Note: some of the linked articles below require an FT Subscription to read
US banking giant Wells Fargo stands accused of creating millions of fake accounts in customers’ names in order to meet sales targets. The scandal holds many lessons for corporate executives at all levels. First and foremost is how much responsibility chief executive John Stumpf should take for such egregious misconduct—U.S. lawmakers say he should be ‘criminally investigated’. The broader lessons, highlighted here by FT’s management writer Andrew Hill, looks at how firms can set sales targets and incentives without corrupting the process.
Three FT stories illustrate the disruptive potential of technology trends. Israeli tech start-ups are already redefining an automotive sector that relies increasingly on computers. Meanwhile, the dangers of artificial intelligence, led by today’s big tech companies and how to regulate it, are explained here. Cyber-security, once the domain of IT departments, are now a top priority in company boardrooms, as this interview at the FT’s recent cyber security summit explains, urging companies to work together.
Protectionist threats to global growth
Is globalisation under threat? It’s a serious concern for corporate leaders trying to assess the world economy’s longer-term trading and growth outlook. This FT article on G-20 discussions identifies issues such as protectionism, taxation and inequality that are dividing countries and fuelling anti-globalisation anger among voters. What might lie ahead? This video provides an entertaining glimpse of the future. Meanwhile, the FT’s chief economics commentator Martin Wolf, argues that we need more political co-operation to deal with stagnating international trade and investment, and keep reaping the benefits of global integration. For the more studious executives, there are also many new books on these subjects.
Slaves to the new
One question has long troubled executives, from HR to R&D: how should staff interact with new technology? Here are some answers. In his new book Overcomplicated author Samuel Arbesman writes that technology has grown so complex it has an unexpected life of its own. FT technology writer Jonathan Margolis notes how we happily use outdated technologies, while investment banking correspondent, Laura Noonan, considers Deutsche Bank’s innovative use of “matchmaking” tests to hire graduates. Requires FT subscription to read.
The EU, Apple and ad blocking
Boss worship and how to avoid it
The narcissistic boss is hardly a new phenomenon - consider the US presidential election. But how should companies recognise the danger signs, and what can be done to avoid idealising managers or craving the worship of underlings? A psychotherapist advises.
London's financial future
This analysis of London’s financial future considers the City’s post-Brexit potential over the next 30 years. L&D professionals might find discussion on the impact of technology and millennials especially relevant.
In a hole?
Policymakers will meet at the US mountain resort of Jackson Hole amid concerns about the limits of central banks’ recession-fighting firepower. This FT analysis will be vital for C-Suite decision makers, especially CFOs, in projecting future global growth prospects. L&D professionals might also watch this video for more on the Fed’s thinking, as well as important discussion among EU leaders about the future shape of a post-Brexit European Union.
In the swim
The FT reports that US swimwear maker, Speedo, and other companies, ended their sponsorship deals with US Olympic swimming champion Ryan Lochte after he allegedly lied to Brazilian police about being robbed at gunpoint. Speedo’s US arm said: “We cannot condone behaviour that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.” For Learning & Development professionals, the issue raises important questions about how and when to protect the company brand. Tennis champion Maria Sharapova, for example, retained her sponsorship deals despite failing a drugs test. Are such decisions made according to objective criteria, or based more on the strength of public reaction? And how can companies prepare for such eventualities?
Four Brexit scenarios
Risk analysts continue to struggle with the business implications of Brexit. Given that the outlook will remain hazy over the near future, how should company strategists try to assess the risks today? A good starting point would be to consider several possible scenarios. In this article, the FT has helpfully provided four: a hostile divorce, a clean break, an amicable transition or a change of heart. It’s a simple but effective framework that could assist executives in developing a strategic view on such areas as international expansion plans, hiring EU expats or just resourcing the compliance department. Bear in mind that the probability of each scenario will shift as EU negotiations evolve.