn't get as much play as it should.For one week, before hitting send on every email you write, do a "cntrl+F" and type the word "just" into the search bar. Then, any time you find yourself writing anything like "I'm just reaching out…" or "I'm just checking in to…" — cut the fluff and lead with the meat.This simple act will not only help you to be more conscious of how much you write it (and any other words you may use as a crutch). But it will also serve as a silent reminder to use it sparingly in conversation as being more conscious of what you write can seriously tighten your spoken word.Plus, at least for me, "thank you for X!" sounds much kinder than "I just wanted to say thank you for X!"4. "When you get a minute…."When asking for clarification, requests, or whatever kind of update you need from someone, be polite, but also remember people's time is limited and you don't want them to have to search for your point.If you need a status update, ask for it. "I have to get X over to Y at Z time today. Can you give me a status please?" is perfectly acceptable. The same goes for "can you give me an update on the request I sent over on Monday please?"If you're like most people, you miss stuff and direct reminders get a fire under you faster than dancing ones. So when you need an update, drop the "this is just a friendly nudge…" or "when you have a moment…" and ask for what you want.5. "I'm sorry to bother you…"Growing up with a stutter, I said this one all the time and I still use it from time to time if I'm approaching a stranger or I woke my wife up from a nap. When asking for a hand from a co-worker, however, announcing you're about to bother them, increases the odds of you actually bothering them as like my friend Fred Dust, the author of "Making Conversation", likes to say — "The words we say become the world we see!"Plus, according to sociologist Maja Jovanovic in her TED Talk, saying sorry make us appear smaller and timider than we really are. So if you catch yourself complaining instead of saying "sorry for venting" or "sorry for laying this on you," steal a line from Maja and try this simple switch instead — "Thank you for listening."This doesn't mean you shouldn't apologize as we all know the world could do with more people taking ownership of their actions. But try to limit how much you say you're sorry when there's nothing for you to be sorry about.6. "Does what I just said make sense?"Not fully formed thoughts and ideas can get messy and you should be working at a place that allows you to explore. But if you feel as if you're rambling and your message isn't landing (which should be obvious if you're conscious of the facial gestures and body language of the people in front of you) — back up and start again."This idea is new to me, let me re-phrase this" is a solid option. Or "I like this idea, but I need time to find the words." Depending on your audience and your relationship with them, you can even use some self-deprecating humor — "If I'm confused saying this you must be lost trying to understand it. Are you up for helping me hash it out?"7. "I'm an idiot""Keep your ears peeled for what confident communicators aren't saying!" My dad gave me this piece of advice a few years ago. As someone who works with anyone from CEOs to college grads, the difference in communication, as expected, is massive.Firstly, the most effective leaders are tremendous simplifiers. Instead of over-explaining or bogging people down with details, they state the facts and list action points.Secondly, you'll rarely hear them belittle themselves. This may sound obvious, but "sorry, I'm stupid" happens. A forward-thinking question of "how can I get this right?" can go a long way.8. "I don't necessarily agree with this, but…"One of the major keys to advancement — if not the key — is found in how well you and your colleagues thoughtfully disagree.Don't hedge and take power away from your position by leading with "I don't necessarily agree with this, but…" or "I'm not sure I agree with this…" when wanting to state an objection. "How about X" is a solid option. The same goes for "have we considered this Y" or "I'd like to add Z."In short — and this applies to the majority of these statements — be mindful of how you start your requests or argument as it plays a role in how confidently your thoughts and ideas are ultimately received.I'm a big believer that we're better off focusing on kindness and becoming competent at the work we do instead of worrying about being viewed as confident.That being said, our words matter, and if there's an option that makes the same point but doesn't potentially give someone the option to question our confidence, take it. You may find by reducing the phrases that weaken your stance, both your confidence and career stock begin to rise.Michael Thompson is a leadership and communication lecturer for MBA students in Barcelona, communication strategist, and writer. He's currently writing a book for how quiet, contemplative people can get their work and words to stand out. If interested in updates and to review his catalog, visit here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 16th, 2021

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns US equity futures and European markets started the Thanksgiving week on an upbeat note as investors set aside fear of surging inflation and focused on a pickup in M&A activity while China signaled possible easing measures. The euphoria which lifted S&P futures up some 0.5% overnight and just shy of all time highs ended abruptly and futures reversed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid situation in the country is worse than anything so far and tighter curbs are needed. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 95 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.25 points, or 0.26% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.75 points, or 0.357%. U.S. stocks trade near record levels, outpacing the rest of the world, as investors see few alternatives amid rising inflation and a persistent pandemic that undermines global recovery. Concerns about high valuations and the potential for the economy to run too hot on the back of loose monetary and fiscal policies have interrupted, but not stopped the rally. In other words, as Bloomberg puts it "bears are winning the argument, bulls are winning in the market" while Nasdaq futures hit another record high as demand for technology stocks remained strong. “Based on historical data, the Thanksgiving week is a strong week for U.S. equities,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “Black Friday sales will be closely watched. The good news is, people still have money to spend, even though they get less goods and services in exchange of what’s spent.” In premarket moves, heavyweights, including most FAANG majors, rose in premarket trade. Vonage Holdings Corp. jumped 26% in premarket trading after Ericsson agreed to buy it. Telecom Italia SpA jumped as much as 30% in Europe after KKR offered to buy it for $12 billion. Energy stocks recovered slightly from last week's losses, although anticipation of several economic readings this week kept gains in check. Bank stocks rose in premarket trading as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed for the first time in three sessions to about 1.58%. S&P 500 futures gain as much as 0.5% on Monday morning. Tesla gained 2.8% after Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that Model S Plaid will "probably" be coming to China around March. Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) slipped 1.1% after a media report that the video game publisher's top boss, Bobby Kotick, would consider leaving if he cannot quickly fix culture problems. Travel and energy stocks, which were among the worst performers last week, also marked small gains before the open. Here is a list of the other notable premarket movers: Astra Space (ASTR US) shares surge 33% in premarket trading after the company said its rocket reached orbit. Aurora Innovation (AUR US) falls 8% in premarket, after soaring 71% last week amid a surge in popularity for self-driving technology companies among retail traders. Chinese electric-carmaker Xpeng (XPEV US) rises as much as 2.8% premarket after co. unveils a large sports-utility vehicle pitted more directly against Tesla’s Model Y and Nio’s ES series. Stocks of other EV makers are mixed. Monster Beverage (MNST US)., the maker of energy drinks, is exploring a combination with Corona brewer Constellation Brands (STZ US), according to people familiar with the matter. CASI Pharma (CASI US) jumped 17% in postmarket trading after CEO Wei-Wu He disclosed the purchase of 400,000 shares in a regulatory filing. Along with an eye on the Fed's plans for tightening policy, investors are also watching for an announcement from Joe Biden on his pick for the next Fed chair. Powell was supposed to make his decision by the weekend but has since delayed it repeatedly. Investors expect current chair Jerome Powell to stay on for another term, although Fed Governor Lael Brainard is also seen as a candidate for the position. “Bringing the most dovish of the doves wouldn’t guarantee a longer period of zero rates,” Ozkardeskaya wrote. “If the decisions are based on economic fundamentals, the economy is calling for a rate hike. And it’s calling for it quite soon.” The Stoxx 600 trimmed gains after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tighter Covid-19 restrictions. European telecom shares surged after KKR’s offer to buy Telecom Italia for about $12 billion, which boosted sentiment about M&A in the sector. The Stoxx 600 Telecommunications Index gained as much as 1.6%, the best-performing sector gauge for the region: Telefonica +4.8%, Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane +4%, KPN +2.7%. Meanwhile, telecom equipment stock Ericsson underperforms the rest of the SXKP index, falling as much as 4.9% after a deal to buy U.S. cloud communication provider Vonage; Danske Bank says the price is “quite steep”. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as Covid-19 resurgences in Europe triggered risk-off sentiment across markets amid weaker oil prices, a strong U.S. dollar and higher bond yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3%, with India’s Sensex measure slumping the most since April as Paytm’s IPO weighed on sentiment. The country’s oil giant Reliance dragged down the Asian index after scrapping a deal with Saudi Aramco, and energy and financials were the biggest sector losers in the region. Asian markets have turned softer after capping their first weekly retreat this month, following lackluster moves from economically sensitive sectors in the U.S., while investors continue to monitor earnings reports of big Chinese technology firms this week. “Some impact from the regulatory risks and dull macroeconomic conditions have shown up in several Chinese big-tech earnings and that may put investors on the sidelines as earnings season continues,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte., wrote in a note. China’s equity gauge posted a second straight day of gains after the central bank’s quarterly report indicated a shift toward easing measures to bolster the economic recovery. South Korea led gains in the region, with the Kospi adding more than 1%, helped by chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. Asia’s chip-related shares rose after comments from Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra added to optimism the global shortage of semiconductors is easing. Reports of Japan earmarking $6.8 billion to bolster domestic chipmaking and Samsung planning to announce the location of its new chip plant in the U.S. also aided sentiment. Japanese stocks fluctuated after U.S. shares retreated on Friday following hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials. The Topix index was virtually unchanged at 2,044.16 as of 2:21 p.m. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1% to 29,783.92. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,107 rose and 948 fell, while 125 were unchanged. “There are uncertainties surrounding the direction of U.S. monetary policy,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. “The latest comments from FRB members are spurring talk that steps to taper could accelerate.” Australian stocks sunk as banks tumbled to almost a 4-month low. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,353.10, weighed down by banks and technology stocks as the measure for financial shares finished at the lowest level since July 30.  Nickel Mines was the top performer after agreeing to expand its strategic partnership with Shanghai Decent. Flight Centre fell for a second session, ending at its lowest close since Sept. 20, as the Covid-19 situation worsens in Europe. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 12,607.64. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index holds Asia’s narrow range, trading little changed on the day. AUD outperforms G-10 peers, extending Asia’s modest gains. SEK and JPY are the weakest. RUB lags in EMFX, dropping as much as 1% versus the dollar with USD/RUB on a 74-handle. According to Bloomberg, hedge funds’ bullishness toward the dollar is starting to evaporate amid speculation the U.S. currency has risen too much given the Federal Reserve remains adamant it’s in no rush to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the euro pared modest Asia session losses to trade below $1.13, while European bond yields edged higher, led by bunds and gilts. The pound dipped after comments from Bank of England policy makers raised questions about the certainty of an interest-rate increase in December. Governor Andrew Bailey said that the risks to the U.K. economy are “two-sided” in a weekend interview. Australian dollar advanced against the kiwi on position tweaking ahead of Wednesday’s RBNZ’s rate decision, and after China’s central bank removed sticking with “normal monetary policy” from its policy outlook. Yen declines as speculation China will steer toward more accommodative policy damps the currency’s haven appeal. Hungary’s forint tumbled to a record low against the euro as back-to-back interest rate increases failed to shield it during a rapidly deteriorating pandemic and a flight to safer assets. In commodities, crude futures drifted higher. WTI rises 0.3% near $76.20, Brent regains at $79-handle. Spot gold has a quiet session trading near $1,844/oz. Base metal are mixed: LME copper, tin and zinc post small losses; lead and nickel are in the green Looking at today's calendar, we get the October Chicago Fed national activity index, existing home sales data, and the Euro Area advance November consumer confidence. Zoom is among the companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,710.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 487.45 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro little changed at $1.1283 MXAP down 0.2% to 198.88 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 647.20 Nikkei little changed at 29,774.11 Topix little changed at 2,042.82 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,951.34 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,582.08 Sensex down 2.0% to 58,450.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,353.08 Kospi up 1.4% to 3,013.25 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $79.22/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,846.10 U.S. Dollar Index also little changed at 96.08 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Negotiators hammering out details of a transformative new global corporate tax regime are shaping the deal to maximize its chance of winning acceptance in the U.S., whose companies face the biggest impact from the overhaul The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations. The ruble slid to the weakest since August and the hryvnia fell With investors ramping up expectations for the Federal Reserve and other developed-market central banks to tighten policy, the likes of the Brazilian real and Hungarian forint have been weighed down by inflation and political concerns even as local officials pushed up borrowing costs. The Chinese yuan, Taiwanese dollar and Russian ruble have been among the few to stand their ground An organization formed by key participants in China’s currency market urged banks to limit speculative foreign-exchange trading after the yuan climbed to a six-year high versus peers The Avalanche cryptocurrency has surged in the past several days, taking it briefly into the top 10 by market value and surpassing Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, after a deal related to improvement of U.S. disaster-relief funding A more detailed breakdown of overnight news courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's mostly negative performance stateside, where risk appetite was dampened by concerns of a fourth COVID wave in Europe and recent hawkish Fed rhetoric. Weekend newsflow was light and the mood was tentative heading into this week's risk events including FOMC minutes and US GDP data before the Thanksgiving holiday. The ASX 200 (-0.6%) was subdued with declines led by weakness in gold miners and the energy sector. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was lacklustre after last week’s inflows into the JPY but with downside eventually reversed as the currency faded some of the gains and following the recent cabinet approval of the stimulus spending. The KOSPI (+1.4%) outperformed and reclaimed the 3k level with shares in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallying as its de facto leader tours the US which spurred hopes the Co. could deploy its USD 100bln cash pile. The Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) diverged with the mainland kept afloat after the PBoC conducted a mild liquidity injection and maintained its Loan Prime Rate for a 19th consecutive month as expected, although Hong Kong was pressured by losses in energy and cautiousness among developers, as well as the recent announcement of increased constituents in the local benchmark. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked marginal gains amid the cautious risk tone in Asia and following firmer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr JGBs, but with upside capped as T-note futures continued to fade Friday’s early gains that were fuelled by the COVID-19 concerns in Europe before the advances were later halted by hawkish Fed rhetoric calling for a discussion on speeding up the tapering at next month’s meeting. Top Asian News China Blocks Peng Shuai News as It Seeks to Reassure World China FX Panel Urges Banks to Cap Speculation as Yuan Surges Paytm Founder Compares Himself to Musk After Historic IPO Flop China Tech Stocks Are Nearing Inflection Point, UBS GWM Says European cash bourses kicked off the new trading week with mild gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a mixed APAC handover. Some have been attributing the mild gains across Europe in the context of the different approaches of the Fed and ECB, with the latter expected to remain dovish as the former moves tighter, while COVID lockdowns will restrict economic activity. News flow in the European morning has however been sparse, as participants look ahead to FOMC Minutes, Flash PMIs and US GDP ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday (full Newsquawk Desk Schedule on the headline feed) alongside the Fed Chair update from President Biden and a speech from him on the economy. US equity futures see modestly more pronounced gains, with the more cyclically-exposed RTY (+0.6%) performing better than then NQ (+0.4%), ES (+0.4%) and YM (+0.4%). Since the European cash open, the initial mildly positive momentum has somewhat waned across European cash and futures, with the region now conforming to a more mixed picture. Spain's IBEX (+0.7%) is the clear regional outperforming, aided by index heavyweight Telefonica (+5.0%), which benefits from the sectorial boost received by a couple of major M&A updates. Firstly, Telecom Italia (+22%) gapped higher at the open after KKR presented a EUR 0.505/shr offer for Telecom Italia. The offer presents a ~45% premium on Friday's close. Second, Ericsson (-3.5%) made a bid to acquire American publicly held business cloud communications provider Vonage in a deal worth USD 6.2bln. As things stand, the Telecom sector is the clear outperformer, closely followed by banks amid a revival in yields. The other end of the spectrum sees Travel & Leisure back at the foot of the bunch as COVID fears in Europe mount. In terms of individual movers, Vestas Wind Systems (-2.0%) was hit as a cyber incident that impacted parts of its internal IT structure and data has been compromised. Looking ahead, it’s worth noting that volume will likely be more muted towards the latter half of the week on account of the Thanksgiving holiday. Top European News Scholz Closer to German Chancellery as Cabinet Takes Shape Austria Back in Lockdown Ahead of Mandatory Vaccine Policy Energy Crunch Drives Carbon to Record as Europe Burns More Coal BP Goes on Hydrogen Hiring Spree in Bid for 10% Market Share In FX, the Antipodean Dollars are outperforming at the start of the new week on specific supportive factors, like a bounce in the price of iron ore and a further re-opening from pandemic restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, while the REINZ shadow board is ‘overwhelmingly’ behind another RBNZ rate hike this week. Aud/Usd is holding around 0.7250 and Nzd/Usd is hovering circa 0.7000 as the Aud/Nzd cross pivots 1.0350 in the run up to flash Aussie PMIs and NZ retail sales. DXY - Aussie and Kiwi strength aside, the Greenback retains a solid underlying bid on safe haven and increasingly hawkish Fed grounds after a run of recent much better than expected US data. In index terms, a base just above 96.000 provides a platform to retest last week’s peaks at 96.245 and 96.266 vs 96.223 so far, but Monday’s agenda may not give bulls much in the way of encouragement via data with only existing home sales scheduled. Instead, the Buck could derive more impetus from Treasuries given front-loaded supply ahead of Thanksgiving in the form of Usd 58 bn 2 year and Usd 59 bn 5 year notes. CHF/CAD/EUR/GBP/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US rival, as the Franc keeps its head above 0.9300 and meanders between 1.0485-61 vs the Euro amidst some signs of official intervention from a rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks. Meanwhile, the Loonie has some leverage from a mild rebound in crude prices to pare declines from sub-1.2650 and should glean support into 1.2700 from 1 bn option expiries at 1.2685 on any further risk aversion or fallout in WTI. Conversely, 1 bn option expiry interest from 1.1300-05 could scupper Euro recoveries from Friday’s new y-t-d low around 1.1250 against the backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 contagion and pre-ECB speakers plus preliminary Eurozone consumer confidence. Elsewhere, the Pound is weighing up BoE tightening prospects and the impact of no breakthrough between the UK and EU on NI Protocol as Cable and Eur/Gbp straddle the 1.3435-40 zone and 0.8400 respectively, while the Yen has unwound more of its safe haven premium within a 114.27-113.91 range eyeing UST yields in relation to JGBs alongside overall risk sentiment. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is deriving some traction from Brent back over Usd 79/brl, but geopolitical concerns are preventing the Rub from benefiting and the Mxn is also on a weaker footing along with most EM currencies. However, the Try is striving to draw a line in the sand irrespective of a marked deterioration in Turkish consumer sentiment and the Cnh/Cny are holding up well regardless of a softer PBoC fix for the onshore unit as LPRs were unchanged yet again and China’s FX regulator told banks to limit Yuan spec trades. In CEE, the Pln has plunged on diplomatic strains between Poland and the EU, the Huf has depreciated to all time lows on virus fears and the Czk has been hampered by CNB’s Holub downplaying the chances of more big tightening surprises such as the aggressive hike last time. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures see some consolidation following Friday’s slide in prices. In terms of the fundamentals, the demand side of the equations continues to be threatened by the fourth wave of COVID, namely in the European nations that have not had a successful vaccine rollout. As a reminder, Austria is in a 20-day nationwide lockdown as of today, whilst Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands see tighter restrictions, with the latter two also experiencing COVID-related social unrest over the weekend. The European Commission will on Wednesday issue a set of new recommendations to its member states on non-essential travel, a senior EU diplomat said, which will be watched for activity and jet fuel demand. Over to the supply side, There were weekend reports that Japan and the US are planning a joint announcement regarding the SPR release, although a key Japanese official later noted there was no fixed plan yet on releasing reserves. Japanese PM Kishida confirmed that they are considering releasing oil reserves to curb prices. Meanwhile, Iranian nuclear talks are regaining focus as negotiations are poised to resume on the 29th of November – it is likely we’ll see officials telegraph their stances heading into the meeting. Eyes will be on whether the US offers an olive branch as Tehran stands firm. Elsewhere, the next OPEC+ meeting is also looming, but against the backdrop of lower prices, COVID risk and SPR releases, it is difficult to see a scenario where OPEC+ will be more hawkish than dovish. WTI and Brent Jan trade on either side of USD 76/bbl and USD 79/bbl respectively and within relatively narrow bands. Spot gold and silver meanwhile see a mild divergence, with the yellow metal constrained by resistance in the USD 1,850/oz area, whilst spot silver rebounded off support at USD 24.50/oz. Finally, base metals are relatively mixed with no standout performers to point out. LME copper is flat but holds onto USD 9,500+/t status. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Oct. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.10, prior -0.13 10am: Oct. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 7.0% 10am: Oct. Home Resales with Condos, est. 6.18m, prior 6.29m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve just published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. 2021 has been one of the lowest vol years for credit on record but we think this is unlikely to last and spreads will sell-off at some point in H1 when markets reappraise how far behind the curve the Fed is. Even with covid restrictions mounting again in Europe as we go to print, we think it’s more likely that we’ll be in a “growthflationary” environment for 2022 and think overheating risks are more acute than the stagflation risk, especially in the US. Strong growth and high liquidity should mean that full year 2022 is a reasonable year for credit overall but if we’re correct there’ll be regular pockets of inflationary/interest rate concerns in the market, which we think is more likely to happen in H1. At the H1 wides, we could see spreads widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY which is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. However, with the potential for a shift in the narrative to potential late-cycle dynamics, we think spreads will close 2022 slightly wider than they are today. We will be watching the yield curve closely through the year for clues as to how the cycle will evolve into 2023. This has the ability to move our YE 22 forecasts in both directions as the year progresses. This week will be heavily compressed given Thanksgiving on Thursday. The highlight though will be a likely choice of Fed governor before this, assuming the timetable doesn’t slip again. Overnight it’s been announced that Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices. It’s possible the Fed Chair gets announced here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. We will see. Following that, Wednesday is especially busy as a pre-holiday US data dump descends upon us. We’ll see the minutes of the November 3rd FOMC meeting and earlier that day the core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation metric), Durable Goods, the UoM sentiment index (including latest inflation expectations), new home sales and jobless claims amongst a few other releases. More internationally, covid will be focus, especially in Europe as Austria enters lockdown today after the shock announcement on Friday. Germany is probably the swing factor here for sentiment in Europe so case numbers will be watched closely. Staying with Germany, there’s anticipation that a coalition agreement could be reached in Germany between the SPD, Greens and the FDP, almost two months after their federal election. Otherwise, the flash PMIs for November will be in focus, with the ECB following the Fed and releasing the minutes from their recent meeting on Thursday. As discussed at the top the most important market event this week is likely to be on the future leadership of the Federal Reserve, as it’s been widely reported that President Biden is expected to announce his choice on who’ll be the next Fed Chair by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Previous deadlines have slipped on this announcement, but time is becoming increasingly limited given the need for Senate confirmation ahead of Chair Powell’s current four-year term expiring in early February. The two names that are quite obviously in the frame are incumbent Chair Powell and Governor Brainard, but there are also a number of other positions to fill at the Fed in the coming months, with Vice Chair Clarida’s term as an FOMC governor expiring in January, Randal Quarles set to leave the Board by the end of this year, and another vacant post still unfilled. So a significant opportunity for the Biden administration to reshape the top positions at the Fed. In spite of all the speculation over the position of the Fed Chair, our US economists write in their latest Fed update (link here), that the decision is unlikely to have a material impact on the broad policy trajectory. Inflation in 2022 is likely to remain at levels that make most Fed officials uncomfortable, whilst the regional Fed presidents rotating as voters lean more hawkish next year, so there’ll be constraints to how policy could shift in a dovish direction, even if an incoming chair wanted to move things that way. Another unconfirmed but much anticipated announcement this week could come from Germany, where there’s hope that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP will finally reach a coalition agreement. The general secretaries of all three parties have recently said that they hope next week will be when a deal is reached, and a deal would pave the way for the SPD’s Olaf Scholz to become chancellor at the head of a 3-party coalition. Nevertheless, there are still some hurdles to clear before then, since an agreement would mark the start of internal party approval processes. The FDP and the SPD are set to hold a party convention, whilst the Greens have announced that their members will vote on the agreement. On the virus, there is no doubt things are getting worse in Europe but it’s worth putting some of the vaccine numbers in some context. Austria (64% of total population) has a double vaccination rate that is somewhat lower than the likes of Spain (79%), Italy (74%), France (69%), the UK (69%) and Germany (68%). The UK for all its pandemic fighting faults is probably as well placed as any due to it being more advanced on the booster campaign due to an earlier vaccine start date and also due to higher natural infections. It was also a conscious decision back in the summer in the UK to flatten the peak to take load off the winter wave. So this is an area where scientists and the government may have made a calculated decision that pays off. Europe is a bit behind on boosters versus the UK but perhaps these will accelerate as more people get 6 months from their second jab, albeit a bit too late to stop some kind of winter wave. There may also be notable divergence within Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain (and to a slightly lesser extent France) that were hit hard in the initial waves have a high vaccination rate so it seems less likely they will suffer the dramatic escalation that Austria has seen. Germany is in the balance as they have had lower infection rates which unfortunately may have encouraged slightly lower vaccination rates. The irony here is that there is some correlation between early success/lower infections and lower subsequent vaccination rates. The opposite is also true - i.e. early bad outcomes but high vaccination rates. The US is another contradiction as it’s vaccination rate of 58% is very low in the developed world but it has had high levels of natural infections and has a higher intolerance for lockdowns. So tough to model all the above. Overall given that last winter we had no vaccines and this year we have very high levels of protection it seems unfathomable that we’ll have an outcome anywhere near as bad. Yes there will be selected countries where the virus will have a more severe impact but most developed countries will likely get by without lockdowns in my opinion even if the headlines aren’t always going to be pleasant. Famous last words but those are my thoughts. In light of the rising caseloads, the November flash PMIs should provide some context for how the global economy has performed into the month. We’ve already seen a deceleration in the composite PMIs for the Euro Area since the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s maintained. If anything the US data has reaccelerated in Q4 with the Atlanta Fed GDPNow series at 8.2% for the quarter after what will likely be a revised 2.2% print on Wednesday for Q3. Time will tell if Covid temporarily dampens this again. Elsewhere datawise, we’ll also get the Ifo’s latest business climate indicator for Germany on Wednesday, which has experienced a similar deceleration to other European data since the summer. The rest of the week ahead appears as usual in the day-by-day calendar at the end. Overnight in Asia stocks are mixed with the KOSPI (+1.31%) leading the pack followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and CSI (+0.53%), while the Nikkei (-0.18%) and Hang Seng (-0.35%) are lower. Stocks in China are being boosted by optimism that the PBOC would be easing its policy stance after its quarterly monetary policy report on Friday dropped a few hints to that effect. Futures are pointing towards a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 futures (+0.31%) and DAX futures (+0.14%) both in the green. Turning to last week now, rising Covid cases prompted renewed lockdown measures to varying degrees and hit risk sentiment. Countries across Europe implemented new lockdown measures and vaccine requirements to combat the latest rise in Covid cases. The standouts included Austria and Germany. Austria will start a nationwide lockdown starting today and will implement a compulsory Covid vaccine mandate from February. Germany will restrict leisure activities and access to public transportation for unvaccinated citizens and announced a plan to improve vaccination efforts. DM ten-year yields decreased following the headline. Treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -3.8bps, -6.7bps, and -4.6bps on Friday, respectively, bringing the weekly totals to -1.3bps, -8.3bps, and -3.5bps, respectively. The broad dollar appreciated +0.54% Friday, and +0.98% over the week. Brent and WTI futures declined -2.89% and -3.68% on Friday following global demand fears, after drifting -4.27% and -5.79% lower throughout the week as headlines circulated that the US and allies were weighing whether to release strategic reserves. European equity indices declined late in the week as the renewed lockdown measures were publicized. The Stoxx 600, DAX, and CAC 40 declined -0.33%, -0.38%, and -0.42%, respectively on Friday, bringing their weekly totals to -0.14%, +0.41%, and +0.29%. The S&P 500 index was also hit ending the week +0.32% higher after declining -0.14% Friday, though weekly gains were concentrated in big technology and consumer discretionary stocks. U.S. risk markets were likely supported by the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Biden Administration’s climate and social spending bill. The bill will proceed to the Senate, where its fate lays with a few key moderate Democrats. This follows President Biden signing a physical infrastructure bill into law on Monday. On the Fed, communications from officials took a decidedly more hawkish turn on inflation dynamics, especially from dovish members. Whether the Fed decides to accelerate its asset purchase taper at the December FOMC will likely be the key focus in markets heading into the meeting. Ending the weekly wrap up with some positive Covid news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all adults. Additionally, the US will order 10 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid pill. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Remote Work Is Fine. The Real Thing Scaring CEOs? Hybrid Work.

