Business week in review
Sunday 23 December 2012
Euan Sutherland, the chief operating officer at B&Q-owner Kingfisher, is downing his DIY tools to become the chief executive of The Co-operative Group. Mr Sutherland, who has 18 years' experience at companies, including Boots, Dixons, Coca-Cola and Superdrug, will join in May, taking over from Peter Marks. The Co-op delivered total revenues of £13.3bn last year across its banking, grocery, chemist and funeral divisions but its profits slipped in what Mr Marks described as the "toughest" economic conditions in more than 40 years.
In Russia, Norilsk Nickel, the world's biggest nickel and palladium producer, unveiled its co-owner, Vladimir Potanin, as its new chief executive in a Kremlin-inspired deal to end a boardroom war. Fellow Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club, will take a 20 per cent voting stake and act as a buffer between Mr Potanin and rival Oleg Derispaska, who owns a share in Norilsk through Rusal, the world's top aluminium manufacturer.
Mark Zuckerberg, boss of Facebook, may have lost friends after the fall in the social network's shares floating at $38 in May, but this week gained others by donating nearly half a million dollars-worth of shares to a Silicon Valley charity.
...at a loss
Sergio Ermotti, the chief executive of UBS, suffered a day of shame this week after the banking giant agreed to pay $1.5bn to US, UK and Swiss regulators for trying to manipulate the Libor inter-bank lending rate. The Financial Services Authority fined the Swiss bank £160m – three-times the £59.5m fine imposed on Barclays in June for Libor-rigging. Mr Ermotti said on Wednesday: "We deeply regret this inappropriate and unethical behaviour."
Lloyd's of London was also in the doldrums when it said Superstorm Sandy could cost it up to $2.5bn. While the brutal storm on the US east coast in October was one of the costliest in the insurance market's history, Richard Ward, the boss of the 324-year institution, said its exposure to the storm is well within the worst-case scenarios its prepares for.
An uncertain economic outlook was blamed by Aggreko, the power supplier, for a forecast £100m shortfall in its revenues next year. Rupert Soames, the chief executive of the company which provided power for the London Olympics, partly blamed the expected fall on the likelihood that some Japanese contracts will not be renewed.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
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