Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Journalist Maria Ressa is cleared of tax evasion charges, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul faces a political defeat, and Jacinda Ardern decides it’s time to step aside. Have a thoughtful Thursday.
– Time to go. From the start of Jacinda Ardern’s tenure as New Zealand prime minister, she’s done things her own way. The Labour politician became the world’s youngest female head of government in 2017. She welcomed her first child while in office in 2018 and brought her baby to the floor of the UN general assembly. She remained a straight talker, speaking to her constituents like a real person and not a scripted politician.
So while Ardern’s announcement yesterday that she plans to resign as New Zealand’s prime minister was surprising, the way she shared the news wasn’t. “I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice,” the 42-year-old said. “I am human, politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”
Ardern’s burnout is understandable after her past five years. In 2019, she responded to the massacre of more than 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch. Then she shut down her country’s borders and distinguished herself with one of the world’s most successful responses to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She even responded creatively to less urgent challenges, like a recent hot-mic moment when she was caught calling an opposition lawmaker an “arrogant prick.” The pair later teamed up to raise money for a prostate cancer charity.
The prime minister said she reflected on whether to continue on in her role during New Zealand’s recent summer recess and ultimately concluded it was time to step aside, effective by Feb. 7. Her party is facing a tough reelection campaign, unlikely to result in the kind of cruise to victory Ardern oversaw two years ago.
Despite all her accomplishments, she hopes she’ll be remembered most as “someone who always tried to be kind.” “I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused,” she said. “And that you can be your own kind of leader—one who knows when it’s time to go.”
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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Charges cleared. Journalist and Rappler founder Maria Ressa was cleared of tax evasion charges. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used the charges to attempt to muzzle her reporting. NPR
- College crew. Columbia University named Nemat Shafik, London School of Economics president and former Bank of England governor, as its next president. She will be the university's first female president and joins women now leading Harvard, Dartmouth, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania. New York Times
- In the room. A new lawsuit alleges that former Barclays chief Jes Staley "personally observed the sexual abuse of young women" by Jeffrey Epstein. The anonymous plaintiff sued JPMorgan, where Staley had Epstein as a client. Staley's lawyer has said that he "had no involvement in any of the alleged crimes committed by Epstein." JPMorgan declined to comment. Guardian
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Ulta Beauty hired former Samsung exec Michelle Crossan-Matos as CMO. Alto Pharmacy CEO Alicia Boler Davis joins the board of JPMorgan Chase. Mentor Worldwide LLC named Alenka Brzulja worldwide president. Candice Faktor joins the board of DreamBox Learning. Payoneer named Bea Ordonez deputy CFO, with a plan to soon take over as CFO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Courting controversy. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's nomination of Hector LaSalle to be the state's chief judge for the Court of Appeals turned into a political debacle. Progressives, labor unions, and women's groups have all spoken out against Hochul's choice as being too conservative; a committee rejected his nomination yesterday. Politico
- Data breach. Online pharmacies that sell medication abortion are sharing information about customers with Google, a new investigation found. Browser data shared with the tech giant could potentially be used to identify users of the sites. ProPublica
- Silver wave. Models in their 60s, 70s, and 80s are part of a new "silver wave" in the fashion and beauty industries. It's not just Maye Musk; celebrity spokespeople like Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda are in demand, as are previously unknown models. Wall Street Journal
ON MY RADAR
Pregnant in a war zone: the mother of all assignments The Times
Why That's So Raven was a game-changer for plus-size fashion Teen Vogue
How Cheyenne Parker is raising her daughter, playing in Italy, and learning about life along the way The Athletic
"My hope is that students playing on the Allyson Felix Field—or just walking by—will see her name prominently displayed and be curious to learn more about her talent, grit, and generosity."
- University of Southern California president Carol L. Folt announced that the school would name a field after the alumna and Olympic track star.
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