THE WEEK’S OVERVIEW – CORPORATE

Items of interest that might have been missed in the press of events:

  • Fox Corporation is buying a majority stake in loan-data provider Credible Labs Inc.  Fox has said that the deal is part of its digital strategy, emphasizing direct interaction with consumers and that the company will also become a resource for its Fox Business Network.
  • Eighteen months ago, when John Flint was named CEO of HSBC Holdings, he had planned on being remembered as the CEO who led expansion into China, fomented surging profits and made the bank a better place to work.  However, HSBC has recently announced that, by mutual agreement, they and Flint will be parting ways, after months of concern over leadership style and lack of ability to take decisive action.  The company’s board chairman has offered that “we believe the environment we’re going into needs a different person to take that forward.”  Which seems to imply that the new leader will be chosen from outside the company.
  • Plant-based burger makers say that their products are better for the planet than beef – it remains to be seen, however, if they are better for consumers’ health (ref. WSJ).  To date, the research to answer that question has yet to be conducted.
  • The technology that drives current customer service operations in corporations assists in telling those companies: how long they can make a customer wait for a human to talk with; how many ads they will tolerate while doing so; what the customer’s tone of voice implies about their probable reaction; and what steps they must take to keep customers loyal – and which they can skip.  In a perverse change to “customer service,” companies are busy assessing just how far they can push a customer before the customer will discontinue service with the company.  Somehow, that doesn’t sound like customer service. . .
  • A current theory that’s being posited is that activist investors target female CEOs.  The latest case concerns Vicki Hollub, CEO, Occidental Petroleum and her recent bid to increase the company’s activity in the Parmian Basin.  Hollub has been roundly criticized by activist investor Carl Icahn.  Researchers who have looked at the bigger picture of female versus male corporate CEOs say that there appears to be good evidence that female CEOs are targeted more often.

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