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) With a global community of donors who’ve raised over $15 billion, GoFundMe pays close attention to what helps people feel comfortable seeking assistance. That also happens to be one of CEO Tim Cadogan’s missions within the company: Communicating that… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) With a global community of donors who’ve raised over $15 billion, GoFundMe pays close attention to what helps people feel comfortable seeking assistance. That also happens to be one of CEO Tim Cadogan’s missions within the company: Communicating that it’s okay to ask for help. When Cadogan joined the for-profit crowdfunding platform in March 2020, for instance, he sought out key employees who could help him understand important aspects of the business. “I was asking people to create a bit of time, even while things were very, very busy, to educate me,” he says. “Really the main thing you’re trying to do, as in so many aspects of life, is you’re trying to build a relationship of trust. That’s something that we do in our personal lives.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Cadogan, a former McKinsey consultant who led ad-tech provider OpenX as chief executive for close to a dozen years, started at GoFundMe just days before the WHO labeled COVID-19 a global pandemic. Activity on the platform was hitting new heights as increasing numbers of people looked for help to pay for food, rent, and medical bills. Then came the summer of 2020, when GoFundMe set a record for its highest number of donations in a single campaign: More than 500,000 people raised close to $15 million for the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund. As part of a recent TIME co-sponsored Charter Workplace Summit, I spoke to Cadogan about his thoughts on shaping social impact, leading teams in a remote environment and his worries about the new era of hybrid work. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.) You joined GoFundMe at a very interesting time: March of 2020, as the pandemic was changing everything about work. How has that transition been for you? We had to transition very quickly, and by the end of my first week, we said, ‘We’re going to go to fully distributed.’ I have to say that for a company like ours, where primarily we’re doing knowledge work, it was difficult, but I just want to note that it’s nowhere near as difficult as the situation of people who still had to work in a physical environment–which is many, many people in our economy. And while we were making that transition in the way that we worked, there was a big transition happening in terms of the use of our platform. Our job was: Let’s figure out as fast as possible, how do we get used to working together in this new way? How do we help the large increase in people who need help, who are using our platform, to ask for that? And so, in a way, our internal challenges fell to the background. It was pretty much: Figure it out, because there are people who are facing situations far worse than us having to work in a room that isn’t configured very well for wifi. And that’s what we did. Sometimes you just have to just do it, and we did. We worked out pretty quickly how to take care of folks as they were flooding into the platform. And to navigate that time personally, I’m wondering whether you learned anything new about how you manage people and processes? Definitely did. I mean, I think it really is the classic of being very adaptable. I found it intimidating to learn a completely new business. I came from a very different sector, so I needed to learn a new business, a new company, a new set of people at a time in which the usage of that product and system was going up massively. So it was a lot of learning. And one thing I had done before I joined the company is I laid out what I call an open-source learning curriculum, which is basically a whole set of topics that I wanted the experts at the company to teach me. I would be the student and they would teach me. And of course, part of my plan was they would do that in person, so I would get to know people as well as learning from their expertise about the company. Then we had to shift to a virtual mechanism, but it was a good way of getting to know people in this new way in somewhat smaller groups. And it sort of shifted the power dynamic as well. It’s like, look, I’m the student, you know what you’re doing, help me understand what you do, how it works, what challenges you faced and how maybe I can help. The other thing we talked about was learning to do the things that you knew you would have to do, but in a completely new way. For example, I’m starting to change some elements of the organization. Typically when you do that in a company, you take the time to get to know people, you identify the issues you have to work on, and then you work through those situations in a room where you can kind of read people’s body language. You can understand what’s setting them off, and navigate that using both verbal communication and nonverbal communication, which is incredibly important for humans. This format isn’t so great at nonverbal communication. It meant that I found you had to go a bit slower, and you had to communicate more clearly and more explicitly than ever before. And I actually think that’s a benefit. Were there any other things you did to root yourself into the culture? A couple of things. I mean, really the main thing you’re trying to do, as in so many aspects of life, is you’re trying to build a relationship of trust. Doing a weekly town hall, which was much more than we’d done before. It was just a chance to be together and to talk through whatever was hot that week. Normally I would have done a more traditional once a month. And then just setting up a lot of these introductory meetings as I’m here to learn. And then, how can I help? Versus, I need you to do this. So adjusting the approach and the tone and positioning any of the folks in leadership has had. Because again, not only were we dealing with a difference in how we worked, but also everyone was dealing with a lot of emotional stress. This is a pandemic. What’s going to happen? Am I going to get sick? All of these things are going on in people’s lives. So we got very flexible. If you’re a parent and you had particularly smaller kids, where it’s much tougher to navigate their schooling at home, just do what you need to do. We quickly created a set of policies that addressed and accommodated the very unusual and stressful situation with people. Something a lot of people are contemplating now is going back to the office. How are you preparing your team for it? And how are you doing that globally? Yeah, we do. Just so people know, we have offices in San Diego, LA, in the bay area, but also in Dublin. We also have team members in the UK, Germany, Australia. We’re running 19 markets. First, the fundamentals in terms of safety. Several months ago we made it clear that if you wanted to come back to work you needed to be vaccinated in the U.S. So that’s in place. There are also a set of tools that we’ve put in place that we are not yet using, cause we’re not yet back to the physical work environment, that will allow you to check in, to give a health status, and to reserve desks. We’re going to be a little bit more fluid with the team. What I’m candidly more worried about is, people call it “going back to work,” which is not what it is. It’s not really going back. I think we are going forward to something that is different from anything we’ve seen to date, which is a hybrid work environment. I don’t think we’re ever, probably, going back to that situation where everyone’s in the office every day, five days a week. I just don’t see that, not least because we’ve had, and I’m sure many other companies have had, a bunch of people move to other places. So I’m actually quite worried about how we’re going to navigate to a hybrid environment. It’s going to get a lot more complicated. This situation where everyone has got one screen, in a sense, it’s been a great leveler. Everyone’s got a screen, everyone’s on the same playing field. Going to a world where there are three people in the room, two people on a call. It’s going to be pretty difficult trying to find that right balance. And I think it’s going to take a lot of experimentation as to what are the best communication methods. What are the sort of clear three or four rules that you’ll have to adopt to make sure that everyone is an equal participant in the conversation? And I don’t know the answer to that yet. We’ve got a bunch of ideas. One is like one screen, one person. You know, even if you’re in the room, you have your own screen. But I’m anxious about it because I think it’s going to be in some ways more challenging than the move to 100% remote where everyone was in the same situation. You’ve said your management style is very much one where it’s okay to ask for help. How do you do that? We have drafted a distributed work playbook, which we continue to update, which is sort of, these are our thoughts on how we’re going to work together, how we’re going to pull this off. But we have shared very clearly, as we go back to work, which we’re hoping is early in the new year, that it’s going to be an experiment for the first little bit. And in fact, we’ve asked different teams, hey, if you want to try working this way, please try that and then tell everybody else and we’ll sort of report it back out. How did it go? What was good about that way of communicating and what wasn’t so good? And hopefully we’re going a few different groups, doing things in different ways. So it’s just being open to the fact that we’ve got to figure this out together. We don’t have all the answers, we have some directions and let’s work the problem. A large portion of workers now expect CEOs and companies to take a stance on social and political issues. How does that affect how you manage these days, how you think about your role and the company’s role in society? Are there examples of political stances you’ve wrestled with recently? Look, GoFundMe is a social impact system, right? What we do is, we enable people to ask for help and to give help. Inherently, what we do has social impact and social value. I think that’s a driving reason why every single person who comes to work at GoFundMe does that. So it is perhaps a little bit different than some companies that do something and then want to also have a social impact they sort of wrap around what they do. In our case, that’s the point of the company. So what that also leads to is, we can see within our community, what are people asking for help for? And that generally guides us as to what else can we do to provide help and support and maybe amplify those issues? Earlier this year, unsurprisingly, during the third or the fourth wave of COVID in the winter, we saw a real uptick in campaigns related to all the dimensions of COVID. It was pretty clear that a lot of people were suffering. At that point, Congress was debating how much relief do we put into the economy to help people that are struggling with all these consequences. And so it makes sense for us to put our hand up and say, here’s the data that we’re seeing, and could you please take action and get help to people? Which I view as a pretty simple thing. Also, quite a lot of the fundraisers on GoFundMe are related to medical expenses. And as a lot of people know, in the U.S. medical expenses are very high and a lot of people don’t have adequate coverage. So we have done a number of things just this year to help people avail themselves of the Affordable Care Act. There was a special open enrollment period earlier this year, and we advertised that on our home page, encouraging people to go and get themselves coverage. And in fact, we just recently in the last couple of weeks sent emails to people who would organize medical fundraisers, to be aware that the standard opener role period for the ACA is now open. We saw a series of fundraisers around this horrific spate of AAPI attacks, particularly on elderly Asian people. And so we enabled those fundraisers, but we also put together the AAPI fund, which has raised about $7 billion. And that runs through a sister organization of ours called GoFundMe.org that grants out funds to local charities that are helping with various aspects of AAPI support. Where do you think the future of work is headed? What do you want other CEOs to know? Stay nimble. It’s very simple. More and more people want very clear purpose on what they’re working on, and then they want flexibility in how they go about that work. As an employer, if you’re providing clear purpose and you’re giving people the support and the means to be effective, people can work in all kinds of ways we don’t expect. Put those two things together and you create a great opportunity for people to do the best work of their lives, which I think is what people are looking for......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 14th, 2021

