Skip to Content

Ted Baker, GSK Tesaro, Wall Street #MeToo: Broadsheet December 4

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Emma Walmsley’s GlaxoSmithKline has two major deals in one day, Ted Baker’s CEO is accused of harassment, and some men on Wall Street are embracing troublesome #MeToo strategies. Have a terrific Tuesday.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

• #MeToo backlash on Wall Street. This Bloomberg story, which asserts that the men of Wall Street are “adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women,” blew up my social feeds—and likely yours too.

So, what are those “controversial strategies?” They reportedly range from refusing business dinners with women 35 or younger, to not sitting next to female colleagues on planes, to refusing to meet female employees in rooms without windows. Such Mike Pence-esque behaviors (he refuses to dine alone with women other than his wife) have the potential to mar women’s careers, and “in finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation,” according to Bloomberg.

The reporters spoke to more than 30 senior execs for the piece, though not surprisingly, only one of those three dozen sources agreed to go on the record. While the Bloomberg story’s focus on Wall Street, a notoriously male-dominated field, is unique, this is far from the first we’ve heard of men shifting their professional behavior in response to rising focus on sexual harassment. Take this Lean In survey from earlier this year, which found that male managers are now three times as likely to say they are uncomfortable mentoring women and twice as uncomfortable working alone with a woman compared to the pre-#MeToo era.

Yet I admit that I tend to take these types of reports with a grain of salt. I find it difficult to believe that men who are so skittish around and suspicious of women were ever doing all that much to advance the careers of their female colleagues. Rather, I tend to think that true allies behave more along the lines of one unnamed investment adviser who told Bloomberg that he considered adopting some of these behaviors, only to at last land on a different solution: “‘Just try not to be an asshole.'”

But you tell me, Broadsheet readers—is this a phenomenon we should be paying more attention to? Is it something you’ve experienced or observed in your career? Let me know at Kristen.Bellstrom@fortune.com (and please include your industry and whether it’s okay to use your response—including first name and last initial—in a future edition of the Broadsheet.)  Bloomberg

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

GSK day. Emma Walmsley of GlaxoSmithKline had a big day yesterday. Her pharmaceutical company’s sale of its Indian unit to Unilever closed for €3.3 billon, and GSK acquired Tesaro, known for its ovarian cancer drug, for $4.16 billion in cash. That latter acquisition—a shift in strategy under Walmsley as GSK reevaluates its approach to oncology drugs—sent the company’s shares down 8%, their biggest one-day drop in 10 years.  MarketWatch

No hugs please. At fashion brand Ted Baker, founder and CEO Ray Kelvin has talked about fostering “a hug culture.” Now employees signed a petition accusing Kelvin of harassment, from that “forced hugging” to trying to massage staffers and asking them for sex. The company said it would start an investigation. New York Times

• Bolting from Bolthouse. Campbell Soup sent out the books to potential buyers for its Bolthouse Farms smoothie business—the next step in its retreat from the fresh-foods strategy pioneered by former CEO Denise Morrison. Campbell bought Bolthouse for $1.55 billion during her tenure. CNBC

• A terrible twist. In post-Taliban Afghanistan, the women’s soccer (or football) team was a feel-good story, one of brave players willing to defy hard-liners and of a nation offering new freedoms to its female citizens. But that plot has taken a dark turn as one of the country’s top sports officials has now revealed that members of the women’s team have been sexually abused.  BBC

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Media and advertising agency UM promoted Lynn Lewis to U.S. CEO. Julie Albrecht will be the next CFO at Sonoco. Dara Treseder, a former marketing exec at Apple, Goldman Sachs, and GE, joins 3D-printing startup Carbon as CMO. Margo Husted joins Sub Rosa as CFO and COO.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Royal treatment. If a Californian duchess wants advice from American royalty, Michelle Obama is probably the closest she’s going to get. “Like me, Meghan probably never dreamt that she’d have a life like this, and the pressure you feel—from yourself and from others—can sometimes feel like a lot,” Obama said of Meghan Markle. “So my biggest piece of advice would be to take some time and don’t be in a hurry to do anything.” Good Housekeeping UK

Fashion police. Actress Rania Youssef wore a black dress that revealed her legs through a lace overlay on the red carpet at the Cairo International Film Festival. Now, she faces the possibility of jail time as lawmakers—known for this kind of moral policing through the Egyptian courts—file a lawsuit over “incitement to debauchery.” New York Times

• Mayday. The question facing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May as her Brexit deal approaches a vote in Parliament “seems to be not whether she will lose but by how much,” reports the New York Times New York Times

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.

ON MY RADAR

Japan’s word of the year is a tribute to its women’s Olympic curling team  Quartz

The first opera by a woman dances out of obscurity  New York Times

These novels prove that women make fascinating fictional killers, too  BuzzFeed

QUOTE

I want to make my own opportunities, and I want to be empowered and in control.
Actor Greta Lee, known for 'Girls' and 'High Maintenance,' in a profile in 'The Cut'