Bloomberg Businessweek August 2, 2021

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50 Numeri

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2 min
in brief

Coronavirus cases are approaching 196 million worldwide, and almost 4.2m people have died. Globally, more than 3.9 billion vaccine doses have been given. The more infectious delta variant continues to spread; it now accounts for more than 80% of new cases in the U.S. ▷ 34 China cracked down on property, private education, technology, and other sectors of the economy. That’s spooked investors, who sold off related stocks, concerned that authorities in Beijing will tighten regulation on some of the country’s most vibrant industries. ▷ 17, 68 The leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, agreed in letters to restore communications between the two countries. Relations soured last year after the north accused Seoul of spreading anti-Pyongyang messages. Freezing weather in Brazil has damaged plantations, pushing futures for a…

3 min
u.s. action against cybercriminals is more useful than ‘red lines’

After months of big talk and little action, President Joe Biden’s administration has finally taken a useful step in addressing cyberattacks—one that could avoid a looming crisis while also holding bad actors to account. On July 19 the U.S. and its allies exposed what they called a yearslong campaign of cyber intrusions backed by the Chinese government. A statement from the White House outlined charges of espionage, data theft, hacking (including the recent compromise of Microsoft Exchange), and ransomware attacks. The Department of Justice also unveiled an indictment against four Chinese security officials for a global campaign of intellectual-property theft. It’s the kind of response that’s been missing for some time. As the U.S. has suffered from a growing array of such attacks—and not just from China—Biden has responded mostly with rhetoric…

1 min
clipping growth

BP reports earnings on Aug. 3. They were likely bolstered by extensive spending cuts across the industry, as well as a lack of new major projects and rising oil and gas prices. Australia’s central bank sets borrowing costs on Aug. 3. Recent coronavirus outbreaks and lockdowns have dimmed economic prospects, keeping higher rates a ways off. HSBC releases its earnings on Aug. 2. An economic rebound in the U.K. and a strategic overhaul in Asia have helped spur profits at Europe’s largest bank. On Aug. 1, Mexico holds a referendum—called for by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador—to determine if his predecessors can be prosecuted for corruption. An investment ban by President Biden on 59 companies with ties to China’s military or surveillance industry takes effect on Aug. 2. Investors have one year to fully…

4 min
what happens after peak everything?

Everywhere you look, there are peaks. Economic indicators, corporate earnings, commodity prices, even global monetary policy support—all appear to have reached a natural limit and have nowhere to go but down. A loss of momentum after “peak everything” will inevitably trouble investors already worried about the U.S. economy’s staying power and the prospect of higher inflation. Yet a slowdown is likely to take us to a level that will still be well above the sluggish pace of the pre-pandemic years. Does that mean living with higher inflation? Yes. But it also means a stronger economy. The extraordinary responses to the pandemic by the Federal Reserve and Congress helped blunt the economic blow of lockdowns and set the stage for a powerful recovery. The effects of those efforts aren’t going away anytime soon,…

1 min
the new talent pool

Before the digital age, the corporate talent factories were almost exclusively large companies, such as General Electric and Procter & Gamble, that devoted significant resources to develop managers. Today, corporate America is increasingly looking for flexibility, entrepreneurship, and innovation in future leaders. That’s shifting the advantage to companies like Starbucks that have built agility into their culture (page 11) and even pushing insular ones like GE to widen their recruiting (page 12). While classic managers are still very much in style in China (page 14), demand for new-age positions like diversity manager, chief medical officer, or even vice president of remote experience (page 13) is proliferating. “There’s a whole new level of assessment that has come into play post-Covid,” says Gretchen Crist, a recruiter at RSR Partners. “Is the executive…

5 min
caffeinated corporate climbers

When Starbucks Corp. announced the abrupt departure of its second-in-command in January, Wall Street was unsettled by the news. Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer, frequently cited as one of the most powerful women in business because of the company’s rapid digital expansion under her watch, would be leaving to lead pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. It was the second big shake-up that month: The chain’s finance chief had just announced his retirement, together prompting a test of Starbucks’s management bench that Gordon Haskett analysts initially called “disconcerting.” But losing Brewer wasn’t the seismic shock Wall Street had feared. In fact, it’s the kind of event Starbucks has come to expect. Corporate recruiters have increasingly descended on the company and its deep bench of diverse entrepreneurial talent when looking to build…