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Daily briefing: Uber chief on leave, Wu held and Japan Inc silent on Toshiba

Daily briefing: Uber chief on leave, Wu held and Japan Inc silent on Toshiba

Daily briefing: Uber chief on leave, Wu held and Japan Inc silent on Toshiba
June 13
23:12 2017

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Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, has decided to go on leave for an indefinite period, after a highly critical report into the ride-hailing company’s dysfunctional management followed hard on the heels of the death of his mother. Mr Kalanick’s hard-driving style has for years defined the transportation company, which has grown to a valuation of $68bn while earning a reputation for breaking the rules and doing whatever it takes to achieve growth.

Here’s the 13-page report, drafted by Covington & Burling following allegations of sexual harassment at the company. Here’s Lex’s take. (FT, NYT)

In the news

Anbang chief detained
Wu Xiaohui, chairman of the acquisitive Chinese insurer, is “unable to perform his duties”, the company said on Tuesday, confirming Chinese media reports that he has been detained by authorities. (FT)

‘I can’t negotiate by myself’
This was the message from Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, to the UK government as he warned that time to agree a deal on Brexit was limited. He pointed out that Britain needed to appoint a negotiating team “very quickly” if it wanted to avoid crashing out of the EU without a deal. A contrite prime minister apologised to her colleagues for the election disaster late on Monday and vowed to clean up the mess. Amid the disarray, business leaders have called for a cross-party group on Brexit. Here’s Martin Wolf on how the UK is sleepwalking toward a chaotic Brexit. (FT)

Sessions rejects allegations of Russian collusion
Jeff Sessions, US attorney-general, blasted suggestions that he had been involved in, or knew of, any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, calling such suggestions ‘an appalling and detestable lie’. Meanwhile, Rod Rosentein, assistant attorney-general, told Congress that there was no reason to fire the man investigating the Trump team’s Russia ties, Robert Mueller, despite reports that Mr Trump was considering the move. (FT)

US threatens further North Korea sanctions
Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state, said Washington is moving closer to placing sanctions on countries that did not clamp down on North Korea as the Trump administration tries to boost pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons programme. (FT)

Apple issues $1bn green bond
The tech giant offered the bond — dedicated to financing clean energy and environmental projects — a year after it issued its first green bond of $1.5bn, the largest issued by a US company, as a response to the 2015 Paris agreement. The new one comes just after the Trump administration withdrew the US from the accord. (Reuters)

Employment rate passes 2007 high
The number of people working in the developed world increased to 61 per cent of 15- to 74-year-olds last year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The good news was tempered by the discovery that many of the newly created jobs offer stagnant pay and no career prospects, fuelling discontent in the world’s 35 wealthiest nations. (FT)

Panama establishes ties with China
The move by Panama is the latest blow to Taiwan as Beijing seeks to isolate the self-governing Asian island. Taipei fears that Beijing could convince other Central American countries to follow suit with promises of investment. (Bloomberg, NAR)

The day ahead

Fed rate rise on the cards
The US Federal Reserve is likely to pull the trigger on a second rate increase this year, confirmation that chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues have not yet allowed soft inflation data to derail their tightening plans. The central bank will probably lift the target range for the federal funds rate by a quarter-point to between 1 per cent and 1.25 per cent. Martin Sandbu argues that a rise — no matter how foreordained — would be a mistake. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Japan Inc gives Toshiba the cold shoulder
Invisible Japanese corporate support network, nearly 70 years old, has balked at bailing out one of its most famous industrial names, sending a chill across Tokyo. (FT)

How the world’s farmers went to work for China
An interactive, graphical look at how China has single-handedly reshaped the global agricultural-commodity supply chain. (Bloomberg)

Why China no longer fears Fed rate rise
The People’s Bank of China no longer lives in fear of a rate rise by the US Federal Reserve. The FT’s Tom Mitchell explains why. (FT)

Essar deal offers hope for indebted India Inc
Henny Sender on a Russian-led group’s looming $13bn purchase of Essar’s oil-refining division — which would be the biggest FDI in India — and what it means for a corporate India wallowing in debt. (FT)

What’s in a name
Giving your child a “foreign” name in Egypt could land you in prison. Parents who give their newborns western names such as “Lara” or “Mark” could receive a jail term of up to six months under a draft law. (Quartz)

Golf membership with Chinese characteristics 
After 18 months of ferocious and vocal opposition to its plans, the Chinese-Thai owner of Wentworth, one of Britain’s most famous golf clubs, has come up with a solution: new rules to prevent members criticising it in the media and to sideline them from having a say in club affairs. (FT)

Out of the flue
This beautiful video from Scotland’s National Library shows how conservator Claire Thompson painstakingly restoreda rare 17th-century map of the world, which had been found jammed in a chimney in Aberdeen. (Slate)

Love your skin 
Black people are often stigmatised for the colour of their skin, and millions try to bleach it in order to look “better”. Attempts to discourage skin bleaches have been largely unsuccessful. How can internalised biases against dark skin be overcome? (The Conversation)

Video of the day

Unheralded Chinese bonds offer
James Kynge, the FT’s emerging markets editor, explains the complexities that foreign investors face when considering buying Chinese government bonds. (FT)

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