Apple’s Grand Designs — CEO Daily, Friday 22nd December
• In The Beginning Was a Misjudged Word…
John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John’s, said he’ll step down as CEO. The move comes less than two months after Schnatter complained about the impact of the NFL anthem protests on his business. The complaint was, to all appearances, entirely grounded in fact. But airing it without any reference to the broader concerns exposed Schnatter to outrage from both sides of the cultural divide, something that would be fatal for today’s CEO even if the stock price weren’t already 30% down for the year.
• Away in a Merger Discussion
Boeing and Brazilian regional jet maker Embraer said they were in talks about a “potential combination,” a move that mirrors Airbus’s cozying up to Bombardier. Embraer needs the deal more than Boeing, inasmuch as the prospect of its big Canadian rival getting access to Airbus’s sales and marketing clout has very negative implications for it. For Boeing, the logic is less clear, not least since getting into bed with a company part-owned by a corruption-prone state creates numerous governance risks. President Carlos Temer has promised not to cede control of the “crown jewel” of Brazilian industry.
• Slaughter of the Bitcoin Innocents
The dollar price of Bitcoin (note: we still can’t bring ourselves to talk about its ‘value’) fell by over 25% in less than 24 hours as a long-overdue correction arrived. We’d like to rationalize the moves, but that would assume a degree of rationality that we can’t quite establish today—beyond the natural instinct of winners to take their chips off the table in order to enjoy some peace of mind over the next 10 days. All at the expense of the last to jump on the bandwagon, obviously. Even so, the dip quickly found buyers: at the time of writing, it’s back at $ 13,388, up nearly 7% from its intra-day low. Most other digital currencies suffered similar fates.
• Nunc Dimittis, Says Schmidt
Eric Schmidt is to step down as executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet. Schmidt tweeted only that he “can’t wait to dive into the latest in science, technology and philanthropy” and said he would continue “working with Larry (Page) and Sergey (Brin)” at Alphabet. According to the company, Schmidt will continue to advise some of Alphabet’s businesses such as its smart cities venture Sidewalk Labs.