Brexit Vote Delayed, GoPro, Google’s Sundar Pichai: CEO Daily for December 11, 2018
It’s been a big year for CEO apologies. Fortune editors assembled some of the most memorable for their wrap of the year in business:
—Build-a-Bear’s Sharon Price John took to the Today Show to apologize when her company’s “Pay Your Age” promo went awry.
—Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for the apparently racially motivated arrest of two black customers in a Philadelphia store and promised to “do whatever we can to make it right.”
—Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also took to television to tell users his “main priority has been to listen to you.”
—Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square had to apologize after tweeting out a visit to Chick-fil-A during Pride Month.
—Nike’s Mark Parker had to apologize for a corporate culture that “excluded some people and failed to adequately heed staff complaints.”
—Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had to apologize again…and again.
Not everyone was repentant. Les Moonves said he regretted some of his advances on women, but insisted he always knew “no means no.”
And Sanofi, maker of Ambien, refused to bow when Rosanne Barr blamed the drug for her offensive tweets. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects,” the company responded, “racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
Then there was Elon Musk. Sorry is not part of his vocabulary.
More highlights of the year in business here. News below.
Not Sorry: Theresa May
British prime minister Theresa May delayed Tuesday’s scheduled vote on the Brexit treaty she negotiated. The deal’s prospects, and May’s, looked dim. Instead, she told Britons Monday she would return to Brussels to clarify the clause that prevents a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. European Commission president Claude Juncker said Tuesday morning that the European Union would not renegotiate treaty terms, while the European Parliament’s Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt said there was room for a “political declaration” that made an Irish border sound less likely. Financial Times.
GoPro will move production facilities out of China for U.S.-bound cameras in response to the year-long but now-paused tariff war between the two countries. GoPro executive VP and CFO Brian McGee put a positive spin on the story: “We believe this diversified approach to production can benefit our business regardless of tariff implications.” CNBC.
Not Sorry: Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sunday Pichai will answer questions before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Republicans plan to ask him about alleged censorship and biased data filtering. A harder question may be why Google is developing search software that meets the censorship requirements of China’s government while rejecting bidding for an American military contract. “Even as we expand into new markets we never forget our American roots,” Pichai said in a statement. Fox Business.
Sorry: Former Senators
A bipartisan group of 44 former U.S. senators write that the coming end of the Mueller investigation into U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign and the start of a related House investigation signal dangerous times for the rule of law in the country. They called on present senators to put country ahead of party: “At times we were allies and at other times opponents, but never enemies. We all took an oath swearing allegiance to the Constitution.“ The Washington Post.
Around the Water Cooler
Who wins when oil crashes? Analysts are on it. It used to include countries that consumed a lot of oil, such as the U.S., but now that the U.S. is a net oil exporter, things may not be so clear. Wall Street Journal.
French president Emmanuel Macron offered to raise the minimum wage and reduce some taxes on pension and overtime income in response to the yellow vest protest movement. “I take my share of the responsibility,” he said. WSJ.
Low Cost Sky Spies
Satellite images reveal the scope of an 8-year-old and counting gold rush in the Amazon. Cheap satellite imagery from Planet Labs and other providers are starting to make on-going global monitoring more accessible. Reuters.
Power to the MP
A British member of parliament grabbed a 5-foot mace during Monday’s acrimonious session in which prime minister Theresa May said she was delaying the scheduled Brexit vote. The mace dates to the reign of Charles II and symbolizes parliament’s power. He returned it peacefully. Bloomberg.