Business News at a Glance
Posted August 6, 2018 9:21 p.m. EDT
Nooyi, CEO Behind PepsiCo’s Health Drive, Steps Down
Indra K. Nooyi will step down as the chief executive of PepsiCo this year, ending a 12-year run in which she sought to refashion the drinks and snacks giant into a purveyor of healthier foods and beverages. Her decision to step down in favor of Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year veteran of the company, is the latest in a series of resignations by women at the helm of major companies, depleting the already thin ranks of women business leaders. Her tenure was characterized by a focus on shifting from sugary soft drinks, which were less and less profitable.
Joanna Coles Quits as Hearst’s Chief Content Officer
The magazine company behind Esquire, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar has lost its chief content officer. Joanna Coles, a former editor of Cosmopolitan who was appointed one of the highest-ranking executives at Hearst Magazines in 2016, has resigned from the company. Her decision to leave ends her 12-year stint at the publisher, which she joined in 2006 as the top editor of Marie Claire. The selection of Troy Young, 50, to take control of Hearst’s magazines last month signaled the company’s intention to move more deeply into digital media. In choosing Young, Hearst had apparently alienated the company’s other star executive.
A Generation Grows Up in China Without Google, Facebook or Twitter
A generation of Chinese is coming of age with an internet that is distinctively different from the rest of the web. Over the past decade, China has blocked Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as thousands of other foreign websites. Now the implications of growing up with this different internet system are starting to play out. Many young people in China have little idea what Google, Twitter or Facebook are, creating a gulf with the rest of the world. And, accustomed to the homegrown apps and online services, many appear uninterested in knowing what has been censored online.
Feeling the Bite From Tariffs That Were Meant to Help It, Alcoa Seeks Exemption
Alcoa would seem to be in prime position to benefit from President Donald Trump’s aluminum tariffs. The 130-year-old U.S. aluminum producer has faced stiff competition from overseas. But on Monday, Alcoa asked the administration for an exemption from the 10 percent tariffs. The reason: The company imports much of its aluminum from Canada, which is among the countries subject to Trump’s metals tariffs. Alcoa’s request underscores the risk the Trump administration faces as it tries to protect U.S. firms by erecting trade barriers. While the tariffs help some companies, they have the potential to hurt thousands of others.
Judge in AT&T Case Ignored ‘Economics and Common Sense,’ Government Says
The Justice Department on Monday laid out its case against a federal court’s approval of the AT&T and Time Warner merger, criticizing a judge for “erroneously ignoring fundamental principles of economics and common sense.” The argument, made to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is the start of the government’s second attempt to stop the $85.4 billion deal. The Justice Department lost its case in June, and AT&T and Time Warner, the owner of CNN and HBO, have since hurried to stich their operations together.
Tech Giants Push Infowars Off Digital Soapbox
Top technology companies erased most of the posts and videos on their services from Alex Jones, the internet’s notorious conspiracy theorist, thrusting themselves into a fraught debate over their role in regulating what can be said online. Apple, Google, Facebook and Spotify severely restricted the reach of Jones and Infowars, his right-wing site that has been a leading peddler of false information online. Jones and Infowars have used social media for years to spread dark and bizarre theories, such as that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax and that Democrats run a global child-sex ring.
The Stock Market’s Next $1 Trillion Milestone: Buybacks
U.S. companies are set to hand a record amount back to shareholders in the coming quarters. Corporate boards have authorized the repurchase of $754 billion of stock so far this year, according to a Goldman Sachs report. And that figure could reach a record $1 trillion by the end of the year. The surge in buybacks is likely to stoke further debate about the $1.5 trillion tax cuts enacted late last year. The White House and congressional Republicans said the tax bill would encourage companies to make long-term investments. Democrats argued it would lead to an increase in share buybacks.