A Tale Of Two Civilizations

A Tale Of Two Civilizations Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, In recent years, America’s unsuccessful attempts at containing China as a rival hegemon has only served to promote Chinese antipathy against American capitalism. China is now retreating into the comfort of her long-established moral values, best described as a mixture of Confucianism and Marxism, while despising American individualism, its careless regard for family values, and encouragement of get-rich-quick financial speculation. After America’s defeat in Afghanistan, the geopolitical issue is now Taiwan, where things are hotting up in the wake of the AUKUS agreement. Taiwan is important because it produces two-thirds of the world’s computer chips. Meanwhile, the large US banks are complacent concerning Taiwan, preferring to salivate at the money-making prospects of China’s $45 trillion financial services market. The outcome of the Taiwan issue is likely to be decided by the evolution of economic factors. China is protecting herself against a global credit crisis by restraining its creation, while America is going full MMT. The outcome is likely to be a combined financial market and dollar crisis for America, taking down its Western epigones as well. China has protected herself by cornering the market for physical gold and secretly accumulating as much as 20,000-30,000 tonnes in national reserves. If the dollar fails, which without a radical change in monetary policy it is set to do, with its gold-backing China expects to not only survive but be able to consolidate Taiwan into its territory with little or no opposition. Introduction On the one hand we have America and on the other we have China. As civilisations, America is discarding its moral values and social structures while China is determined to stick with its Confucian and Marxist roots. America is inclined to recognise no other civilisations as being civilised, while China’s leadership has seen America’s version and is rejecting it. Both forms of civilisation are being insular with respect to the other, and their need to peacefully cooperate in a multipolar world is increasingly hampered. Understanding another nation’s point of view is essential for peaceful harmony. This truism has been ignored by not just America, but by the Western alliance under American coercion. The Federal Government and its agencies are pursuing a propaganda effort against China’s exports and technology, while the average American appears less troubled. Perhaps we can put this down to a nation based on immigrants having a more cosmopolitan psyche than its predominantly Anglo-Saxon establishment. In Europe, it sometimes appears to be the other way round, with the politicians more prepared to tolerate China than their US counterparts. But then geography is involved, and the silk roads do not involve America, while rail links between China and Western Europe work efficiently, delivering vital trade between them. Economic interdependency is rarely considered. Nor are the potential consequences of diverging economic and monetary policies. While China has been squeezing domestic credit, the West has been issuing currency and credit like drunken sailors on shore leave. Being starved of extra credit, China’s economy has been deliberately stalled, and there is a real or imagined crisis developing in its property markets. Only now, it has become apparent that the West’s major economies are running into troubles of their own. Economic destabilisation heightens the risk of conflict, and perhaps the timing of the build-up of tensions in the South China Sea and over Taiwan is not accidental. On Wall Street there is an air of complacency, with the US investment community led by the big banks ignoring the developing risks of this dysfunction. In the context of deteriorating relations between China and America and with China’s growing contempt for US political resolve, Taiwan is becoming extremely important geopolitically. China’s plans for Taiwan Taiwan is in the world’s geopolitical crosshairs with President Xi insisting it returns to China. The West, which has failed to protect Taiwan from China’s claims of sovereignty in the past, thereby endorsing them, is only now belatedly coming to its aid with a new Pacific strategy. But the signals already sent to the Chinese are that the Western alliance is too divided, too weak to prevent a Chinese takeover. This surely is the reasoning behind China’s attempts to provoke an attack on its air force by invading Taiwan’s airspace. And all the West can do is indulge in finger-wagging by sailing aircraft carriers through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan matters, being the source of two-thirds of the world supply of microchips. Faced with a pusillanimous west, this fact hands great power to China — which with Taiwan corners the market. Furthermore, the big Wall Street banks are salivating over the prospects of participating in China’s $45 trillion financial services market and are preparing for it. China has thereby ensured the US banking system has too much invested to support the US administration in any escalation of the Taiwan issue. The actual timing of China’s escalation of the Taiwan issue appears related to the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal. That being so, the posturing between China and the Western Alliance has just begun. There are four possible outcomes: China backs off and the tension subsides, America and the Western Alliance back off and China gets Taiwan, there is a negotiated settlement, or a military war against China ensues. In this context it is important to understand the civilisation issue, which increasingly divides China and America. There is little doubt that the hitherto normal relationship between America and China was disrupted by President Trump becoming nationalistic. His “make America great again” policy was a declaration of a trade war. That was accompanied by a political attack on Hong Kong, which provoked China into taking Hong Kong under direct mainland control. There followed a technology war, leading to the arrest of the daughter of Huawei’s founder in Canada. There appears to be little change in President Biden’s policy against China. Now that his administration has bedded in, China is beginning to test it over Taiwan. To give it context, we should understand the Chinese culture and why the state is so defensive of it, and how the leadership views America and its weaknesses. For that is what is behind its economic divergence from the West. China’s changing political culture Since becoming President, Xi has reformed China’s state machinery. After assuming power in 2012, he needed to clear out the corrupt and vested interests of the previous regime. He instigated Operation Fox Hunt against corrupt officials, who, it was estimated, had salted away the equivalent of over a trillion dollars abroad. By 2015 over 180 people had been returned to China from more than 40 countries. Former security chief Zhou Yongkang and former vice security minister Sun Lijun ended up in prison and Hu Jintao’s powerful Communist Youth League faction was marginalised. By dealing ruthlessly with corrupt officials Xi got rid of the vested interests that would have potentially undermined him. He consolidated both his public support and his iron grip on the Communist Party for the decade ahead. His public approval ratings remain extraordinarily high to this day. On the economic front Xi faced major challenges. Having become the world’s manufacturer, a sharp wealth divide opened between China’s concentrated manufacturing centres and rural China. Some 600 million people are still subsisting on a monthly income of less than 1,000 yuan ($156) a month. A rapidly increasing urban population has been denuding the rural economy of human resources and undermining the family culture. The wealth disparity between city and country has become an important political issue, which is why as well as refocusing resources towards agriculture Xi has clamped down on super-rich entrepreneurs and their record-breaking IPOs. In his Common Prosperity policy, Xi declared that he was not prepared to let the gap between rich and poor widen, and that common prosperity was not just an economic issue but “a major political issue related to the party’s governing foundations”. Following decades of communism under Mao, after China’s initial recovery and development Xi is now clamping down on unfettered capitalism. He and his advisers have observed the disintegration of family values in America and the rise of individualism at the expense of family life; and with popular culture how these trends are being adopted by China’s youth. The state has now shut down western-style social media, and erased celebrity culture. The social impact of cultural change is often overlooked, but it is at the forefront of China’s policy-makers’ consideration. For millennia, a state-controlled Chinese civilisation endured. Despite the Cultural Revolution, the post-war Mao Zedong years failed to erase it. Never sympathetic to free markets, statist thoughts have turned inwardly to Confucius and Marx to escape the obvious failings of American capitalism and its decline from familial values to individualism and rampant speculation. This is what Xi reflects in his presidency. His chief adviser, his éminence grise, is Wang Huning who operates in the political shadows. From all accounts, Wang is extremely clever, speaks French and English, spent a year in America and is a deep thinker who, having examined them, has rejected western values in favour of Chinese tradition. NS Lyons, an analyst and writer living in Washington, DC, has written an interesting article about Wang, published on Palladium Magazine — it is well worth reading. As we saw with the UK’s temporary éminence grise, Dominic Cummings, the power to influence possessed by such a person is considerable, but always in a statist context. The economics of free markets are not involved, except as a source of revenue to fund statist ambitions. The result is an assumption, an ignorance of economic affairs concealed by an automatic acceptance of the status quo. This is Wang’s weak point, and insofar as Xi relies on his advice, it is the President’s as well. Wang appears to be promoting a Confucian/Marxist hybrid civilisation which is intended to unify China’s many ethnic groups in a government-set culture, reverting to a morality of yesteryear. Comparing China’s future with that of American democracy and its moral degradation, the approach is understandable and enjoys popular support. But the consequences are that the state is drifting backwards towards its Marxist roots. The central command over the economy is exemplified in energy policy: power entities have been instructed to keep factories running without power outages, irrespective of coal and natural gas costs. In fact, the management of the economy was never relinquished by the state, which is now redoubling its efforts to retain control over economic outcomes. All one can say is that so far, the Chinese appear to have made considerably less of a mess managing their economy and currency compared with America’s Federal Government and its central bank. The political consequences are also important. By stemming the tide of Western moral decadence in her own territory China is insulating herself from the rest of the American-dominated world. This is being bolstered by steps to shift the emphasis from the export trade towards domestic consumption to improve living standards. In the process China will become more of an economic fortress, mainly interested in Africa and the Americas as sources of raw materials and commodities rather than as export markets to be fostered. China’s internationalism of the last four decades is increasingly redirected and confined to the Eurasian continent over which she exercises greater degrees of political and economic control. Which brings us back to the issues of Taiwan and the South China Sea, which China sees as consolidating her rightful political and cultural borders. However, the increasing autarky of both China and America is making the Taiwan issue more difficult to resolve peacefully. And we must also consider the opposing directions of drift for their two economies, which could decide the outcome. The US’s economic condition and outlook There is a mistaken assumption that the US’s economic troubles relate solely to the consequences of the covid lockdowns. Certainly, the Fed timed its funds rate cut to the zero bound and its current and unprecedented rate of quantitative easing of $120bn every month to March 2020, when lockdowns in Europe and the UK commenced. And it was becoming clear, despite President Trump’s prevarication, that the US would follow. But that ignores developments which preceded covid. Probably due to earlier tapering of QE in 2019, financial markets signalled a developing slump, with the S&P 500 falling 35% in 23 trading sessions to mid-March 2020 — eerily replicating the Wall Street Crash between end-September and late October 1929. It took the reduction of the Fed funds rate to the zero bound, and $120bn of monthly QE feeding into pension funds and insurance companies to turn markets higher. The yield on 10-year US Treasuries fell to 0.5% and equities markets soared on the back of a new basis of relative valuation. After the repo blow-up in September 2019, it became clear that bank balance sheets were too constrained to extend additional bank credit, and conventionally, that might have marked the turn of the bank credit cycle, which was why the comparison with late-1929 was so apt. Furthermore, the banks became less interested in extending credit to Main Street than to Wall Street after financial markets stabilised. The recovery in equities and their move into new high ground is simply asset inflation. Speculators have been quick to add to the Fed’s QE liquidity by drawing on bank and shadow bank credit to play the game. Figure 1 shows how margin loans have nearly doubled as the bull market in equities proceeded from late-March 2020. Never has so much leverage been seen in US securities markets. During covid lockdowns, beyond pure survival few in industry made judgements about the future. It was commonly assumed that when lockdowns ceased business would return to normal. But this made no allowance for the passage of time and the evolution of consumer needs and wants. Eighteen months later, we find that supply chains are still wrongfooted, disrupted by covid shutdowns and not supplying newly needed goods. Consumer demand patterns are not where they left off — they have radically changed. Buoyancy in the US economy is now proving short-lived. The flood of initial spending following lockdowns has receded and different factors are now at play. Supply bottlenecks due to lack of components, transport, and labour are forcing up prices at a pace not reflected in official statistics. In effect, GDP is insufficiently deflated by price rises on the high street to give a reasonable estimate of real GDP. With prices probably rising at over 15% annualised (Shadowstats.com estimated 13.5% three months ago and pressures on rising prices have increased significantly since) the US economy is in a slump which is beginning to replicate that of ninety years ago. The difference is that in 1930-33 the dollar was on a gold coin standard increasing its purchasing power as bank credit was withdrawn, while today it is pure fiat and declining at an increasing pace. Rising prices across the board are another way of saying that the currency’s purchasing power is declining, which given the Fed’s monetary policies of recent years is not surprising. Figure 2 shows the impact of the Fed’s monetary policy on commodity prices, which reflects the dollar’s weakness as a medium of exchange. Given that it takes anything between a few weeks and six months for energy and commodity prices to work through to consumer prices, the recent spurt in commodity prices strongly suggests that consumer prices are going to continue to rise into next year. Yet, only now are the Fed and other central banks beginning to accept that rising prices are not going to be as temporary as they first hoped. This is because it is not prices rising, but the dollar’s purchasing power falling. When they fully realise it, foreign holders of dollars, totalling $33 trillion held in securities, short-term instruments, and bank deposits will require higher interest compensation to persuade them to continue holding dollars. And this is where a conflicting problem arises. A rise in interest rates sufficient to compensate foreign holders of dollars for the currency’s loss of purchasing power will undermine the values of their US stock holdings, totalling $14 trillion, of which $12 trillion is held by private sector foreign investors. Furthermore, a further $12.5 trillion of foreign private sector funds are invested in long-term bonds which will also decline in value. Higher interest rates will certainly trigger private sector selling of these assets across the board. The fate of $6.6 trillion of foreign official holdings of long-term securities will be partly political, demonstrated by the most recent Treasury TIC figures which showed China selling $21bn of US Treasuries, and Japan and the UK buying $39bn between them. This is strongly suggestive of swap lines being drawn down to support the US Treasury bond market, while presumably the US, either through the Treasury, the Exchange Stabilisation Fund, or the Fed itself has bought JGBs and gilts as the quid pro quo. It is worth noting this point because it shows how low bond yields are perpetuated by cooperation between major central banks – along with the attendant monetary inflation. That being the case, private sector holders are misled by price stability while bonds are being wildly overvalued. Another way of looking at it is that if John Williams at Shadowstats is right about inflation statistics, then US Treasuries should be yielding as much as 10% along the whole yield curve. Perhaps the recent rise in the 10-year US Treasury yield in Figure 2 is indicating the start of the process of this discovery for foreign and domestic investors alike. The chart shows that once the 1.75% level is overcome, there is considerable upside in the yield, with a golden cross forming under the spot value. If yields rise from here, it will not be long before equity markets take note and enter a full-blown bear market. The first reaction from the Fed to these events will almost certainly be to claim that falling equities are a leading economic indicator, suggesting the economy faces a post-covid recession. Interest rates cannot be eased further, but QE can be stepped up to cap bond yields and encourage pension funds and insurance corporations to increase their investments. This would be a U-turn from the projected policy of reducing QE due to inflation concerns. But at that point the neo-Keynesian argument can be expected to claim that the developing recession more than negates prospective inflation concerns. Facing the same dynamics, the other leading central banks are certain to fall in line with the Fed’s new policy. But as John Law found in a similar situation in France in 1720, rigging a failing stock market (in his case the Mississippi venture) by currency and credit expansion ultimately fails and undermines the currency. Law destroyed the French economy, contrasting with the British South Sea Bubble, where the Bank of England was not involved and did not deploy its currency to ramp markets. Today, it appears that Law’s experiment is about to be repeated on a grander scale by the issuer of the world’s reserve currency. The other major western central banks will follow suite. The whole fiat money system is at risk of being driven into a similar failure as that which faced the French livre. So, where would that leave China? China’s economic and monetary outlook As noted above, China has followed a different monetary path from that of the Fed for some time — most pointedly since March 2020. Consequently, the yuan has risen against the dollar since then, illustrated in Figure 4. After some initial uncertainty, the yuan began to rise against the dollar and is now about 10% up on the late-March 2020 level. This is not significant yet, because the dollar’s trade-weighted index has fallen by a similar amount. But with China’s monetary policy of clamping down on shadow banking and excessive bank credit creation, compared against the Fed’s more expansionary monetary policies, we can expect the trend for a stronger yuan relative to the dollar to continue. In neo-Keynesian language, China is in a period of deflation, leading to falling prices relative to those measured in dollars. But that misses the point: China has been careful not to encourage speculation in financial assets, reflected in relative stock market performances, shown in Figure 5. While the Fed has been inflating stock prices through interest rate and monetary policies, the Chinese have discouraged speculation. The result is that financial assets in China should be less vulnerable to a general market downturn. It has been a deliberate policy to protect the Chinese economy from 2014 onwards, after the PLA’s chief strategist, Major-General Qiao Liang convinced Beijing that permitting unfettered speculation would leave markets vulnerable to a pump-and-dump attack by America. To the Chinese, excessive financial speculation aided and abetted by the Fed must look like a cover for underlying economic failure. Every thread of their analysis must point to economic disintegration from which China must protect herself. Rates of credit expansion must be restricted, and the yuan be permitted to rise on the foreign exchanges. The change in policy emphasis from export markets towards increasing domestic consumption should be accelerated. In any event, China is the world’s dominant manufacturer, so she has a good degree of control over prices in international trade for consumer goods anyway. The prices of imported commodities and raw materials matter more today and rising dollar prices for commodities and energy can be countered by a higher exchange rate for the yuan. The state’s policy of least risk is to quietly divorce the Chinese economy from the dollar’s influence. In switching some of its trade into the yuan and other currencies, it has been doing this since the Lehman failure, which was another seminal moment in Chinese thinking. The cultural analysis is that America is now destroying its own currency towards a terminal event, an outcome forecast by economics professors in China’s Marxist universities over fifty years ago. The post-Mao ride, piggybacking on American capitalistic methods, is no longer tenable. The golden backstop Like the Marxist professors in the universities, China’s thinkers, such as Wang Huning and President Xi himself, always believed America to be politically and morally rudderless and would destroy itself. Presumably the election of an unpredictable Trump followed by a President Biden who appears to be in a geriatric decline is seen in Beijing as evidence that American society is indeed rudderless and imploding. It was against this likely event that in 1983 far-sighted Chinese strategists began to accumulate gold and to corner the word market for bullion. It would have been obvious to them that one day, dancing with the capitalist devils would become too dangerous and China’s future would have to be secured at the outset long before a capitalist collapse. Accordingly, the Regulations on the Control of Gold and Silver were promulgated on 15 June that year, appointing the People’s Bank (PBOC) with sole responsibility for managing China’s gold and silver while private ownership remained banned. The PBOC then began to acquire gold from foreign markets, a task made easier by the 1980-2002 bear market. Meanwhile, the government threw substantial resources into developing gold mining, and became the largest gold producer in the world by a substantial margin, overtaking South Africa, Russia, and the United States. State owned refineries took in doré from abroad, adding to the accumulation. It was only after the PBOC had accumulated sufficient bullion from imports and domestic production that she set up the Shanghai Gold Exchange in 2002 and permitted Chinese citizens to acquire gold. The government even ran advertising campaigns encouraging the purchase of gold, and since then, over 19,000 tonnes have been delivered into private sector ownership from the SGE’s vaults. Together with the total ban on exports of Chinese refined gold, the pre-2002 ban on private ownership while the state acquired sufficient bullion for its purposes, coupled with the subsequent encouragement to the public to do the same, China clearly regarded gold as her most important strategic asset. It has still not shown its hand, but given the likely amounts involved, to do so would risk destabilising the dollar-centric fiat currency world. Until it happens, we should assume that the 20,000-30,000 tonnes likely to have been accumulated in various state accounts since 1983 is an insurance policy against the failure of American capitalism and the world’s reserve currency. This brings us back to the Taiwan question. For China, the re-absorption of Taiwan may become a simpler matter when the capitalistic Americans are economically at their weakest and the dollar is collapsing. Taiwan itself might face up to this reality. A few steps to push America on its way may be tempting, such as selling down their holdings of US Treasuries (already in process) or disclosing a significantly higher level of gold reserves. The latter may wait until a dollar crisis really develops, which is now surely only a matter of a little time. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 24th, 2021

AT&T Business CEO Anne Chow won"t back down to Asian hate, and she"s urging other leaders to stand firm in their own convictions

