Good morning, Broadsheet readers! A major B-school reaches gender parity, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has a Supreme headache, and Ivanka Trump kills off her fashion brand. Make the most of your Wednesday!
• Closing up shop. Ivanka Trump made the surprise announcement yesterday that she’s shutting down her namesake fashion brand.
Since entering the White House, Trump has separated herself from the clothing and accessories label but retained her ownership of it through a trust, an arrangement that raised concerns about conflicts of interest.
She had imposed restrictions on the company to try to avoid ethical tangles, such as ordering the company to refrain from expansion overseas and a requirement that it get her approval before brokering agreements with new domestic partners. The company, for instance, scrapped a distribution deal with a Japanese company after learning it had ties to the government there.
As it’s faced those hurdles, it’s suffered sales troubles and consumer boycotts as well. Stores like Nordstrom dropped the line, while Neiman Marcus Group and T.J. Maxx scaled back or changed how the merchandise was displayed. Just this month, there was news that Hudson’s Bay, a Canadian company, was removing the brand from its stores. The label’s online sales via Amazon.com, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Zappos.com plunged nearly 55% in the 12 months to June, versus the year-earlier period, reports Rakuten Intelligence, which gathers email receipts from 5.5 million U.S. customers.
While the announcement yesterday signals an end for Ivanka Trump, the brand, it may signal a new era for Ivanka Trump, the political figure. The shuttering of the business is arguably a tacit acknowledgement of its struggles, but the decision also seems to indicate a renewed commitment by the first daughter to D.C. amid speculation that she and husband Jared Kushner may exit the administration. (The president himself has reportedly suggested they’d be happier back in New York.)
“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business,” Trump said, “but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington. So making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.” Wall Street Journal
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• With the program. The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business has become the first major American business school to achieve gender parity in its full-time MBA program. It reported that 52% of its incoming MBA students this fall are women, an impressive 20 percentage point leap from 32% last year. Poets and Quants
• Patently wrong. A new report reveals that women of color, particularly black and Hispanic women, are less likely to obtain U.S. patent rights than white women and men. The finding is especially frustrating since black and Hispanic women have led the wave of new female-owned businesses over the last 20 years. Fast Company
• Not taking the bait. Margrethe Vestager, the European Union antitrust cop who hit Google with that $5 billion fine, refused to be drawn into a war of words with President Donald Trump, who’s attacked her decision on Twitter. The competition commissioner said yesterday that it’s “very important not to politicize antitrust enforcement.” Bloomberg
• Launching pad. The Indian government has decided to scrap a 12% tax it had placed on sanitary pads as it tried to bring all the nation’s goods under a single tax system. Sanitary pads will now be tax-free, thanks in large part to a campaign by lawmaker Sushmita Dev, whose petition to eliminate the tax received more than 400,000 signatures. CNN
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Godiva Chocolatier has hired Virginie Costa as CFO. She previously served as chief financial and operations officer for Burberry.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Eyes on the Prize. No woman has won the Nobel Prize in physics since 1964, when Maria Goeppert Mayer captured it for describing the layered, shell-like structures of atomic nuclei. While it’s no Nobel substitute, Wired has published a feature on Sau Lan Wu, the Enrico Fermi distinguished professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, whom the magazine argues “might have won the physics prize in the intervening 55 years” if we lived in a “different world.” Wired
• Heidi’s headache. The upcoming vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is especially tricky for North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat. The party needs all 49 of its senators to oppose Kavanaugh in order to block his appointment, but Heitkamp is one of 10 Democratic senators seeking reelection in a state President Donald Trump won in 2016, meaning her already-difficult path to another term would get even tougher should she vote against Kavanaugh. New York Times
• Same old story. IBM’s India Research lab examined the works shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the annual literary award for works of fiction written in English and published in the U.K., and found them to be rife with stereotypes. The study, which looked at nominees between 1969 and 2017, revealed male characters as central figures in plots; depicted as powerful, wealthy and strong. At the same time, female characters were more likely to be depicted as beautiful or romantic. Quartz
ON MY RADAR
The comedy-destroying, soul-affirming art of Hannah Gadsby New York Times
To succeed in Silicon Valley, you still have to act like a man Washington Post
Mel Gibson has set the blueprint for a #MeToo comeback. Expect other men to follow it. Vox
Meet the woman making ants the next big thing in biology National Geographic