Latest business news roundup…
LONDON/BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Talks between Exxon Mobil ( XOM.N ) and Iraq on a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure contract have reached an impasse, Iraqi officials and two industry sources said, in a potential setback to the oil major’s ambitions to expand in the country. FILE PHOTO: An airplane comes in […]
Uber picks VMware’s Zane Rowe as CFO: Bloomberg
(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc has picked VMware Inc’s (VMW.N) Zane Rowe as the top candidate for chief financial officer to lead preparations for the ride-hailing company’s initial public offering in 2019, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The Silicon Valley startup is in advanced talks with Rowe, who is currently CFO at VMware, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. bloom.bg/2qG6c4C An agreement has not been finalized yet and talks could still fall through, Bloomberg said citing one of the sources. Uber’s board of directors has agreed to take the company public in 2019 and is searching for a chief financial officer to lead this effort. The position has been vacant since 2015.
Casino operator Wynn Resorts adds three women to board
Casino operator Wynn Resorts has added three women to its board, amid allegations of sexual misconduct by its former chief executive Steve Wynn. The company said the appointments were a “first step” in efforts to refresh and diversify its board. Shareholders are currently suing Wynn’s board over claims it knew of the allegations against Mr Wynn for years and failed to investigate.
Mr Wynn has denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations “preposterous”. Wynn Resorts said Betsy Atkins, Dee Dee Myers and Wendy Webb had been appointed as independent directors, effective immediately, bringing its board numbers to 11.
“The Wynn Resorts board now comprises 36% women, bringing Wynn into the top 40 S&P 500 companies in terms of female board representation,” the company said in a statement.
Why shops need to connect with their customers
The entrepreneur who brought the Danish retailer Tiger to the UK hopes to repeat that success with a French children’s chain. Philip Bier is opening a branch of France’s ID Kids, which sells toys and clothes, in Wandsworth, south London. He says stores need to connect with customers and that ID Kids stores would be about “experiences”.
The launch comes despite the collapse of Toys R Us and difficulties faced by other retailers including Mothercare. Mr Bier opened the first UK branch of homeware and gadget retailer Tiger with his wife Emma in Basingstoke in 2005 and the chain now has 90 stores. They had a half-share in the venture with its Danish parent company, Zebra Group. Last year Mr Bier sold his stake in Tiger, now known as Flying Tiger Copenhagen, to Zebra and has bought the UK franchise for ID Kids, which has 1,200 stores worldwide.
Plastic straws and cotton bud ban proposed
Plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned in England as part of the government’s bid to cut plastic waste. Announcing a consultation on a possible ban ministers said 8.5bn plastic straws were thrown away in the UK every year. The prime minster said plastic waste was “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world”.
And Theresa May will urge leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which starts later, to follow the UK’s lead in tackling the problem. The Queen will formally open the summit at an event at Buckingham Palace attended by prime ministers and presidents from the 53 states that make up the organisation. Mrs May said the UK was a “world leader” on tackling plastic waste, highlighting the charges that have been introduced for plastic bags, the ban on microbeads and the announcement in March of a consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in England.
AmEx profit tops estimates as record splurge on rewards woos customers
(Reuters) – Credit card issuer American Express Co (AXP.N) easily topped Wall Street targets for quarterly profit as record investments in card rewards and a strengthening U.S. economy contributed to higher customer spending. Shares of AmEx, which ended 1.4 percent higher on Wednesday, added another 3.5 percent in after-hours trading.
New York-based AmEx spent a record $2.35 billion in customer rewards during the first three months of the year, seeking to woo more high-spending customers and counter competition from major U.S. banks. JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Citigroup (C.N) and Bank of America (BAC.N), which have all begun offering premium cards, each saw their card businesses grow in the first quarter.
Starbucks’ Schultz steps in as outrage over cafe arrests simmers
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) turned to long-time leader Howard Schultz on Wednesday to make the case that the U.S. coffee chain accused of racial profiling is committed to offering a “safe space” to customers despite the arrest of two black men in one of its Philadelphia cafes.
Closing 8,000 company-owned cafes on the afternoon of May 29 “to do significant training with our people is just the beginning of what we will do to transform the way we do business and educate our people on unconscious bias,” Schultz, Starbucks’ co-founder and executive chairman, told CBS This Morning. He joined CEO Kevin Johnson and other executives for a meeting with Philadelphia clergy and community leaders later in the day.
Qualcomm begins layoffs as part of cost cuts
“Qualcomm is conducting a reduction of our full-time and temporary workforce,” a company spokesperson who declined to be identifies said, without disclosing the exact numbers of job cuts.
Though the company first evaluated non-headcount expense reductions, it concluded that a workforce reduction is needed to support long-term growth and success, the spokesperson said. Qualcomm said it offered affected employees severance packages. It employed about 33,800 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, as of Sept 24. Bloomberg, which first reported the layoffs, said the size of the job cuts is large enough that Qualcomm will have to file a WARN notice, or Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, with the state of California.