There's a difference between equality and equity, and understanding that is key for leaders looking to build successful teams, Chow told Insider. Samantha Lee/Insider Anne Chow, the CEO of AT&T Business, told Insider that the number of women in Fortune 500 CEO positions was "unacceptable." AT&T Business Anne Chow, the CEO of AT&T Business, has faced prejudice and bias throughout her career. She's using her platform to speak out against Asian hate and get more women of color in leadership. In an Equity Talk, Chow shares her advice for the next generation of CEOs. As the CEO of the business arm of the telecommunications giant AT&T, Anne Chow is often insulated from the outside world by a league of assistants. But that doesn't mean she's immune to racism, sexism, or prejudice. In her ascension to the coveted CEO seat, she's been talked over in meetings and faced doubts about her leadership and public-speaking abilities. The hardest part of her career, she said, wasn't the sacrifice the work called for. Instead, it was soldiering on through implicit and explicit bias from colleagues."I think there's an assumption that because I'm a CEO, I don't run into any of these problems," Chow told Insider. "It's so not true."A Cornell-educated engineer turned business executive, Chow continues to endure such microaggressions as remarks about how "articulate" and "good at public speaking" she is. People still ask her, "Where are you really from?""I'll get those until the day I die," Chow, who is AT&T's first woman of color to serve as a CEO, said. "I have always had to be conscious about managing people's perception of me."Her history dealing with bias has fueled an insatiable desire to help other professionals from marginalized backgrounds. Since taking the helm of her company in 2019, Chow has put AT&T on course to increase the representation of women and people of color in leadership positions. When she started, women made up 36% of all leaders, and people of color made up 39%. Women now make up just under 40% of all leaders, and people of color make up 41%, according to a 2020 report. Before she became CEO, Chow created a mentorship and sponsorship program for women of color at the company. Because of her, over 400 women of color have expanded their professional opportunities within the company or have been promoted as a result. During her 31-year tenure at AT&T, Chow has held several high-profile roles, including president, senior vice president, and assistant vice president. With plans to continue increasing diversity in leadership, Chow is "looking to move all of this representation forward, strategically," she said.In the latest installment of The Equity Talk, I talked to Chow about her recent condemnation of Asian hate, lessons from last year, and the wisdom she's imparting to the next generation of CEOs. Interview edited and condensed.In March, after a string of anti-Asian attacks, you penned a moving letter against Asian hate. You wrote, "What we do today will shape generations to come. It's time to listen. It's time to seek to understand. It's time to engage and take action." What moved you to speak out at that time? That piece came from my heart. I felt like I needed to write these thoughts down. As an Asian American person, I'm having all these emotions and issues go through my mind: anger and frustration. I felt I needed to represent my community.Then, as a leader, as a CEO who happens to be Asian, I realized I have this platform that can be used to increase awareness, catalyze change. That also compelled me to write it. I was nervous to put this out there. It was raw. But I have no regrets. I heard from one of my employee's daughters after I published that piece. She's 16. This girl, who was trying to work through her own identity and feeling biased against, said she found my piece relatable and inspiring. That's why I wrote the piece, because I don't want anybody to have to think they're alone in what they're experiencing.Tell me about your greatest accomplishment in diversity, equity, and inclusion. One of the things I'm most proud of creating is the Women of Color program. I started noticing a trend both inside my company and outside of my company. Women were making notable progress in the workforce. But women of color were not. Then, LinkedIn and McKinsey came out with their Women in the Workplace report in 2016. So finally, when those reports started coming out, it had the data that proved exactly what I was observing. It says something like, "When a company focuses on women only, women of color are left behind." So I went to our chief diversity officer and I said, "We have to do something." We got together and looked over the research and pulled together a focus group of women of color - Black, Latina, Asian, Native American. Those sessions were cathartic. There was so much commonality in the stories. It was a moment of realizing we had to do something about the prejudice and bias women of color face.We developed a Women of Color initiative back in 2017. We've had some 400 women and their supervisors participate. We work with supervisors on what it means to support a woman of color in her profession. For me, I think it's one of the greatest legacies that I will leave behind at this company. How were you personally impacted by the tumultuous year of 2020? In 2020, with the trigger points of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, I, like so many others, wanted to figure out how to lean in and do something. I gathered a group of my Black leaders that I trusted to tell me the truth. I had several discussions on what I could do. One idea was leading through authentic communication. So we created this series called "Candid Conversations."We've talked about the Black professional experience. We've talked about racial trauma. I had a fireside chat with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi on how to be an anti-racist. We've had conversations with the LGBTQ+ community, the Asian community, the Latino and Hispanic communities, and conversations around parenting. We need to have compelling, candid conversations. The next one we are doing is going to be with law enforcement. Because this whole thing about defunding the police and the polarization between Black and blue is just not right. We have a deep-rooted commitment to public safety and to serving and enabling law enforcement as our customers. So you know, we're going to tackle that conversation because not only is law enforcement a constituency to us as a business, it's important to us in general, right? Whether you're talking to the FBI, the police, the military, they're important. So that's going to be our next conversation. I want normalize the ability to have a conversation in a safe environment. What's your advice for the next generation of corporate executives? I'd say that you should surround yourself with as much difference from you as possible and listen more than you speak. You also have to really ensure that you have a clear articulation of your company values and your company mission. Because this shouldn't and this cannot be a side thing. It can't feel like diversity is compliance. My hope is that you know, triggered by the pandemic and this reckoning, there's this realization that change doesn't just happen in the public sector. It has to happen in the private sector, too. Our future as a country is diverse. So the question becomes, do we lean into it and do we harness it as an advantage for our organizations and our communities? Or do we not? Embracing diversity is a business imperative to your workforce, your customers, and your partners. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 20th, 2021

Why Whitney Isn’t Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I’m Not Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense 1) In yesterday’s e-mail, I shared Facebook’s (FB) defense to the […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I'm Not Persuaded By Facebook's Defense 1) In yesterday's e-mail, I shared Facebook's (FB) defense to the latest charges of bad behavior by whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen, as articulated by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a friend who knows the company well. My take: I'm not buying what they're selling... Zuckerberg's post is laughably bad. In the face of Haugen's compelling testimony and her release of thousands of pages of damning internal company documents – which has led to overwhelming, bipartisan criticism – Zuckerberg's 16-paragraph, 1,316-word post doesn't once acknowledge any problem, much less any contrition, much less any indication that he and his company might need to do even a few things differently. His tone deafness is matched only by his arrogance. My friend, on the other hand, at least acknowledges that "there is a huge problem," but says, "I disagree Facebook is blind to it." (Quick correction: I misquoted him yesterday here: "This extends to idiots on Facebook's board as well by the way." Here's what he wrote: "I have no opinion on FB's board – I was referring to board members at other companies who try to tell the CEO how to run a company when they have no idea what is really happening. That is why a board's role is to hire and fire the CEO, not to run the company.") In most of his response, however, he criticizes Haugen, saying that she: ... had no direct reports, never met a senior executive at Facebook, started with extreme bias, and then only found/extracted information that confirmed it. She never worked in the areas she is "so knowledgeable about" – like teens – so has no idea what Facebook is trying to do... ... she is basically as knowledgeable as a tabloid – at best. It's like the janitor telling Zuckerberg how to run Facebook... She's an idiot looking for five minutes of fame. Industry veterans are cringing. I couldn't disagree more. First, Haugen was hardly the "janitor." She's a Harvard Business School graduate with more than 10 years of experience in the social media sector, nearly two years of which was at Facebook (from 2019 to 2021 – see her LinkedIn profile) – plenty of time to see what was going on. As for the argument that she wasn't a C-suite executive and therefore wasn't in the loop for high-level decisions, I'd argue the opposite... She was perfectly positioned to be a whistleblower both because of the group she was in – the Civic Integrity unit, which was responsible for preventing the spread of election misinformation and addressing other bad behavior – as well as her level: as a Product Manager, she was senior enough to see what was really happening, but not so high up that she wouldn't know the details. Moreover, Haugen's testimony, to both 60 Minutes and Congress, was compelling. I've been watching 60 Minutes since I was a kid in the 1970s, and she was one of the most impressive people I've ever seen on the show. And my opinion is widely shared: Senators on both sides of the aisle praised her, as did Mike Isaac of the New York Times, who wrote: We're moving into hour three of Ms. Haugen's testimony and she hasn't shown any signs of flagging. Confident, poised, and accurate, for my money she is one of the most impressive critics of Facebook I've seen appear on Capitol Hill. Lastly, Haugen's testimony is corroborated by: a) thousands of pages of internal company documents she copied... b) the long, sordid history of Zuckerberg and Facebook, dating back to the very founding of this company (for more on this, read this shocking article: How Facebook Was Founded) – also, note that my friend wrote that Haugen "said nothing we all didn't already know"... and c) many other former company insiders. For example, here's an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times by Roddy Lindsay, a former Facebook data scientist: I Designed Algorithms at Facebook. Here's How to Regulate Them. Excerpt: Washington was entranced Tuesday by the revelations from Frances Haugen, the Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower. But time and again, the public has seen high-profile congressional hearings into the company followed by inaction. For those of us who work at the intersection of technology and policy, there's little cause for optimism that Washington will turn this latest outrage into legislative action. Even more damning are the comments of Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former head of security at Facebook: Brazen Is the Order of the Day at Facebook. Excerpt: I think the overall theme of the leaked documents and the Wall Street Journal series is that since 2016 Facebook has built teams of hundreds of data scientists, social scientists and investigators to study the negative effects of the company's products. Unfortunately, it looks like the motivational structure around how products are built, measured and adjusted has not changed to account for the evidence that some Facebook products can have a negative impact on users' well-being, leading to a restive group of employees who are willing to leak or quit when the problems they work on aren't appropriately addressed. I agree with Stamos' recommendation: I think Zuckerberg is going to need to step down as CEO if these problems are going to be solved. Having a company led by the founder has a lot of benefits, but one of the big problems is that it makes it close to impossible to significantly change the corporate culture. It's not just Zuckerberg; the top ranks of Facebook are full of people who have been there for a dozen years. They were part of making key decisions and supporting key cultural touchstones that might have been appropriate when Facebook was a scrappy upstart but that must be abandoned as a global juggernaut. It is really hard for individuals to recognize when it is time to change their minds, and I think it would be better if the people setting the goals for the company were changed for this new era of the company, starting with Zuckerberg. With new leadership, you could see the company adopting safety countermetrics on the same level as engagement and satisfaction metrics, and building a product management culture where product teams are not only celebrated for their success in the marketplace but held accountable for the downstream effects of their decisions. Zuckerberg is, of course, never going to step down voluntarily, and given that he controls 58% of the voting shares, how could he ever be removed? Here's how: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") – which, thanks to Haugen, is now investigating Facebook for misleading investors – could force him out. I don't think it's likely – but it's not impossible. I think there's a 25% chance that Zuckerberg is no longer CEO within two years... Responses To My Letter To Sheryl Sandberg 2) I received huge amounts of feedback in response to my open letter to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Below is some of it, with my responses in some cases... "Instead of lambasting Sheryl and Mark (unfairly in my eyes), you should have sent your letter to Congress. Congress (and then the courts) has full responsibility for regulating our communication systems. All best (& I love reading your newsletter – I really do & enjoy pics also)." – Paul B. My reply: Thanks for your feedback, Paul. In fact, I sent my letter to a dozen members I know in the House and Senate, one of whom replied: "Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for sharing. I hope it is read." Another replied: "A powerfully written letter. I agree with every word of it, although I doubt that Facebook will find the wisdom to follow your advice. I am going to sign up for your newsletter "I agree with your assessment of Facebook (and your letter to Sheryl Sandberg), but your recommendation for them to rehire Haugen will never happen. She is considered a traitor by Facebook and they will never rehire a traitor. Based on Zuckerberg's reply, I'm skeptical that they are willing to address and fix the issues until the government force them to do so." – Sid My reply: I agree. "I'm so glad you compared them to the Sacklers. I hope this wakes them up." – Alex B. [But another reader disagreed...] "Good email but would recommend not equating people with Sacklers in the future unless they are literally killing people by knowingly promoting something dangerous (like Oxycontin). To me, the Sacklers fall into a group of historical miscreants that can only be used narrowly for an analogy – otherwise, it's overkill and can dilute from your point. Sandberg may read your email and dismiss it, saying to herself, 'We are not the Sacklers.' You could also substitute Hitler for the Sacklers and you can see my point. I'd only use Hitler as an analogy for a leader who is mass killing people, like Pol Pot. My two cents. Always enjoy your daily email!" – Bruce Z. My reply: Hi Bruce, to be clear, I didn't say they currently are equivalent to the Sacklers, but rather they "are on a trajectory to have legacies that rival the Sacklers." To understand why I say this, read the following articles: Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar Sri Lanka: Facebook apologizes for role in 2018 anti-Muslim riots Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close to a Genocide NGO: Facebook approved ads inciting violence in N Ireland Bangladesh: Fake news on Facebook fuels communal violence When Social Media Fuels Gang Violence Civil rights leaders condemn Zuckerberg, Facebook for fueling racial hatred and violence Domestic violence and Facebook: harassment takes new forms in the social media age "I really do not understand what the fuss is about. If I hear or see something on radio or TV that I find to be dangerous or offensive I turn the channel. Nobody is forced to use Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat or any of the other social media platforms. Just delete the apps. If you don't want your children to use them, then delete them from their phones. Take some personal or parental responsibility. I truly do not want someone else deciding what I can listen to or watch. Let me decide." – T. H. My reply: Hi T.H., in a perfect, rational world, I'd agree with you. But in the real, messy world, I can't. "I have found it very hard to get anyone who works at Facebook to engage openly about anything at the company, even in a social/casual off the record context. I can't think of another company whose employees are so unwilling to speak off the record. It makes me wonder if they really know deep down how bad what they are doing is." – B.B. "Thank you Whitney for sharing a BIG story of our time. I agree with some of the defensive remarks – the issue of 'bad actors,' misinformation, and hate speech on social media is not unique to FB, but FB is certainly guilty of providing a platform that has allowed all of the above to be promoted on its platform. "It took the World Jewish Congress five years of complaining to FB to finally get them via Sheryl Sandberg to put in more strict algorithms regarding Holocaust denial and misinformation on FB – five years of effort! Now, FB users are directed to factual information when they make up falsehoods about it. But this only pertains to the U.S. and U.K., so the fight continues with FB to get them to implement this in Arabic and other languages and countries. This is incredibly frustrating and hurtful. "Why are the Mullahs in Iran permitted to use Twitter (TWTR) to spread Islamist and hate speech, for example? So as much as I dislike government interference into business practices, I do see a necessity given the extent of damage being done. "Thanks for all you do to share carefully researched information that provide opportunities to empower our lives." – Andrea L. "I spent 15 years in the Valley, much of it in the same orbits as the leadership at Facebook (I'm being vague purposefully). I actually can't say for sure they are well-intentioned." – Matty G. "Thanks Whitney on behalf of the multitudes who have truly mixed feelings about Facebook. We're thrilled about the connections we relish with wonderful people, but deplore the damage it has done to our society and body politic." – Andrew S. "I'm on board with [your] evaluation and solution 100%. Let's hope they both have the courage to right the ship. The country that I love and have fought for is losing its grip. Let's show some respect. Thank you very much." – Ken J., former Ranger "Zuck and the rest knew what they were doing. They were complicit in all of it in order to rake in ad revenue. Wall Street Capitalism only measures 'good' in terms of money. I think you are right: they will do a PR apology tour and that's all." – Grant P. "Isn't Zuck a bit too narcissistic to care? The company was born in betrayal. Ironic that such a complete asocial person is in charge of the way we socialize in this country. I think he'll do anything he can get away with and is too arrogant to think there will be consequences." – Leigh S. "Hello Whitney... I am one of those folks who believes when someone does something good, it should be recognized. You and I are very different in our perspectives about most subjects. I read your letter to Facebook just a few minutes ago. "Your letter to the COO was simply and completely what they needed to hear. Although I still have a FB account, I have not actively used FB in over three years. It seemed the vitriol just got worse and worse, regardless of the subject matter, but especially politically. I decided I would not be a part of that, as it can consume you, if you allow it to take up your time. You have to realize that every person has a viewpoint, and it is not likely you will be successful in changing someone's mind, although it does happen on an infrequent basis. "I commend you for reaching out to them, as I am sure others will do. I have a concern that the size of this organization will make government intervention likely. I am not a fan of big government, big brother, as it were, but this situation, if they do not turn it around on their own, government may be the only answer. All the best." – Larry F. "You said everything I was thinking, but ever so much better. I will hope the letter is taken to heart and sweeping changes made so FB can continue to be the great business that it COULD be but has failed so badly to be." – Stacey G "I think you nailed it, my friend! Well, reasoned and direct, to the point, your letter will hopefully bring the FB team and Ms. Haugen together again to make a better, stronger company that serves our social interactions in an honest and forthright manner." – Chuck M. "After reading Zuckerberg's lengthy response I am more convinced that he and the FB team know exactly what they are doing and the harm they are causing. A CEO that wants to be regulated rather than taking the necessary steps to clean up their business strategies is only creating cover for themselves. Unfortunately FB is not only damaging to young girls but to our society as a whole. Through their technology and algorithms they easily manipulate the masses of uniformed customers to be persuaded in any direction they chose. Unfortunately this is like leading blind sheep to slaughter. Yes FB needs to be regulated but not in a way Zuckerberg would approve of. He knows Congress isn't capable of passing any type of regulation to make FB clean up its act and this gives him plenty of cover to continue their unethical business practices." – David L. Other Reader Feedback 3) Lastly, here is one reader's response to Zuckerberg's post: Here are some questions that came to mind when I read Zuckerberg's message: He wrote: Many of the claims don't make any sense. My reply: Which ones don't make any sense? And which ones do make sense? He wrote: If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? My reply: Because you need to do the research to maximize 'engagement.' This is clearly consistent with profit maximization. He wrote: If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space – even ones larger than us? My reply: Is this demonstrably true? What companies in your space are larger? He wrote: If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? My reply: What is this "industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting?" Where can I learn more about these standards? If FB transparency standard is so high, then where are the reports of your research? He wrote: And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the U.S. while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? My reply: Which countries are not becoming more polarized? Excluding authoritarian regimes, are there any? Just saying things doesn't make them true – though if we've learned anything in recent years, it's that saying things over and over again can convince large numbers of people that they are true. Prime examples – claiming rampant election irregularities when none exist; vaccines are the government's plots to control the population; pizza-gate. – Randy J. Thank you, as always, to my readers for sharing their insightful and provocative thoughts! Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. P.P.S. My colleague Enrique Abeyta is looking to hire a junior analyst to help him launch his upcoming newsletter, Empire Elite Crypto, later this fall. If you geek out on cryptos and enjoy writing, we'd like to hear from you. Send us your résumé and a one-page write-up of your favorite crypto investment idea right here. Updated on Oct 7, 2021, 2:11 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 7th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Rise of media-savvy congressman backing Biden

And Japan has a new prime minister. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:How a freshman congressman is winning friends and influencing enemies in Biden's WashingtonJapan has a new prime minister8 things that stand out from the Pete Buttigieg documentaryWith Phil Rosen. Rep. Jake Auchincloss has become one of the Biden administration's staunchest allies in Congress. Samuel Corum/Getty Images ​​1. INSIDER PROFILE: Rep. Jake Auchincloss' ascent is a story about a media-savvy millennial politician with media-savvy handlers. The Massachusetts Democrat, a Marine veteran, racked up more than 30 TV appearances in August going to the mat for President Joe Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal.Here's a deeper look at his strategy and how the White House has responded:Auchincloss and his staffers knew there were rare moments to break through: His communications staffers have learned from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg's go-everywhere strategy. (Matt Corridoni, Auchincloss' communications director, is a former Buttigieg political aide.)The freshman congressman says his background is key: "I'm a veteran of the war in Afghanistan," Auchincloss told Insider. "I am a millennial. I felt like I could speak to this issue not just as somebody who had fought in the war but also as somebody who had a special responsibility to learn its lessons and to internalize them for the next generation of policymakers."Defending the president has its perks: Auchincloss was looped into policy issues and spoke with the White House's legislative affairs and national security teams, key access for someone just starting out his career in Washington. Also, Doug Emhoff was recently dispatched to Auchincloss' district.While he defended the administration's policy, Auchincloss has questions too: "I think the special focus should be paid to the decision to hand over Bagram air base to Afghans - and the consequences that that might have for counterterrorism," he said. Republicans have hammered the White House and the Pentagon over the decision to turn over what was once the core of the US presence in Afghanistan.Read more about how this freshman congressman is winning friends and influencing enemies in Biden's Washington.2. Democrats continue to tussle over Biden's agenda: Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington made clear Sunday that progressive lawmakers found Sen. Joe Manchin's offer of $1.5 trillion for a social-spending and climate bill unacceptable, The New York Times noted. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema too blasted her party's leadership over the weekend, saying the decision to delay a vote on the separate bipartisan infrastructure plan (a move Biden supports) "betrays the trust" of Americans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to move forward on both bills this month. Lawmakers are forced with difficult choices on how they might shrink the $3.5 trillion social-spending plan.3. Documents show how billionaires hide their wealth: Dozens of current and former world leaders, billionaires, rock stars, and government officials have stashed large amounts of money in secret offshore accounts, according to a massive journalism investigation known as the Pandora Papers that is even larger the Panama Papers exposé. Among the world leaders, King Abdullah II of Jordan spent $100 million on luxury homes in Malibu, California. The leaked documents also link Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco connected to a woman believed to be in a relationship with Putin. More on some of the biggest findings thus far.4. Supreme Court term kicks off: Justices today begin what by the end of next summer could be a term full of consequential and controversial decisions as they tackle abortion, guns, and the religious right, The Washington Post reports. There's also the possibility that Justice Stephen Breyer could retire in the face of intense pressure ahead of the midterms. And if that weren't enough, Biden's presidential commission on the Supreme Court is set to file its report next month. Here's what to expect from the nation's highest court from now until next summer. Surfers looking at oil on the beach in Huntington Beach, California. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images 5. Oil spill hits Orange County beaches: Crews are trying to limit the damage from what one official warns could become "a major environmental disaster"; 125,000 gallons of crude oil have already leaked from a California pipeline. Officials said the leak appeared to have stopped, per the Los Angeles Times. It's still unclear what caused the spill.6. Japan has a new prime minister: Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was elected in a parliamentary vote. "With his party and its coalition partner holding a majority in both houses, Kishida won by a comfortable margin," the Associated Press reports. Kishida is expected to move quickly to expand his party's power.7. Whistleblower says Facebook believes it's harming people: The former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen revealed on "60 Minutes" that she's the source who gave The Wall Street Journal thousands of pages of internal documents illustrating the company's knowledge that its platforms could lead to harm for both its users and society at large. Haugen said Facebook addressed only 5% of hate on its platform. Among her other bombshell claims was that an internal study found Instagram contributed to eating disorders and suicidal thoughts in teenage girls. Facebook denies the research found Instagram was toxic for teenage girls.Key quote: "I have a lot of empathy for Mark, and Mark has never set out to make a hateful platform," Haugen told CBS' Scott Pelley of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "But he has allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful, polarizing content gets more distribution and more reach."8. Fauci says it's "too soon to tell" whether holiday gatherings will be OK: Dr. Anthony Fauci said on "Face the Nation" that the acceleration of COVID-19 cases in the US was slowing but it's unclear whether it'd be safe for loved ones to gather during the holiday season. In the months leading up to the holidays, Fauci warned the US against becoming "complacent" given the history of surges throughout the pandemic. More on his comments.9. Eight things that stand out from the Pete Buttigieg documentary: In one of the final scenes of the new Amazon original film "Mayor Pete," which is scheduled to premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 14, Buttigieg makes clear he hasn't given up on his dream of becoming president. Amazon is set to release it worldwide on November 12. Insider's Adam Wren, who has covered Buttigieg for years, says the documentary surprised even him. Here's what stood out, including behind-the-scenes shots as Buttigieg wrestled with ending his campaign and the blunt way aides would challenge him to get better. James Austin Johnson debuted his Joe Biden impersonation on the season-47 premiere of "SNL." NBC/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 10. Here's the deal: "SNL" has a new Biden: The new cast member James Austin Johnson made his "Saturday Night Live" debut as Biden in the season-47 cold open. The sketch parodied Biden's effort to unite Democrats on his infrastructure bill and social agenda. Watch the full sketch.Today's trivia question: Speaking of the Supreme Court, who was the first justice to serve on the high court with someone for whom they'd previously clerked? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Friday's answer: The first lady Mamie Eisenhower decorated the White House for Halloween for the first time.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

I"m a former Citi executive. The bank failed to react to the warning signs before the 2008 financial crisis, and its record on climate change shows it"s making the same mistake again.

