MINISTER ATTACKS GREEN LOBBY
The climate change minister has rounded on the “environmental Taliban” of green campaigners, insisting they are wrong to accuse the government of abandoning its commitment to a low carbon agenda. Greg Barker said: “There is nothing environmental about exporting manufacturing jobs abroad.” Barker has led the contentious efforts to rein in solar generation costs.
1.2BN APP DOWNLOADS AT CHRISTMAS
More than 1.2bn apps were downloaded on to mobile phones and tablet devices during Christmas week, a new study says, marking the first time that more than 1bn app downloads have been recorded in a week. About 20m Android and Apple devices were activated during Christmas week, according to mobile analytics firm Flurry.
RIM CONSIDERS NEW CHAIRMAN
Research In Motion, the Canadian manufacturer of the BlackBerry smartphones, may bow to investor pressure and name an independent director as chairman of the beleaguered company. Under the plan Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, co-chief executives of RIM, would relinquish their additional titles of co-chairman to make way for a new chairman. Barbara Stymiest, an independent director, is said to be the frontrunner for the position.
WAVE OF CHINA DELISTINGS IN US
The value of Chinese companies delisting from US exchanges in 2011 exceeded the amount Chinese companies raised via initial public offerings in the US, a stark sign of how fraud allegations and slowing growth have made many foreign investors bearish on Chinese groups. Chinese companies with a combined equity value of $3.5bn were taken private in 2011.
SNB GOVERNOR’S WIFE SAID TO SHORT THE SWISSIE
The Governor of Switzerland’s central bank is under pressure to explain why his wife transferred $500,000 of Swiss currency into US dollars shortly before authorities intervened to cap the value of the soaraway franc. Mrs Hildebrand bought half a million dollars on 15 August, three weeks before the Swiss National Bank plunged into the currency markets to put a cap on the value of the “Swissie”.
DIAGEO CHIEF EXECUTIVE SWITCHES TO AVANTI
Paul Walsh, the long-serving chief executive of Diageo, has moved into the satellite industry after being appointed as a non-executive director of Avanti Communications, adding heavyweight City experience to the board. Avanti’s share price rose by four per cent, or 11p, to 301p.
The Daily Telegraph
EQUITY RED STAR ESCAPES £1M FINE
Equity Red Star has avoided a £1m fine by the Lloyd’s of London insurance market following an investigation into its underwriting standards. The home and motor insurer has been ordered to pay £95,000 towards the costs of the investigation after admitting two charges of “detrimental conduct”. The charges relate to losses incurred by the underwriting syndicate, which has been hit heavily by a rise in personal injury claims.
ANALYST WARNS BARCLAYS OVER TAX
Barclays has been warned that its reputation is being “tarnished” by the persistent use of “complicated financial structures” to boost profits. Bruce Packard at Seymour Pierce said Barclays risks a customer backlash if it does not reduce its exposure to offshore tax havens or limit legitimate tax avoidance.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
SEARS HIRES RETAIL VETERAN
Sears Holdings, long criticised for giving short shrift to the shopping experience, has hired a retail veteran, the chief exec of Brookstone, to oversee a revamping of its Sears and Kmart stores. Ron Boire, who previously served in top merchandising roles for Toys R Us and Best Buy, instantly becomes one of the most seasoned retail executives at the struggling chain-store holding company.
OLYMPUS HOTLINE DIDN'T BLOW WHISTLE
The two Olympus executives who allegedly masterminded the concealment of $1.5bn in losses also oversaw the company’s whistleblowing hotline. Employees “were afraid to express views that were different” from those held by the company's “autocratic leadership,” according to a recent independent report.