The world is in desperate need for financial institutions to transition away from fossil fuel businesses. FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Citibank logo displayed outside the Citibank Plaza in Hong Kong Reuters Citigroup was massively bailed out by US taxpayers because it failed to manage key financial risks. The bank is exposed to huge risks of fossil fuel stranded assets. Citi's new CEO Jane Fraser must show global leadership and seize the energy transition. Tim Buckley is Director Energy Finance Studies, Australasia at IEEFA. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. See more stories on Insider's business page. In September 2007, with a mortgage crisis clearly on the horizon, Citigroup's CEO Charles Prince III gathered with his top executives to understand whether the bank - then the nation's largest - faced any risk. The consensus was no.How wrong they were. In a year's time, Lehman Brothers crashed, triggering a global financial collapse. Citigroup lost 90% of its value and 75,000 employees, and ultimately, needed US taxpayers to bail it out. Since that low point, the bank has worked hard to rehabilitate its image, but not its ability to understand and address key global financial risks.This month, Citi was named as Joint Lead Managers for Suek, Russia's largest coal miner, and owner of 17 gigawatts (GW) of coal power plants. The proceeds of this bond issue will help finance 1.6 GW of more coal power and another 28 million tonnes of new coal export port capacity per year. This deal is in direct contradiction to the Paris Agreement and the findings of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) recent Net Zero by 2050 roadmap, which couldn't be clearer, that to avoid impending climate catastrophe, there must be "no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, and no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants."It also contradicts the spirit of Citi's Commitment to Net Zero by 2050, which CEO Jane Fraser announced on her first day on the job. Following that pledge, Citi joined the Sustainable Markets Initiative Financial Services Task Force, the Mark Carney-chaired Net-Zero Finance Alliance, delivered a strengthened but still flawed coal exit policy and a $1 trillion capital deployment in low-carbon solutions pledge.What good are pledges and promises of distant future action when there is a climate emergency today?Banking on climate change Citi remains a key global climate laggard, rated by the Rainforest Action Network as the second largest financier of fossil fuels globally in the five years leading to 2020 (second only to JPMorgan Chase). The bank has financed a staggering $237 billion in total, many multiples of the nearest Chinese mega-banks.As a former Citi Managing Director, I want to see the bank succeed. But a pivotal change is overdue after two decades of ongoing market underperformance. Since my days at Citi, I've worked primarily in the energy technology space, tracking the role of global finance and evaluating stranded asset risks and climate investment opportunities. At IEEFA we have tracked 180 globally significant financial institutions with formal coal exit policies. To date in 2021 we have seen 68 new or improved coal policies - a 33% increase on the run rate in 2020, which in turn was 60% more than reported in 2019. And with the rising number of zero emission 1.5 degree Celsius pledges, we are seeing an accelerating global flight from the monumental risk of "stranded assets" in fossil fuel investments including coal, oil and gas, arctic drilling and oil sands. As Wood Mackenzie reported in August 2021, "The pool of investors that will agnostically invest in the oil and gas sector, indifferent to the energy transition, will continue to shrink."When it comes to climate, US banks lag behind European and Asian banks. But with the decisive climate leadership of President Joe Biden, and the increasingly clear climate risk guidance coming from the US Department of the Treasury and Network for Greening of the Financial System, this is Fraser's moment to break away from the pack and lead the way. Fraser must eschew the hubris of Citi's former leaders and demonstrate clarity of vision to see obvious global financial risks for what they are. A start would be making a more detailed commitment going into COP26 next month, one that rejects activities like funding giant Russian coal companies and similar projects the world will soon be forced to abandon. Citi should also commit to a clear end date beyond which the bank will not provide any financial assistance across its advisory, debt, equity and capital market services, to any company still building out greenfield oil, gas, and coal operations (including associated facilitation of rail and port infrastructure). These kinds of massive turnarounds in policy are possible. BlackRock, the world's largest financial institution, has moved at lightning speed from also being a global climate laggard in 2019. In 2021, CEO Larry Fink enthusiastically beat the drum about the magnitude of investment opportunities the changing climate entails. The firm set records on new zero emissions infrastructure, private equity in emerging climate technologies, and ESG capital raises. These records were subsequently broken as Brookfield and TPG followed suit, playing catch up to innovative global financial leaders like Macquarie Group.Citi should carefully evaluate the substance of BlackRock's pivot. The megabank can align its investments with the IEA's net-zero guidance, enhancing its risk-return profile in doing so. To stymie rapid global emissions growth, the world needs financial leadership to move away from fossil fuel legacy businesses of old and to start providing the multitude of technology solutions commercially viable today. Fraser should focus on the enormous opportunities in providing financial services to the zero emissions world leaders of tomorrow, and turn the bank's sorry past into global leadership.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021

Transcript: Hubert Joly

       The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ,… Read More The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture.        The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Hubert Joly is the man who helped turn around Best Buy when they were floundering about a decade ago. The stock has since returned 10X from when he joined as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is the author of a fascinating new book, “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.” He’s really a fascinating guy, has an amazing background, both as a consultant for McKinsey and being on a number of different boards and running a number of different companies. Everybody who’s looked at his work always put him amongst the best CEOs, top 100 this, top 30 that, really just a tremendous, tremendous track record. And I had a fascinating time speaking with him. I think if you’re at all interested in anything involving leadership or the next era of capitalism or why the old-school Neutron Jack approach to just firing everybody and cutting costs away to restore profitability no longer works, you’re going to find this to be a fascinating conversation. So, with no further ado, my interview with Hubert Joly. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: This week, my special guest is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy. He is currently the Senior Lecturer on Business at Harvard Business School. He is on the boards of directors at Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren and has been named one of the top 100 CEOs by Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 CEOs by Barron’s and one of the top 10 CEOs to work for in the U.S. by Glassdoor. Hubert Joly, welcome to Bloomberg. HUBERT JOLY, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School: Well, thank you, Barry, very much looking forward to our conversation. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s start with a little bit of your background, you’ve been the CEO of three major companies. Tell us about how that came about. Take us to the beginning or early days of your career. JOLY: Yes, Barry. I started my career with McKinsey & Company in France and then also in the U.S. Essentially, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, that, I thought, it’d be a great training ground and I ending up staying a dozen years at the firm, done a great deal and had wonderful opportunities to lead great companies. At first, I left McKinsey to lead a client that was EDS, Electronic Data Systems in France and I ended up doing a number of turnaround and transformations of companies in industry sectors that were challenged by technology. So, in videogames, in travel, and then, of course, ended up with Best Buy. And I’ve ended up working a variety of industry sectors and those specializations there and every move was a move that was based on — it was – there was somebody with whom I had developed relationship that played a critical role. And so, for example, when I left Vivendi Universal to become the CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the CEO of (inaudible), which was one of the two shareholders, had been a client of mine and where we have stayed friends. So, Barry, one of the key lessons is that try to minimize the number of people you annoy or irritate along the way and try to focus on doing a great job when you are and then I hope that God provides in the end, which is, I think, the lesson for me of my career. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to spend more time talking about your career. But I have to ask, how did you find yourself moving from France to the United States, what led to that and what was that transition like? Because every time I’m in Paris, I always end up saying to myself, God, I could live here. JOLY: Yes. Thank you for that, Barry. So, the first time I moved to the U.S. in 1985, I was with McKinsey & Company. I’d gone to school in France and there had been discussion of should I do an MBA in the U.S. and after a while, McKinsey said no, you really don’t need to do that. But if you want to spend time in the U.S., we’ll send you to one of our offices. So, I ended up in the San Francisco office, quite the years where the minors were at the top of their game, right? So, that — it’s quite fascinating. And then the last time I moved to the U.S. was in ’08, 2008, when I became the CEO of Carlson Companies. So, I moved there from Paris, France to Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I love France. I think it’s a great country. I love the U.S. What I love about the U.S. is that since Jefferson, we’ve been optimistic. It’s been the dream of a better life and it’s this optimism. Let me tell you, in France, you talk about a problem that has never been solved. People will say, well, who are you to talk about it. Nobody has been able to solve it, right. But in the U.S., if a problem has never been solved, immediately, your friends is like, this is interesting, let’s see whether we can solve it. I love this optimism in this great country and I’m now a dual citizen, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Very — really, really interesting. So, let’s talk a little bit about how one becomes a good CEO. Is it effectively on-the-job training or is it a function of your experience and ability that makes you a great leader? JOLY: Yes. There’s the myth that you’re born a leader. I think that every leader was born, of course, but none of us were born leaders and I think it’s a learning journey. And for me, it’s been — yes, I’m learning by doing, learning on the job, learning from great mentors. One thing I learned the most about — with McKinsey was watching my client’s lead and I learned so much from a number of them. Learning from colleagues, at Best Buy, I learned so much from the frontliners and some of our great executives and then our coach. So, let’s slow down here. Can we agree, Barry, that exactly 100% of the top 100 tennis players in the world have a coach. RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: I think the same is true for all of the NFL teams, all of the Champions League teams. What about us executives, right? And so, it’s interesting that now, for CEOs and senior executives have coaches much more popular. But 10 or 15 years ago, not so much. And I’ve benefited enormously, my first coach was the inimitable Marshall Goldsmith. I’ve learned a ton from him. He helped me deal with feedback and focus on getting better and asking for advice. And without Marshall, I would not be – it is infomercial before and after picture, it’s most improved. RITHOLTZ: Marshall Goldsmith was where? Was that at McKinsey or? JOLY: It was — the first time I worked with Marshall was in 2009. I had just became the CEO of Carlson Companies and my head of HR, Elizabeth Bastoni, told me, would you like to work with a coach and my first reaction was, am I doing anything wrong, is everything wrong with this? He said, no, no. I know Marshall, he helps in a great deal get better. His clients are – were, at that time, Alan Mullally of Ford and Jim Kim of the World Bank. I said, that’s cool, I want to be a member of that club. And Marshall was so helpful because when I was getting feedback, you do a 360 and you hear the goods and then you hear the other parts and my reaction initially was, what’s wrong with them, right? What are they talking about? And Marshall helped me — and the way he helped was — so, I did the 360. He gave me first all of the good things that people have said and says, spend the time to swallow this, digest this. And then the next day, he gave me the other stuff and he said, here’s the scoop, you don’t need to do anything with it, right? There’s no god that says that you need to get better at any of these things but you can — but you get to decide what you want to work on and get better at, right? And think about, so, here’s a question that we could ask, right, think about things that you’d like to get better at, right, and if you cannot think about anything, try humility, right, as a potential area. And then what Marshall made me do is talk to my team and said, thank you very much for all of the feedback you’ve given me and then based on what you said, I’m going to start to work on three things, number one, number two, number three, and I’m going to follow up with each of you to ask you for advice on how I can get better at these three things and then a few months from now, I’ll follow up to see how I’m doing. Now, believe me, Barry, first time I did this, this was excruciating pain having to admit to my team that I was not perfect. They knew it. They knew I was not perfect but having to say it out loud and then I wanted to get better at something. But this getting better at something makes it very positive. And then — so, later on, when I joined Best Buy, I repeated that signaling to every one of the executives that it was OK to want to get better at something. And so, later on, everybody at Best Buy had a coach and we were all helping out each other on getting better at our job, which is what I think you need to do. So, coaching — executive coaching plays a key role in my life. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And I recall seeing Marshall Goldsmith’s name on a book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and a quick Google search shows me that like you, he also is a professor. He teaches at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and has quite an impressive CV. But I want to stick with the concept of coaching and mentors, what did you learn at McKinsey who helped you when you were there sort of develop into the CEO that you are today? JOLY: Yes. So, there was — for me, there were two phases, Barry, at McKinsey that we serve, before the partnership and then the partnership. So, in my first say six years as an associate and then a manager, I learned a lot about problem-solving, communications, serving functional matters and so forth. So, I could say I learned a bunch of technical skills. But when I became a partner, the opportunity I got was sit down next to the CEO of the clients, watch them do their thing and listen and learn from them and that makes me — I got a great deal, right, because they were paying us and I was learning from them, right? Couldn’t get a better deal than that. And so, I will always remember, there was a client in, Jean-Marie Descarpentries was the CEO of a computer company Honeywell Bull and this is the guy who told me that the purpose of the company is not to make money, right? It’s an outcome, right? In business, you have three imperatives. You have the people imperative, which are the right teams. We have the business imperatives, which are the customers or clients and then great products and services. And then there’s a financial imperative and, of course, you have to understand that excellence on the financial imperative is the result of excellence on the business imperative, which itself is the result of excellence on the people imperative. So, it’s people, business, finance and finance is an outcome. And by the way, it’s not the ultimate goal because if you think about a company as a human organization, a bunch of people working together, they’re probably in there to create something in the world, right, and we can dig into this but that was — and believe me that was 30 years before the BRT statement of 2019 that we said we need (ph) in August the second anniversary. And so then, it was — the practical implications around this is that when you do your monthly review with your team, start with people and organization. Don’t start with financial results. If you should start with financial result, you’re going to spend your entire time on financials and you want to understand what’s driving these results whereas if you start with people and organization, you have a chance to spend time on that, then business, customers, products and then the CFO will make sure that you’ll spend enough time on the financial results. So, for me, that was a game changer and I applied this throughout my career and you could say whether it was in videogames or in travel or hospitality or in Best Buy, this focus on people first and treating profit as an outcome was a big driver performance. And this has not smoked anything illegal when I say this, Barry. As you know, the share price of Best Buy went from beyond low, it was $11. Recently, it’s been between 110 and 120. So, time spent in nine years, that’s not bad. Maybe you could have done better, Barry, but it’s OK, I think. RITHOLTZ: No. I don’t think I could have done better than 10X and PES no longer illegal in New York. So, you could smoke whatever you like. We’re going to — by the way, those three steps that you just mentioned are right from the book and we’re going to talk a little more about the book in a few minutes. But before we get to that, I have one last question to ask you which has to do with the fact that Best Buy, you mentioned it’s up 10X, it’s a publicly-traded company. Before you were at Best Buy, you are also at a giant company but it was privately held. Tell us a little bit about what that transition was like having to answer to shareholders and Wall Street. How did you manage that? Very different experience from everybody I’ve spoken with over the years. JOLY: Yes. Barry, so, I’ve worked in a public company, Best Buy. I’ve worked in a family-owned company, this was Carlson Companies. I’ve worked in a partially private equity-owned company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, one equity partner of JPMorgan with 45 different shareholders and frankly, I think it’s pretty much all the same. You have shareholders whether they are large entities like Fidelity or Wellington or it’s a private equity player or it’s a family, they have expectations and needs and, by the way, all of them are human beings, right, by the way and that’s focused on the high-intensity trading that all the longs and all the shorts, they are human beings, and I’ve had – even though I say profit is an outcome and is not the ultimate goal, shareholders, even in stakeholder capitalism, are very important stakeholders. They’re taking care of our retirement. So, we love them for that. And so, when I was a CEO of Best Buy, I so enjoyed spending time with our shareholders sharing with them what we’re doing, answering their questions, they’re smart. It was always taking things away and the key was pay attention, listen and then pay attention to the say/do ratio. Best Buy had lost its credibility because they were saying a lot but not doing much, right? So, with my wonderful CFO sharing the column with me, we’re going to say less and do more and that’s how we’re going to build our credibility and we would be very transparent, share our situation, the opportunities we saw, what we’re going to do, and then we update them in our progress. And so, I really enjoy the competition. But in many ways, Barry, I think public, private equity or a family is largely the same. It’s people, we have to respect them and take care of their needs. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive at Best Buy, a company that he helped turn around over the course of his tenure there. Let’s talk a little bit about that. If you would have asked me a decade ago what the future look like for Best Buy, I would have said they were toast that Amazon was going to eat their lunch and they were heading to the garbage pile. Tell us what the key was to turning the company around so successfully. JOLY: You’re, right. Everybody thought we’re going to die. There was zero buy recommendation on the start in 2012 and what I found as I was examining the opportunity to become the CEO because my first reaction when I was approached was this is crazy, right? This is the same reaction as you described. But what I found is that there was nothing wrong with the markets or the business outside. All of the problems were self-inflicted. In fact, the customers needed Best Buy because we needed a place where to see and touch and feel the products and ask questions. And the vendors ultimately needed Best Buy. They needed a place where to showcase their products, the fruit of their billions of dollars of R&D investments. The problems were self-inflicted. Prices were not competitive. The online shopping experience was terrible. Speed of shipping was bad. The customer experiences in the stores have deteriorated. The cost structure was bloated and, and, and. That’s great news because if a problem is self-inflicted, you can fix it. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And so the first phase was all about fixing what was broken and the advice I had been getting, Barry, was cut, cut, cut. We’re going to have to close stores, cut headcounts. We did the opposite. All of the stores were profitable. So, frankly, there was no point of closing stores in a significant fashion. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: It was very — the first phase was a very people centric approach, listening to the frontliners. My first week on the job, I spent it in the store in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I think in France, we would say St. Cloud but over there it’s St. Cloud so there you go. And really listening to the frontliners, they had all of the answers about what needed to be done. And so, my job was pretty easy, it was do what they have to — what they said we needed to do like fix the website, make sure the prices were competitive and so forth. The second on the people centric approach, build the right team at the top and then instead of focusing on headcount reduction, focus on growing the top line by meeting the customer needs and fixing what was broken in the customer experience and treating headcount reduction really as a last resort. And then focus on mobilizing the team on what we need to do for the customers. That sounds soft but that was our opportunity and that’s what we need to do in the first two or three or four years. And then once we have saved the company, it was about how do we — where do we go from here, how — what kind of company do we want to build for the future. And that’s why we focused on designing our purpose as a company. We said we’re actually not a consumer electronics retailer. We are a company in the business of enriching life through technology by addressing key human needs, which we’ll talk more about this. But this was transported because it’s expanded our addressable market and have to mobilize everybody. And as a company, we have to work on making this come to life in all of our activities and really creating an environment where – I think the summary at that time was we unleashed human magic. We had a hundred thousand people plus, I think spring in their step, connecting would drive them in life with their job and doing magical things for customers. And frankly, Barry, I learned so much along the way and, again, all of this sound soft but go back to — we went from $11 to 110 or 120. That was the key. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, let’s talk a little bit about what you guys had done in the physical stores. The big threat to Best Buy was people showrooming, meaning showing up to look it up products and then buying it for a little cheaper at Amazon. How did you — and this is the line from the book, quote, “How did you kill showrooming and turned it into showcasing?” unquote. JOLY: Yes. So, everybody was talking about showrooming at that time. The frequenct was not that high actually but of course, it was incredibly frustrating for the blue shirt associates in our store to spend time with you, Barry, we love you but we spent 30 minutes with you answering all of your questions about the TV and then you buy it online. So, after 30 days at the company, we actually decided that we were going to take price off the table by lining up places with Amazon and giving the blue shirts the authority on the spot to match Amazon prices. And so, I took price off the table … RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: … and the customers, once they were in our stores, they were ours to lose. RITHOLTZ: Right. When you want to drive home with the TV in the back of the car instead of waiting a couple of days from it to come from Amazon, immediate gratification has to be a huge benefit you guys have as the physical store. JOLY: Exactly. And then, yes, of course, the (inaudible) but you’re still going to die because your cost structure is too high, it’s higher than Amazon or Walmart. So, we did take $2 billion of cost out. RITHOLTZ: Wow. JOLY: But the way we won in the end was we just had aha moment of, as I said, showcasing. If you are a Samsung or HP or Amazon and Google products, you need a place where to showcase your products, right, because you spend billions of dollars on R&D and if it’s just I’d say vignette on a website or box on a shelf, you’re not going to excite the customers. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: You need a place where to showcase your products. And so, we did deals. The first one was with Samsung where we had a meeting in December of 2012, Barry. J.K. Shin, the then CEO of Samsung Electronics came to visit us in Minneapolis in December of 2012 and over dinner, we did a deal where in a matter of months, you would have 1,000 Samsung stores within our stores where you could showcase these products. It was just across the aisle from — we already had an Apple store within the store and it was good for the customers because they could see the products, they could compare with Apple. It was good for Samsung, right, because the alternative for them first was to build 1,000 stores in the U.S., it takes time, it’s difficult, and. of course, we have this great location and great traffic. And good for us because it was part of our OPM strategy, other people’s money strategy, right, because there were some good economics for us. And so, that allowed us to offset the cost advantage in Walmart or Amazon we have and then over time, we did deal with all of the world’s foremost almost tech companies, including Amazon for crying out loud, and that was the game changer. And we look — if you look at our stores today, they are shiny because — we have all of these shiny objects and you can see and experience all of these products. So, that was really a game changer. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about both Samsung and Amazon. First, I’m always surprised that people don’t realize what a giant product company Samsung is. It’s not just phones but it’s phones, its TVs, it’s washers, dryers. I mean, Samsung basically anything in your house is a product that Samsung makes and not just entry-level washer, dryers or refrigerators. I think was it last year or two years ago, they bought Dacor, which is like a subzero, high-end manufacturer of kitchen appliances. So, when you set up the store within a store with Samsung, tell us about what that did and how did that impact Samsung’s sales at Best Buys? JOLY: Sure. Yes. I mean, you’re right to highlight this great company. The first deal we did with them was focused on phones and tablets and cameras. So, in a matter of months, they had these stores within our stores and it really put them on the map. It is I think — if you go back to the ’90s, Samsung was not the same company. They were really low end and the chairman at that time, so, the father of the current — of J.Y. Lee now, came to the U.S. and said, at some point, I want Best Buy to carry us and it would be the ultimate goal. And now, they’re one of our top five vendors, probably better than top five. And so, it really gives them the physical presence and to prove that it’s worth for them was then we did the same in the TV department and then in the appliance department. So, it’s been a series of wins for them. And once we have announced the deal with Samsung, other — we had similar conversation with Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, we had a conversation at CES and then two months later, we did the Microsoft stores within Best Buy and then it went on and on. And Tim Cook at Apple told me that he didn’t really like what we were doing, he understood it but he didn’t really like it and Apple has been a very important vendor to Best Buy. So, what we decided to do with them is do more. And so, it was stronger partnership. So, Best Buy is not simply carrying products and partners with the world’s foremost tech companies and with some of these companies and partners on product development, new product introduction and because there’s so much innovation that drives the business, it’s a critical role we play. We also partner in service, Best Buy sells AppleCare, an authorized Apple service provider. So, these partnerships really changed the game. And in the U.S., I think it’s not arrogant to say that Best Buy is the only player which these large companies can do these meaningful deals. So, it really changed the trajectory. RITHOLTZ: I have to ask you about the Geek Squad. Whose idea was that and how significant is it to the company? JOLY: Sure. Robert Stephens was a student at the University of Minnesota, was the — is the founder of Geek Squad in 1994. Very creative guy. The name itself is good — is cool, the logo and so forth, and then Best Buy acquired the company in 2002 when it was quite — still quite small and now, of course, it’s become really big, it’s 20,000 employees. And it’s the key elements of Best Buy’s differentiation because Best Buy is not just in the business of selling you something. We’re — our target customer — people who are excited about technology need technology but also need help with it. And so, with the Geek Squad and the blue shirts, we’re able to advise you when you’re looking at what to do but also help you implement in your home, helps you figure out if something is not working across, right? Of course, let’s take an example. If Netflix is not working tonight at your house, Barry, is it because of Netflix, is it piping to the home, is it the router, is it the streaming device, is it the TV, honey, what is it, right? And we’re honey, right, and we’re going to be able to help you across all of these vendors. And so, that’s a big differentiator for the company. So, really genius. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. His new book is called, “The Heart of Business.” Let’s talk a little bit about writing a book which is quite an endeavor. What motivated you to sit down and say, sure, I’ll write a book? JOLY: Well, this is not a traditional field book. So, this is not a memoir. This is not about the story of the Best Buy turnaround per se. It was reflection, Barry, and it’s really been something I’ve been thinking about for the last 30 years that so much of what I’ve learned at business school, what McKinsey or the early years of my career is wrong, dated or incomplete. And when sit back today or in the last couple of years, even though I’m the eternal (ph) optimist, I have to say it out loud, the world as we know it is not working, right? We’re in this multifaceted crisis, you have, of course, the health crisis and economic crisis, suicidal issues, racial issues, environmental problems, geopolitical tension, it simply is not working. And what’s the definition of madness, right? It’s doing the same thing and hoping for different outcome. And for me, on my FBI’s most wanted list, is two people. One is Milton Friedman, shareholder primacy, and two is Bob McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense and executive at Ford who’s the — almost the inventor top-down scientific management. These approaches don’t work and I think they got us in trouble and there’s a growing number of us, right, and certainly, I’m not the only one, who believe that there’s a better formula that business can be a force for good that — it’s the idea that business should pursue a noble purpose and take care of all of the stakeholders that you put people at the center. You embrace all stakeholders in some kind of declaration of future dependents. There’s no need to choose between employees and customers and shareholders. It’s by taking care of customers and employees and the community that generate great returns for shareholders. We treat profit as an outcome and this formula, people call it stakeholder capitalism or purposeful leadership, I think everybody now talks about it and embrace it, most people. There’s still a few who don’t agree. But the challenge then is how do you do this, how do you make this happen and, Barry, I felt that with my experience and the credibility of the Best Buy turnaround, I could add my voice and my energy to call this necessary foundation of business and capitalism around purpose and humanity and provide like a guide for any leader at any level frankly who is keen to move in that direction but like the rest of us, we would help. And so, that was the genesis of the book and the subtitle of the book is leadership principles, right, for the next era of capitalism and the book is full of very concrete examples and stories and illustrations. There’s questions at the end of each chapter that people can use to reflect and act at their company. So, that’s the book. RITHOLTZ: Speaking of the book, it got a terrific review from all — of all people, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. How did that come about, how did Bezos give you a review and what’s the relationship like between Best Buy and Amazon these days? JOLY: Sure. Best Buys has always sold Amazon products because we think about Amazon as the retailer, of course, as a cloud company but Amazon is also a product company, right? They have the Kindle and, of course, all of their Echo products. And Best Buy have always sold Amazon’s products in the stores. Other retailers say it otherwise but we felt these were great products and we’re here to serve customers. I got to know Jeff firstly through the business council. Both of us were members there on the executive committee and once, I was invited to discuss our turnaround and how we had approached that transformation and Jeff was in the first row and being very kind. But then we did this significant partnership where I think it was in 2018. Amazon gave Best Buy exclusive rights to Fire TV platform, which is their smart TV platform, to be embedded into smart TVs. So, any smart TV with the Fire TV embedded in it, Best Buy is going to control that. It’s only going to be sold at Best Buy or by Best Buy and Amazon. And when we did the announcement for this deal, we did it in a store in Beverly, Washington, and Jeff came and we had some media there and Jeff said, TV is a considerate purchase. You got to see the TV. Best Buy is the best place in the world we you can do this. That’s why we’re doing the partnership and we built this stress-based relationship. And, of course, the media was — this was a jaw-dropping moment and Jeff is a very generous man. It’s interesting because it raises another question which is how do you think about competition. As you lead a company, do you obsess about competition or do you obsess about your customers and what you can become. And that’s one of the things that Jeff and and I share which is you obsess about your customers and becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Of course, at Best Buy, we look at Amazon. We wanted to — actually, in the sense, we neutralize them, right, because same prices, same great shopping experience and we ship as fast as they do. So, let’s call it a draw on the online business and then we have unique asset. And so, you’re not obsessed about your competition. In fact, in some cases, you partner with them and I think the world — other than the COVID pandemic, there’s another pandemic in the world which is the fear or the obsession about zero-sum games. The only way that Amazon could win is if Best Buy loses or vice versa. The only way this podcast can be successful, Barry, is if you win and I lose. That’s crazy, right? You get to collaborate and create great outcomes and I think in this world as leaders, we have to think about how we can create when win, win, win outcomes for our customers, our employees, our vendors, the community and ultimately, their shareholders. RITHOLTZ: And to put some flesh on those bones, some numbers on it, in 2007, before the financial crisis, Best Buy had done about $35 billion in revenue. In 2020, they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 billion and this year, I think the company is looking for an excess of 50 billion. So, clearly, that’s been heading in the right direction. Let’s talk a little bit about your experience on other boards. You’re in the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and you’re on the board of directors at Ralph Lauren. What have you learned from those firms that were applicable to Best Buy and what do you bring to the table for those companies? JOLY: Yes. So, I joined — the first board I joined was Ralph Lauren in 2009 and I was the CEO of Carlson Companies, which was Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TGI Fridays and then a bunch of hotels, Regent and Radisson. The reason why I was interested in joining another board was to try to become a better CEO in the relationship with my board and sitting on somebody else’s board, you can see the needs of the board and then you can see how the CEO and their team are dealing with you. So, that was a great experience because when you become CEO and you deal with the board, you have zero experience, right, dealing with the board. So, that’s one of the things you learn on the job. So, that was a great way for me to learn. And these two companies, J&J and Ralph Lauren, they’re two amazing companies. J&J, I joined recently. I joined about 18 months ago. And so, watching Alex Gorsky and his team navigate the pandemic, their Credo-based approach. I mean, they’re the inventor of stakeholder capitalism before (inaudible), right, with their Credo that they created in 1943 that’s focused on all of the stakeholders. They’re one of the most innovative companies. So, they show the value of doing meaningful innovation for the benefit of, in their case, their patients. This is a wonderful entrepreneur. The company was founded in ’67 and it’s a great company, one of the most iconic brands on the planet. So, how do drive this and how do you balance left brain and right brain and, of course, enjoying cooperating with Patrice Louvet, the CEO, who is a terrific guy. And so, learning — I’m like a sponge, I love learning (ph) from others. What I bring, I would frame it along the lines of what I was looking for my board to do when I was CEO and I was not looking for the board to give me all of the answers and do my job, right? But I use the board — I wanted — I build a board that would give me complementary skills. So, I wanted to have the best people on the board that would have skills that would be additive to our management team and use the board as a sounding board to — I would get 80 percent of the value of the board meeting in preparation to the board meeting. And then getting reaction at the sounding board. When you are in the weed, sometimes, you’re missing something and then being able to access unique expertise from my board. So, what I try to bring on these boards is I try to be a resource for the management team, a sounding board, and helping them with their most important issues. I really enjoyed that. I’m in the state now where I started a new chapter as you highlighted, I’m no longer a CEO but it’s a matter of giving back and helping the next generation of leaders be the — become the best version of themselves they can be. So, I do that through boards and through executive education at Harvard Business School, also coach and mentor of a number of CEOs and executives. So, it’s — I just love doing that. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing now. Tell us about the class you’re teaching at Harvard. JOLY: So, on Monday, August 30th, that is the first day of school for the incoming MBA class. So, I’m one of the professors in the first year. I teach marketing, which is about — it’s focused really on how do you grow a company focusing on the customers. So, that’s one of the things I do. I’m also part of the faculty that’s — as a program for new CEOs. So, twice per year with a small bunch of new CEOs, I did this when I became CEO, that come here for three days and we try to help them out. I’m also part of the faculty that’s doing a program called Leading Global Businesses and last but not the least, I’m really passionate about this, we’re designing and we’re going to pilot program for companies and then also in the MBA program called Putting Purpose to Work and Unleashing Human Magic. So, many companies on this purpose journey today. And so, there’s going to be a series of workshops for the top 30 people, custom programs, one company at a time, and we’re going to try to support them in their journey. We’re doing our first pilot this fall and to look forward to learning from that experience. And I think we’re just in the early innings of that new era of capitalism. So, so much to learn. I’m super excited to be part of that journey with a number of companies. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. I have to ask you the obvious question, is your book a book you assigned to your students? What do you have them read? JOLY: So, HBS is a school where there’s really not, for the most part, mandatory reading of any books. So, I know that last year, before the book was established, my wonderful Section E from the MBA program, they all got a copy of the manuscript and they had great conversations, too. Sometimes, the book gets distributed to the participants of the executive education programs. But in the MBA, there’s little mandatory reading. It’s all about, as you know, the case study methodology, which is a wonderful way to learn because it’s hard to learn just from reading. Reading, I mean, I encourage people to read the books for sure but it’s by practicing that you really learned, right? So, that’s the HBS way. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. And one of the things that Bezos specifically mentioned was that he thought your turnarounds at Best Buy was going on eventually become a Harvard Business School case study. What are your thoughts on that? JOLY: Well, we’re actually working on that with Professor Gupta and it’s going to be taught for the first time. This is going to be fun, right? It’s going to be the last case of the marketing class in December. And so, of course, in my section, it’s going to be ironic. I’m going to be Professor Joly and I’m going to be one of the protagonists. There’s been other cases on Best Buy but this one is going to be much on the turnaround and transformation. So, that’s going to be fun. I’ve also taught it — we’ve also taught it in some of the executive education programs. So, Jeff – I know Jeff is right, there’s a Best Buy case now at Harvard Business School. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite interesting. So, you mentioned purposeful leadership. Let’s delve into that a little bit. How does one become a purposeful leader who’s focused on creating the sort of environment where others can flourish and perform at their best? JOLY: Yes. This is, for me, such an important information and I grew up believing that as the leader, what was important was to be smart, right, where I went to school and to — some of the best schools and in the early years of my career, this is the left brain would highlight being the smartest person in the room. I’ve learned over the years that this is not what drives great outcome over time. I had an entire reflection and we slowed down. One of the things that is important to do is reflect on why do we work. Is work markedly a mixed reputation, right? We work — is work a punishment because some dude send in paradise, right, or is work something we do so that we can do something else that’s more fun or is work part of our fulfillment as a human being, part of our quest for meaning, right, to talk about Victor Frankl. And one of the things that I really invite myself to do and every leader to do is reflect on this. What’s going to be the meaning of my life professionally? How do I want to be remembered? One of the things we ask the CEOs to do in the CEO program in Harvard is write your retirement speech or with my wife when I — when we coach or mentor CEOs, we ask them to write their eulogy. What would you like other people to say on that day when you’re not here to listen? And I think this is so meaningful because people talk about the purpose of the corporation. I think it starts with our individual purpose, right, because motivation is intrinsic, right? And so, how can you lead others if you cannot lead your life and yourself? For me, that’s the beginning. And very practical, one of the turning points in our journey at Best buy, Barry, was every quarter, we would get together as an executive team for an offsite and one day, I asked every one of the executive team members to come to the offsite with a picture of themselves when they were little, maybe two or three years old. We got some really cute pictures, Barry, I can tell you that and over dinner, we spent the evening sharing with each other our life story and what drives us in life, what’s the meaning of our life. And what came out of that discussion, several things, one is we realized that all of us were human beings, not just a CFO or CMO or CHO, and that, with a couple of exceptions, all of us had the same kind of goals in life, which is it is the golden rule, do something good to other people. And that was transformational because we said, well, we’re the executive team of Best Buy. At that time, Best Buy — we had saved Best Buy and it was — where do we go from here? Why don’t we use Best Buy as a platform to do something good in the world and become a company that customers are going to love, employees are going to love, community is going to love and, of course, shareholders are going to continue to love. And so, there’s a similar idea in my mind which is connecting what drives us as individuals with the purpose of the company and the thing for companies that are embarked on the purpose journey, they write down their purpose but if they just try to cascade it down and communicate it to everybody and say, why don’t you — why aren’t you excited about this new purpose, right, it doesn’t work. We really have to start with what drives every individual and the company and then you realize that, yes, what is your role. So, in the book, I talked about the five Bs of purposeful leadership. The first B is be clear about your — what we are talking about, be clear about your own purpose, be clear about the purpose of people around you and how it connects with what you’re doing at the company. The second one is be clear about your role as a leader. It’s not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the environment in which others can be the best version of themselves. And, of course, if you’re leading a significant company and Best buy has more than 100,000 people, the only thing that happens is the thing that you decide that you come up with, you know it’s going to go far, right? So, it’s all about creating this environment which is significant mind shift. It’s also about — yes, Barry? RITHOLTZ: I was going to say, I’m struck by your comments and this comes through the book about showing vulnerability, inspiring people, embracing your humanity. I think back to the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, whose nickname was Neutron Jack for how frequently he would lay off people and close divisions and fire other executives. When you were putting your philosophy to work at Best Buy, were you aware that this is a radical break from what had come before you? JOLY: Yes. And to quote — so, to go back to France in 1789, at the moment of the Storming of Bastille, there is Louis XVI asked La Rochefoucauld, is this a revolt, and La Rochefoucauld’s response says, no, sire, this is a revolution. And I think that’s what it is and it’s really shifting things. People are not the problem. They’re the source and they’re also the ultimate goal. And I think that most people agree with this, Barry, the challenge is not agreeing with this now, I think it’s really doing it and it’s — I can speak from experience. If you were to look at my face, you would see all of these scars on my face. Learning from experience and trying to get better at this is a lifelong journey of learning to be vulnerable. I was raised — being taught that I — you couldn’t say I don’t know and now, in the world we live, did you have a manual for the COVID pandemic, did you have a manual for back-to-the-office, Barry? No. So, it’s clear that we don’t know. So, we have to be able to say my name is Hubert and I need help and we’re going to work together to figure it out. So, there’s a C change in leadership, meaning from a place of purpose and with humanity and a great deal of humility. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to talk about the pandemic in a moment. I want to stick with this revolution that you mentioned. There’s a quote from the book that I really like, quote, “The Milton Friedman version of capitalism got us here. But now, this model is failing.” Explain to us how it got us here, why it’s failing now and what comes next. JOLY: I used this to highlight the idea which mainly has been Milton Friedman’s, only I get was the context when he spoke. But the obsession with profits being the only thing that matters is proven to be poisonous and excessive focus on profit is poisonous and there’s several reasons for this. One is when we look at the reported profit of the company — by the way, if anybody believes that U.S. GAAP really tries to equate economic performance, study your accounting again, it’s not even trying, it’s a set of principles. There’s many things that GAAP profit does not capture, including your negative impact on the environment or how well your sales force is trained. The other thing is that it focuses on an outcome. So, in medicine, the (inaudible) analogous is my MD was focused on my temperature, right, and I don’t want a doctor that’s purely focused on my temperature because maybe he’s going to put the thermometer in the fridge or in the oven, right, depending. I want somebody who’s going to be interested in what’s driving my health and try to help me get healthy. And so, we got confused by this obsession and that was (inaudible) and, of course, there’s extreme cases. Enron is one of them but — where we lost track of why we’re on this planet and responsibility with doing the right thing. So, this new model, the reinvention of business probably going back to some of our roots, right, with the idea that business is here to purse enabled (ph) purpose. And this is not about socialism, this is about doing something good in the world that could be responding to needs of customers in a way that’s responsible. It’s about putting people at the center embracing all of the stakeholders in a harmonious fashion, refusing zero-sum games and treating profit as an outcome. I think that’s the formula that’s employed by some of the best companies on the planet. And as leaders, we need to go back to that and to learn new things because we’re so influenced by some of the techniques we learned last century, including this top-down management approach and using it extensively. So, that’s something you’re going to learn over time. There’s research by the MIT that shows that financial incentive deteriorates performance, which is the opposite of what we’ve learned, right? But if you feed somebody with carrots and sticks, beware because you’re going to get a donkey, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And in a world where you need creativity and people to be their best, motivation is going to be intrinsic. So, that’s what you need to be able to touch and get to the environment where people want to be their best and make a meaningful contribution in their work. So, I think this is a very exciting phase. This is an urgent phase because I’m concerned probably like you and many others that we have a few ticking timebombs and I have three wonderful granddaughters. I want to do my best to try to, quote-unquote, “make the planet” be a better world, right, than the current trajectory. RITHOLTZ: And this is very consistent, I have a fuller understanding of your philosophy that profit should be an outcome and not just the goal in and of itself. You’ve really put some meat on those bones. JOLY: Yes. Thank you, Barry, and there’s practical implications of that again and starting your monthly business meetings or even your board meetings with people and organization and then customers and business and then basically (ph) with with financial results. You should take care of the first two, the profits will follow. So, it’s a significant practical and philosophical transformation. Talking about quotes here, we quoted Milton Friedman, but I love this quote from the Lebanese prophet, Kahlil Gibran, who said that work is love made visible. RITHOLTZ: That’s a wonderful quote. And let’s talk a little bit about visibility of some of the changes you did. By the time you stepped down from the board of directors in June of last year, Best Buy’s board of 13 directors had, for the first time ever, a majority of women and three African-American directors. Tell us how you brought about this increase of diversity. What about diversity throughout the rest of the company and what was the impact of so much inclusion and a shift away from the older homogenous types of boards? JOLY: I think, Barry, it’s clear for every one of us today that having diversity is going to get to a better business outcome and I do believe that has there been Lehman brothers and sisters instead of Lehman brothers, we would have had a different outcome. But if you also take it a very practical fashion, in one of our stores in Chicago that’s in the Polish neighborhood, if the blue shirts don’t speak Polish, they’re not going to sell much. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: Or when we had Brazilian tourists in Orlando, the blue shirts didn’t speak Portuguese, they were not going to sell much. So, having diversity of every dimension, talent, skills, profiles, gender, race, the country’s color is changing very rapidly, it’s becoming black and brown, we have to represent — it’s very simple, we have to represent the diversity of the customers we serve. If we don’t, bad things happen. And so, there’s a business imperative, there’s also a moral imperative when we see the state of the country. So, from a gender standpoint, as I said, I have three granddaughters, I want them to have the best opportunities, and why would it make sense to only recruit from a quarter of the population, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: The board’s — I’ll say the board’s composition was a great place to focus now. It’s not the only one. When we rebuilt the board study in 2013, we want to have the best skills. We were determined to be diverse. So, we had an early focus on gender diversity and when I started to focus more on ethnic diversity, probably starting in 2016, 2017, I met — I had a great meeting with Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments and … RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: … she’s now the Chair of Starbucks, everyone knows Mellody, she’s amazing, one of the things she told me is that people cannot be who they cannot see. And so, starting at the top and having a board that would signal the direction was important. So, what’s really — and changing the composition of the board is not that hard with only 10 or 12 or 13 people, how hard can it be? So, we told the headhunter don’t bother giving us resumes of non-black directors, right, and if you believe that you are unable to find great black candidates, well, say that’s OK, we won’t have a problem with that. We’ll just work with another firm. It’s not a problem. And so, we recruited three amazing directors and we got them on the board that they’ve concluded (ph) in this direction and I think it makes a huge difference. And, of course, Best Buy is headquartered in Minneapolis and following the killing — the murder of George Floyd, it’s pretty simple, if you — if the city is on fire, right, if the community is on fire, you just can’t open stores, right? You can’t run a business. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: So, in this country, we have this big racial issue that has been going on for centuries. I think generation has the opportunity to end systemic racism and that’s something we, I think, business can play a big role in this. So, that was determined and that’s what we did. RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all our guest starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days, give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime, what’s keeping you entertained during the pandemic? JOLY: I have so much electronic equipment in our place that I’m doing a lot of streaming. I love — I always listen to music. I’m a movie buff. I have a collection of probably 800 movies on my (inaudible) setup. Our favorite I would say recently has been “Good Doctor.” I think that’s Season 5, it’s starting at the end of September. We’re very excited about this. And then from a podcast standpoint, I like listening to HBR’s Idea Cast. That’s a weekly – a great weekly podcast. Whitney Johnson has a great leadership podcast called “Disrupt Yourself.” And then I have to mention, there’s a young teenager, well, teenager would be young anyway, right, but let’s call him a teenager, Logan Lin has got a FinanZe podcast that focused on the Z generation. My God, the guy is so cool. So, everybody joins and downloads FinanZe spelled F-I-N-A-N-Z-E and that’s Logan Lin. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We hinted at some of your mentors but let’s jump into that in more depth. Tell us some of the people who helped to shape your career. JOLY: There’s so many, Barry. Jean-Marie Descarpentries, a client of mine, had this big influence on me teaching me so much about how to put people first and treating profits as an outcome. There were two great friends, yes, who happened to be monks in a religious congregation in the early ’90s. That was a turning point. They asked me to write a couple of articles with them on the theology and philosophy of work which is where I got a lot of my roots in terms of work as part of our search for meaning as individuals, as human beings. It changed my perspective on work. Another turning point, too, in my early 40s, you could say throughout the book, it was at the top of my first mountain, right, had been a partner at McKinsey & Company. I was on the executive team of Vivendi Universal, by many measures., I’ve been successful, right, except I think the top of that first mountain was very dry which was not fulfilling. There was no real meaning. So, I call it my midlife crisis, right? So, instead of going on to an island, I did — I stepped back and I did the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. So, you could say the founder of the Jesuits, of course. You could say he was one of my mentors that was really helpful to help me discern my calling in life, which today or since then has been to try to make a positive difference on people around me and use the platform I have to make a positive difference in the world which is what I’m doing now teaching and mentoring and so forth. And then we mentioned Marshall Goldsmith, my first coach and a good friend. Later on, I also worked with Eric Pliner at YSC. When the board — so, Marshall was doing my annual — having that board with my annual evaluation and the board realized that Marshall and I were such good friends and said, we need somebody more objective now. And we got Eric Pliner, who is now the CEO of YSC, worked with me but also his firm works with every one of our executives and helps us with executive team’s effectiveness and that was quite transformative. You should have spent more time earlier on not just on building the right team but enhancing our team effectiveness and I learned a lot working with Eric in that journey. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about everybody’s favorite question, tell us about some of your favorite books and what are you reading right now. JOLY: I read three books this summer. The first one is by Rakesh Khurana who’s now the President of Harvard College and it’s called “From Higher Aims to Hired Hands” which is the history — exactly for me, the history of business education in the U.S. over the last 120 years and how the business school curriculum were saved and how — and why he believes and I do believe as well that we need to evolve it not just learning techniques but also with — it’s not just about learning something or learning to do something, it’s also learning to be, which is I think an entire journey. I also read “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson and a book by my colleague, Tsedal Neeley, “Remote Work Revolution” which is, of course, a very timely book. Best book ever read, I have to mention Marcel Proust being French, “In Search of Lost Time.” It’s only 3,000 pages. So, if you have a minute or two, I encourage you to get to it. Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is another favorite. And you mentioned the Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” And finally, I have to mention my wife’s book called “Aligned: Becoming the Leader You’re Meant To Be” and her name is Hortense Le Gentil. It’s one of the best leadership books that I’ve ever read and, of course, a little bias maybe. RITHOLTZ: Maybe you’re a little bit bias. So, you work with grad students and college students, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is interested in a career either as an executive or leadership or even in retail? JOLY: I think the advice is the same as we give the new CEOs is write your retirement speech or even better, write your eulogy. And I know my good friend John Donahoe, who’s now the CEO of Nike, did this when he graduated and he’s always kept it. And I understand he goes back to it every year and it’s hard. (Inaudible) between the ages of 26 and 34, early in your adult life, you don’t necessarily know everything but try to write it and see what journey you want to be on and how you want to be remembered. That would be one plot. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world’s of leadership and executive management today that you wish you knew a couple of decades ago when you were first getting started? JOLY: Well, there’s so much over the years. I think it has to do with profits being an outcome not the goal. It’s about importance of looking at drivers of performance. It’s about my role as a leader is not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the right environment. Not about being perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And I think the quest for — maybe I’ll finish with this, the quest for perfection can be very dangerous, can be evil, right, because if you’re trying to be perfect, guess what, you’re not going to be successful. You’re going to be incredibly demanding and harsh with people around you because you expect them to be perfect. And so, you have to be laxed and be kind with yourself and others around you and be able to open up and share what you are struggling with, understand what they’re struggling with and help each other out. That’s the — I think to me, that’s — it’s such an important consideration. The quest of perfection can be very dangerous. Be kind to yourself. During the pandemic, we learned so much, right? We used to fly around Barry, long time ago on planes, right, and we were told by the steward or the stewardess, if the oxygen mask comes down, put it on yourself first before you help others. So, as we continue to go through challenging time, taking care of yourself as a leader, making sure you meditate, you reflect, you exercise, you ask for help either from your personal board of directors, your best friends, that’s the key thing, that’s going to be the way that we can then help others. So, take care of yourself first. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We have been speaking with Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO at Best Buy and currently a lecturer at Harvard Business School. Thank you, Hubert, for being so generous with your time. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of our previous 376 former discussions that we’ve had. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, Acast, wherever you feed your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads, you can find those at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @Ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week, Charlie Vollmer is my audio engineer extraordinaire, Atika Valbrun is my project manager, Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my researcher. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio   ~~~   The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 27th, 2021

The Keys to Success: One-on-One With Dermot Buffini

When it comes to succeeding in real estate—or any industry—there are no secrets. Instead, Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company, said there are only keys that anyone can use to take charge of their lives, careers and business outcomes. In “The Keys to Success,” Buffini joined RISMedia President, Founder and CEO John Featherston to […] The post The Keys to Success: One-on-One With Dermot Buffini appeared first on RISMedia. When it comes to succeeding in real estate—or any industry—there are no secrets. Instead, Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company, said there are only keys that anyone can use to take charge of their lives, careers and business outcomes. In “The Keys to Success,” Buffini joined RISMedia President, Founder and CEO John Featherston to discuss his top leadership strategies for real estate professionals to take control of their success—no matter how the market shifts. The one-on-one, break-out session, which Featherston moderated, was held during RISMedia’s 2021 Real Estate CEO & Agent Leadership Exchange. Co-presented by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the exclusive, full-day virtual event attracted thousands of industry professionals on Sept. 14. Featherson asked about some of the pearls of wisdom that Buffini learned about leadership over the last year and a half. “This last season, leaders have had to be very present and very consistent, and I don’t see this letting up because we are living in a world that is even more distracted,” Buffini said, adding that good leaders have leaned into the fundamentals of business and leadership to weather the shifting market. Buffini also noted that leaders used the past year to grow and develop amid the increasing number of distractions during the pandemic as well as the market shifts that have occured. “If you have these keys and you put them in the right place, and you turn them in the right direction, you’re going to be successful,” Buffini said, offering three of his most imperative keys. – Be Clear: “You must be clear in what your value is in the marketplace, and you must be clear in what you want to achieve financially, in your business…and at whatever else is important to you.” – Track your Progress: “One of the ways we help people make progress fast is we help them measure. Nine times out of ten with our clients, you’re making the most kind of progress when it doesn’t feel like you are because you’re in it.” – Get help: “The more successful you become, the more help you need.” Zeroing in on RISMedia’s robust audience of real professionals, Featherston also asked Buffini to shed light on his take on approaching business with a leadership mentality no matter career level. “Whether you’re a broker with five agents or you own a company with 50,000, it’s the same process,” Buffini said, encouraging viewers to take charge of their personal and professional goals while also charting their path toward accomplishing them. “At the end of the day, if we take responsibility for our life, it gives us power,” Buffini said. “It gives us energy, it motivates us and it encourages us, but it also allows us not to become a victim to our circumstances or our past.” In the session’s final moments, Buffini offered his thoughts on leadership across generations and how older professionals can work with younger real estate professionals more effectively. “Give [younger generations] the principles that they need to engage and build trust in what you know will help them be successful,” Buffini said. “Your way and your attitude might not be the way that the younger generation wants to be led, and if you can adjust and focus on those people, you’re not going to have a problem leading anybody from any generation.” RISMedia is providing free access to select sessions from the event. Hear from Buffini in this insightful one-on-one with Featherston:.....»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 21st, 2021

Jan. 6 live updates: 2 Secret Service sources told CNN that Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The former WH aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave damning testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said she had "more courage than most" Republicans. Two Secret Service sources said Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. DOJ wants a DC judge to reject Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial over January 6 hearings' publicity, saying that he has 'barely been mentioned'Steve Bannon argued in April that his criminal prosecution should be dismissed.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Department of Justice asked a DC judge on Friday to reject Trump ally Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial, arguing that the January 6 hearings have not revolved around him to the point of distraction.On Wednesday, Bannon's lawyers asked a DC judge to delay his July 18 trial, citing a "media blitz" from the public January 6 committee hearings and saying the request was "due to the unprecedented level of prejudicial pretrial publicity."DOJ lawyers said that Bannon is not as popular as he thinks he is."The Defendant's motion gives the false impression — through general statistics about the volume of viewership of the Committee's hearings and overall media coverage of the Committee's hearings — that all of the Committee's hearings and the attendant media coverage is about him," DOJ lawyers wrote in a filing on Friday. "The truth is just the opposite — the Defendant has barely been mentioned in the Committee's hearings or the resulting media coverage of them."Read More2 Secret Service sources told CNN that Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6, partly confirming Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimonyFormer President Donald Trump.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesTwo Secret Service sources told CNN on Friday that they heard about former President Donald Trump lunging at the driver of his presidential SUV on January 6, 2021.The pair of sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, backed up much of former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony on the altercation in the motorcade vehicle known as "the Beast" after Trump found out he wouldn't be driven to join his supporters at the Capitol."He had sort of lunged forward – it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don't know," one of the Secret Service sources told CNN. "Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat – for what reason, nobody had any idea."Read Full StoryMichael Cohen says Trump uses a 'mob boss' playbookMichael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, compared the former president to a "mob boss" amid allegations that Trump allies sought to intimidate Jan. 6 witnesses."Donald Trump never changes his playbook," Cohen told The Washington Post. "He behaves like a mob boss, and these messages are fashioned in that style. Giving an order without giving the order. No fingerprints attached."Read Full StoryTrump allies paid legal fees for multiple Jan. 6 witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson, sparking witness-influencing concerns, report saysCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's allies and supporters paid the legal fees for multiple people who had provided testimony to the January 6 committee, including the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, The New York Times reported.Hutchinson eventually fired the lawyer who was paid for a pro-Trump group, and went on to provide damning testimony about Trump, the report said. Two sources familiar with the committee told The Times that they believe Hutchinson's decision to part ways with the lawyer — who had been recommended by Trump allies and paid for by a pro-Trump PAC — likely played a role in her decision to provide new evidence. There are no laws against a third party paying for a witness' legal representation in a congressional inquiry, but the situation may raise some ethical concerns, according to the report.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent said he, too, would have defied Trump's request to be taken to the Capitol on January 6Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an op-ed that he also would not have taken then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.In an op-ed published by Newsweek, Wackrow said he was shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January committee regarding Trump's actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Hutchinson, a former aide in the Trump White House, claimed that Trump had gotten into a physical altercation with the head of his security detail while demanding to be brought to the Capitol."If I had been working on Trump's security detail on January 6, I would have made the same decision as Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel to not go to the Capitol based on the known escalating threats," Wackrow wrote.He added, however, that he believed Trump still respects the Secret Service because he probably has seen "first-hand what they're willing to do to protect him and his family." Read Full StoryGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Cassidy Hutchinson is a 'hero' and has 'more courage than most' Republicans after January 6 testimonyCassidy Hutchinson testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday applauded Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony to the January 6 committee, saying the former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has "more courage" than most of his Republican colleagues. "Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero and a real patriot (not a faux 'patriot' that hates America so much they would attempt a coup.)," Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said in a tweet."Of course they will try to bully and intimidate her. But she isn't intimidated. More courage than most in GOP," Kinzinger added of Hutchinson.Read Full StoryGOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearingsRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with Trump in February 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024."I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot."Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."Read Full StoryCheney 'absolutely confident' that former White House aide's explosive testimony is credibleRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair of the House's January 6 committee, said she is "absolutely confident" that a former White House aide's damning testimony is accurate."I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told ABC News's Jonathan Karl about the allegations made by top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson this week.Cheney said that Hutchinson showed "an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage" by testifying.Read MoreBannon wants his contempt trial to be delayed because of Jan. 6 hearingsSteve Bannon outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesTrump ally Steve Bannon has asked for his contempt-of-Congress trial to be delayed because the hearings on the Capitol riot are getting so much publicity.A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November 2021 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.In a Wednesday court filing, Bannon's lawyers argued that the coverage of the committee's hearings would make his trial unfair.Read More January 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he would testify about Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who outlined ways for Trump to challenge the 2020 election.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House's panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.The demand for Cipollone to appear before the committee comes after explosive testimony from a former top White House aide in the Trump administration, who described Trump and his inner circle's actions before and during the insurrection.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent says Trump's 'girth' would have made it impossible to attack driverOutgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA former White House aide testified that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at a Secret Service agent on January 6, 2021, after they refused to take him to the Capitol building.But former Secret Service agents told Insider they have doubts about the story."Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one former agent said, speaking on background to Insider.  "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."Keep ReadingHouse Republican who led rioter on tour before insurrection could oversee Capitol policeRep. Barry LoudermilkBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Barry Loudermilk — who led a Capitol rioter on a tour of the building the day before the insurrection — could end up overseeing Capitol police.If Republicans regain control of the House, Loudermilk would be next in line to lead the committee that has oversight over the police force attacked by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.Loudermilk has faced backlash from Democrats after video showed him taking a group on a tour of the Capitol building, showing them hallways, security areas, and stairwells. The next day, members of the tour flaunted a sharpened flagpole bearing the American flag as they marched near the Capitol.It remains unclear whether the group entered the Capitol building itself during the riot.Read Full Story Former Jan. 6 committee investigator announces run for SenateSenior investigative counsel John Wood questions witnesses during the third public hearing of the January 6 committee on June 16, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee investigator John Wood is launching an independent Senate campaign in Missouri in an effort to stop GOP nominee Eric Greitens.Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes Greitens — the former Missouri governor — is likely to win the Republican nomination, and that voters deserved an alternative.Wood, a Republican, said he will run as an independent.Read MoreTrump ally says Hutchinson's testimony was a 'campaign commercial' for Ron DeSantis in 2024Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisPhelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoExplosive testimony by a former Trump White House aide could be a boost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Trump on the presidential ticket in 2024, CNN reported.One Trump adviser said the hearings — which painted as Trump as violent and volatile — were "basically a campaign commercial" for DeSantis. Another told CNN that "no one is taking this lightly."DeSantis has flirted with larger political ambitions and is a rising Republican star who would be poised to fill the leadership vacuum if Trump is forced aside.Read Full StorySecret Service agents willing to dispute Hutchinson's claims about Trump's outburst, reports sayFormer President Donald TrumpSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSecret Service agents are willing to testify before the January 6 House panel to refute former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's claim that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel when he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to multiple reports.The driver of the car and the head of Trump's security are ready to testify under oath that the former President never lunged for the wheel or physically assaulted the driver, according to CBS News.Read More Hutchinson's testimony could lead to legal trouble for Trump: reportCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoFormer aides to Donald Trump worry the explosive testimony by a former White House aide could put Trump in legal jeopardy, according to the New York Times."This hearing definitely gave investigators a lot to chew on," former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Times after testimony from top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson detailed Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol riot.Hutchinson's testimony painted Trump as a volatile man who knew his supporters were armed on January 6, 2021. Trump also demanded to be taken to the Capitol building, but his security staff refused, Hutchinson said.Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump's White House Chief of Staff, said evidence of possible witness tampering could open his orbit up to charges.Keep Reading  Former Trump press secretary shares text that appears to show Melania Trump to condemn Capitol riot violenceMelania Trump speaks at the White House on October 09, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham shared a text exchange on Tuesday that purportedly showed former First Lady Melania Trump refusing to condemn the violence during the Capitol riot. The apparent screengrab of a text exchange was between Grisham and a person named "MT." "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?" read the message. "No," the person replied.Representatives for Melania Trump at Trump's post-presidential press office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read Full StoryJohn Eastman drops lawsuit blocking his phone records from January 6 committeeJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APIn a late Tuesday filing, John Eastman dropped a lawsuit he'd filed to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from accessing his phone records."Plaintiff brought this lawsuit primarily to protect the content of his communications, many of which are privileged," the latest filing read. "The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff's communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon."The former Trump lawyer's phone was seized by federal agents on June 22, according to a separate suit he filed on Monday, seeking the return of his property. Of interest to investigators are call logs from Eastman's personal device, and the search warrant indicates investigators will not review any additional content from his phone without a court order. Read Full StoryTrumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoIt took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. READ MOREFox News host says it's not 'wholly out of character' that Trump 'might throw his lunch' after January 6 testimony on ketchup dripping down the wallFormer President Donald Trump and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesMoments after a colleague referred to Tuesday's January 6 committee testimony as "stunning," Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall.""I mean, I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just — knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years — if he got angry then he might throw his lunch," MacCallum said. "I'm not sure. It's obviously a very dramatic detail, and the way that she describes it, um, is. But I'm not sure if this is wholly out of character with the Donald Trump and the President Trump that people came to know over the years."READ MOREHere are all the people who sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, per January 6 committee witnessesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are ch.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

Rio Tinto (RIO), Corona Canada Launch Low-Carbon Beverage Can

Rio Tinto (RIO) and Corona Canada launch a low-carbon beverage can in Canada, which comes with a QR code that will provide information about the cans' low carbon footprint. Rio Tinto plc RIO and Corona Canada have launched Canada's first specially-marked, low-carbon beverage can. The can has been manufactured by Ball Corporation BALL and is available through a pilot in Ontario. It has been made utilizing aluminum from RIO and leveraging emissions-free ELYSISTM technology. As part of this limited release, 1.2 million cans have been produced equipped with a QR code, which will make consumers aware of the cans' low carbon footprint.This pilot marks an important step toward providing consumers with a fully traceable beverage can. Going forward, Rio Tinto will leverage insights from its START initiative that will aid consumers to see the journey of their products, starting from how they were made from mine to market, along with providing sustainability data via QR codes.Rio Tinto launched START in 2021, setting a new standard in transparency, traceability and provenance for the aluminum industry. Using the secure blockchain technology, START provides information about how Rio Tinto aluminum was made, covering criteria like carbon footprint, water use, recycled content, energy sources, community investment, safety performance, diversity in leadership, business integrity, regulatory compliance and transparency. Through START, Rio Tinto empowers its customers to make a more sustainable choice.Infinitely recyclable and economically valuable, aluminum is the most sustainable beverage packaging material. In fact, 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today.Rio Tinto and Corona Canada's parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2020 to work with supply chain partners to bring AB InBev products to market in cans made from aluminum that meets industry-leading sustainability standards. Through the current project, Rio Tinto's low-carbon aluminum, made with renewable hydropower and metal produced using zero-carbon ELYSISTM smelting technology, will help minimize carbon emissions by more than 30%.Ball Corporation supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products for customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government.Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past three months, shares of Rio Tinto have fallen 25% compared with the industry's decline of 26%.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderRio Tinto currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Kronos Worldwide KRO and Daqo New Energy DQ, each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Kronos has a projected earnings growth rate of 110% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for KRO's current-year earnings has been revised 61% upward in the past 60 days.Kronos has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 24%, on average. KRO has gained around 17% over the past three months.Daqo New Energy has a projected earnings growth rate of 130% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for DQ's current-year earnings has moved up 21% in the past 60 days.Daqo New Energy has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 2.16%, on average. DQ has surged 54% over the past three months.  Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Rio Tinto PLC (RIO): Free Stock Analysis Report Kronos Worldwide Inc (KRO): Free Stock Analysis Report DAQO New Energy Corp. (DQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Ball Corporation (BALL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJul 1st, 2022

Jan. 6 live updates: Trump allies paid multiple Jan. 6 witnesses" legal fees, report says

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The former WH aide Cassidy Hutchinson gave damning testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said she had "more courage than most" Republicans. The NYT reported that Trump allies helped pay many witnesses' legal fees, sparking concerns of witness influencing. Trump allies paid legal fees for multiple Jan. 6 witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson, sparking witness-influencing concerns, report saysCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's allies and supporters paid the legal fees for multiple people who had provided testimony to the January 6 committee, including the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, The New York Times reported.Hutchinson eventually fired the lawyer who was paid for a pro-Trump group, and went on to provide damning testimony about Trump, the report said. Two sources familiar with the committee told The Times that they believe Hutchinson's decision to part ways with the lawyer — who had been recommended by Trump allies and paid for by a pro-Trump PAC — likely played a role in her decision to provide new evidence. There are no laws against a third party paying for a witness' legal representation in a congressional inquiry, but the situation may raise some ethical concerns, according to the report.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent said he, too, would have defied Trump's request to be taken to the Capitol on January 6Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an op-ed that he also would not have taken then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.In an op-ed published by Newsweek, Wackrow said he was shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January committee regarding Trump's actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Hutchinson, a former aide in the Trump White House, claimed that Trump had gotten into a physical altercation with the head of his security detail while demanding to be brought to the Capitol."If I had been working on Trump's security detail on January 6, I would have made the same decision as Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel to not go to the Capitol based on the known escalating threats," Wackrow wrote.He added, however, that he believed Trump still respects the Secret Service because he probably has seen "first-hand what they're willing to do to protect him and his family." Read Full StoryGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Cassidy Hutchinson is a 'hero' and has 'more courage than most' Republicans after January 6 testimonyCassidy Hutchinson testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday applauded Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony to the January 6 committee, saying the former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has "more courage" than most of his Republican colleagues. "Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero and a real patriot (not a faux 'patriot' that hates America so much they would attempt a coup.)," Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said in a tweet."Of course they will try to bully and intimidate her. But she isn't intimidated. More courage than most in GOP," Kinzinger added of Hutchinson.Read Full StoryGOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearingsRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with Trump in February 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024."I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot."Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."Read Full StoryCheney 'absolutely confident' that former White House aide's explosive testimony is credibleRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair of the House's January 6 committee, said she is "absolutely confident" that a former White House aide's damning testimony is accurate."I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told ABC News's Jonathan Karl about the allegations made by top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson this week.Cheney said that Hutchinson showed "an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage" by testifying.Read MoreBannon wants his contempt trial to be delayed because of Jan. 6 hearingsSteve Bannon outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesTrump ally Steve Bannon has asked for his contempt-of-Congress trial to be delayed because the hearings on the Capitol riot are getting so much publicity.A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November 2021 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.In a Wednesday court filing, Bannon's lawyers argued that the coverage of the committee's hearings would make his trial unfair.Read More January 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he would testify about Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who outlined ways for Trump to challenge the 2020 election.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House's panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.The demand for Cipollone to appear before the committee comes after explosive testimony from a former top White House aide in the Trump administration, who described Trump and his inner circle's actions before and during the insurrection.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent says Trump's 'girth' would have made it impossible to attack driverOutgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA former White House aide testified that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at a Secret Service agent on January 6, 2021, after they refused to take him to the Capitol building.But former Secret Service agents told Insider they have doubts about the story."Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one former agent said, speaking on background to Insider.  "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."Keep ReadingHouse Republican who led rioter on tour before insurrection could oversee Capitol policeRep. Barry LoudermilkBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Barry Loudermilk — who led a Capitol rioter on a tour of the building the day before the insurrection — could end up overseeing Capitol police.If Republicans regain control of the House, Loudermilk would be next in line to lead the committee that has oversight over the police force attacked by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.Loudermilk has faced backlash from Democrats after video showed him taking a group on a tour of the Capitol building, showing them hallways, security areas, and stairwells. The next day, members of the tour flaunted a sharpened flagpole bearing the American flag as they marched near the Capitol.It remains unclear whether the group entered the Capitol building itself during the riot.Read Full Story Former Jan. 6 committee investigator announces run for SenateSenior investigative counsel John Wood questions witnesses during the third public hearing of the January 6 committee on June 16, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee investigator John Wood is launching an independent Senate campaign in Missouri in an effort to stop GOP nominee Eric Greitens.Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes Greitens — the former Missouri governor — is likely to win the Republican nomination, and that voters deserved an alternative.Wood, a Republican, said he will run as an independent.Read MoreTrump ally says Hutchinson's testimony was a 'campaign commercial' for Ron DeSantis in 2024Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisPhelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoExplosive testimony by a former Trump White House aide could be a boost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Trump on the presidential ticket in 2024, CNN reported.One Trump adviser said the hearings — which painted as Trump as violent and volatile — were "basically a campaign commercial" for DeSantis. Another told CNN that "no one is taking this lightly."DeSantis has flirted with larger political ambitions and is a rising Republican star who would be poised to fill the leadership vacuum if Trump is forced aside.Read Full StorySecret Service agents willing to dispute Hutchinson's claims about Trump's outburst, reports sayFormer President Donald TrumpSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSecret Service agents are willing to testify before the January 6 House panel to refute former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's claim that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel when he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to multiple reports.The driver of the car and the head of Trump's security are ready to testify under oath that the former President never lunged for the wheel or physically assaulted the driver, according to CBS News.Read More Hutchinson's testimony could lead to legal trouble for Trump: reportCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoFormer aides to Donald Trump worry the explosive testimony by a former White House aide could put Trump in legal jeopardy, according to the New York Times."This hearing definitely gave investigators a lot to chew on," former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Times after testimony from top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson detailed Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol riot.Hutchinson's testimony painted Trump as a volatile man who knew his supporters were armed on January 6, 2021. Trump also demanded to be taken to the Capitol building, but his security staff refused, Hutchinson said.Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump's White House Chief of Staff, said evidence of possible witness tampering could open his orbit up to charges.Keep Reading  Former Trump press secretary shares text that appears to show Melania Trump to condemn Capitol riot violenceMelania Trump speaks at the White House on October 09, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham shared a text exchange on Tuesday that purportedly showed former First Lady Melania Trump refusing to condemn the violence during the Capitol riot. The apparent screengrab of a text exchange was between Grisham and a person named "MT." "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?" read the message. "No," the person replied.Representatives for Melania Trump at Trump's post-presidential press office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read Full StoryJohn Eastman drops lawsuit blocking his phone records from January 6 committeeJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APIn a late Tuesday filing, John Eastman dropped a lawsuit he'd filed to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from accessing his phone records."Plaintiff brought this lawsuit primarily to protect the content of his communications, many of which are privileged," the latest filing read. "The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff's communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon."The former Trump lawyer's phone was seized by federal agents on June 22, according to a separate suit he filed on Monday, seeking the return of his property. Of interest to investigators are call logs from Eastman's personal device, and the search warrant indicates investigators will not review any additional content from his phone without a court order. Read Full StoryTrumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoIt took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. READ MOREFox News host says it's not 'wholly out of character' that Trump 'might throw his lunch' after January 6 testimony on ketchup dripping down the wallFormer President Donald Trump and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesMoments after a colleague referred to Tuesday's January 6 committee testimony as "stunning," Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall.""I mean, I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just — knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years — if he got angry then he might throw his lunch," MacCallum said. "I'm not sure. It's obviously a very dramatic detail, and the way that she describes it, um, is. But I'm not sure if this is wholly out of character with the Donald Trump and the President Trump that people came to know over the years."READ MOREHere are all the people who sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, per January 6 committee witnessesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are ch.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

Jan. 6 live updates: Pat Toomey says Trump"s chances of winning the GOP"s 2024 presidential nomination are "much more tenuous" after the January 6 hearings

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The House committee investigating the Capitol riot held a surprise hearing on Tuesday. Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide under former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified. Hutchinson said that Trump knew supporters were armed and even tried to get to the Capitol himself. GOP. Rep Adam Kinzinger says Cassidy Hutchinson is a 'hero' and has 'more courage than most' Republicans after January 6 testimonyCassidy Hutchinson testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday applauded Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony to the January 6 committee, saying the former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has "more courage" than most of his Republican colleagues. "Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero and a real patriot (not a faux 'patriot' that hates America so much they would attempt a coup.)," Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said in a tweet."Of course they will try to bully and intimidate her. But she isn't intimidated. More courage than most in GOP," Kinzinger added of Hutchinson.Read Full StoryGOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearingsRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with Trump in February 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024."I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot."Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."Read Full StoryCheney 'absolutely confident' that former White House aide's explosive testimony is credibleRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair of the House's January 6 committee, said she is "absolutely confident" that a former White House aide's damning testimony is accurate."I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told ABC News's Jonathan Karl about the allegations made by top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson this week.Cheney said that Hutchinson showed "an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage" by testifying.Read MoreBannon wants his contempt trial to be delayed because of Jan. 6 hearingsSteve Bannon outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesTrump ally Steve Bannon has asked for his contempt-of-Congress trial to be delayed because the hearings on the Capitol riot are getting so much publicity.A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November 2021 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.In a Wednesday court filing, Bannon's lawyers argued that the coverage of the committee's hearings would make his trial unfair.Read More January 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he would testify about Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who outlined ways for Trump to challenge the 2020 election.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House's panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.The demand for Cipollone to appear before the committee comes after explosive testimony from a former top White House aide in the Trump administration, who described Trump and his inner circle's actions before and during the insurrection.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent says Trump's 'girth' would have made it impossible to attack driverOutgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA former White House aide testified that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at a Secret Service agent on January 6, 2021, after they refused to take him to the Capitol building.But former Secret Service agents told Insider they have doubts about the story."Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one former agent said, speaking on background to Insider.  "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."Keep ReadingHouse Republican who led rioter on tour before insurrection could oversee Capitol policeRep. Barry LoudermilkBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Barry Loudermilk — who led a Capitol rioter on a tour of the building the day before the insurrection — could end up overseeing Capitol police.If Republicans regain control of the House, Loudermilk would be next in line to lead the committee that has oversight over the police force attacked by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.Loudermilk has faced backlash from Democrats after video showed him taking a group on a tour of the Capitol building, showing them hallways, security areas, and stairwells. The next day, members of the tour flaunted a sharpened flagpole bearing the American flag as they marched near the Capitol.It remains unclear whether the group entered the Capitol building itself during the riot.Read Full Story Former Jan. 6 committee investigator announces run for SenateSenior investigative counsel John Wood questions witnesses during the third public hearing of the January 6 committee on June 16, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee investigator John Wood is launching an independent Senate campaign in Missouri in an effort to stop GOP nominee Eric Greitens.Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes Greitens — the former Missouri governor — is likely to win the Republican nomination, and that voters deserved an alternative.Wood, a Republican, said he will run as an independent.Read MoreTrump ally says Hutchinson's testimony was a 'campaign commercial' for Ron DeSantis in 2024Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisPhelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoExplosive testimony by a former Trump White House aide could be a boost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Trump on the presidential ticket in 2024, CNN reported.One Trump adviser said the hearings — which painted as Trump as violent and volatile — were "basically a campaign commercial" for DeSantis. Another told CNN that "no one is taking this lightly."DeSantis has flirted with larger political ambitions and is a rising Republican star who would be poised to fill the leadership vacuum if Trump is forced aside.Read Full StorySecret Service agents willing to dispute Hutchinson's claims about Trump's outburst, reports sayFormer President Donald TrumpSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSecret Service agents are willing to testify before the January 6 House panel to refute former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's claim that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel when he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to multiple reports.The driver of the car and the head of Trump's security are ready to testify under oath that the former President never lunged for the wheel or physically assaulted the driver, according to CBS News.Read More Hutchinson's testimony could lead to legal trouble for Trump: reportCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoFormer aides to Donald Trump worry the explosive testimony by a former White House aide could put Trump in legal jeopardy, according to the New York Times."This hearing definitely gave investigators a lot to chew on," former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Times after testimony from top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson detailed Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol riot.Hutchinson's testimony painted Trump as a volatile man who knew his supporters were armed on January 6, 2021. Trump also demanded to be taken to the Capitol building, but his security staff refused, Hutchinson said.Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump's White House Chief of Staff, said evidence of possible witness tampering could open his orbit up to charges.Keep Reading  Former Trump press secretary shares text that appears to show Melania Trump to condemn Capitol riot violenceMelania Trump speaks at the White House on October 09, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham shared a text exchange on Tuesday that purportedly showed former First Lady Melania Trump refusing to condemn the violence during the Capitol riot. The apparent screengrab of a text exchange was between Grisham and a person named "MT." "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?" read the message. "No," the person replied.Representatives for Melania Trump at Trump's post-presidential press office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read Full StoryJohn Eastman drops lawsuit blocking his phone records from January 6 committeeJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APIn a late Tuesday filing, John Eastman dropped a lawsuit he'd filed to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from accessing his phone records."Plaintiff brought this lawsuit primarily to protect the content of his communications, many of which are privileged," the latest filing read. "The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff's communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon."The former Trump lawyer's phone was seized by federal agents on June 22, according to a separate suit he filed on Monday, seeking the return of his property. Of interest to investigators are call logs from Eastman's personal device, and the search warrant indicates investigators will not review any additional content from his phone without a court order. Read Full StoryTrumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoIt took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. READ MOREFox News host says it's not 'wholly out of character' that Trump 'might throw his lunch' after January 6 testimony on ketchup dripping down the wallFormer President Donald Trump and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesMoments after a colleague referred to Tuesday's January 6 committee testimony as "stunning," Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall.""I mean, I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just — knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years — if he got angry then he might throw his lunch," MacCallum said. "I'm not sure. It's obviously a very dramatic detail, and the way that she describes it, um, is. But I'm not sure if this is wholly out of character with the Donald Trump and the President Trump that people came to know over the years."READ MOREHere are all the people who sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, per January 6 committee witnessesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are ch.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022