Goldman Sachs to open office in Birmingham in UK

LONDON (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday it would open a new office in the English city of Birmingham, expanding its office footprint in Britain at a time when many rivals are reducing space due to the pandemic.

The bank said the first staff would begin working in the new office in the third quarter of this year, with headcount growing to several hundred over time.

Goldman said its engineering division would be the first to base staff in Birmingham through a mix of hiring and transfers.

The U.S. banking giant’s CEO David Solomon has been among the most vocal company executives wanting to get staff back to the office as soon as local virus restrictions allow, calling remote working an “aberration” in February.

But other banks – including HSBC – have been quick to target deep office cuts particularly in retail banking and even move some staff to permanent home working.

“We see tremendous opportunity to enhance our UK presence and continue delivering for our global clients,” said Richard Gnodde, chief executive officer for Goldman Sachs International.

Reporting by Iain Withers, Editing by Tommy Wilkes

Intel to produce chips for automakers within six to nine months: CEO

(Reuters) – The chief executive of Intel Corp told Reuters on Monday the company is in talks to start producing chips for car makers to alleviate a shortage that has hobbled factories.

Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger said the company is talking to companies that design chips for automakers about manufacturing those chips inside Intel’s factory network, with the goal of producing chips within six to nine months. Gelsinger earlier on Monday met with White House officials to discuss the semiconductor supply chain.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese

Exclusive: GameStop initiates search for new CEO-Sources

(Reuters) – GameStop Corp is looking for a new chief executive to replace George Sherman as it pivots from being a brick-and-mortar video game retailer to an e-commerce firm, three people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

It would be the biggest shakeup at GameStop since Ryan Cohen, the co-founder and former chief executive of online pet food company Chewy Inc, joined its board in January.

GameStop’s board is working with an executive headhunter on the CEO search, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.

A GameStop spokesman declined to comment.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Dan Grebler

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky

ISS joins Glass Lewis in recommending vote against J&J CEO’s pay package

(Reuters) – Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has joined Glass Lewis in recommending investors reject a proposed pay package of nearly $30 million for Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky.

J&J is attracting investor scrutiny because it partially shields Gorsky from some $9 billion in costs over two years that have arisen from lawsuits claiming the healthcare company fueled the U.S. opioid crisis and allegations of asbestos in its talc baby powder.

In a note to shareholders on Thursday, ISS said “…investors may nonetheless expect an explanation from the company of how the compensation committee considered the extraordinarily large litigation charges when making compensation decisions.”

Last week, Glass Lewis based its recommendation on the argument that the healthcare company was shielding its top executives from the legal cost of poor business decisions.

J&J did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ISS note outside regular business hours.

The company has previously said it has always set aside certain one-time costs, such as litigation, when calculating stock awards for executives, an approach common across corporate America.

Gorsky’s compensation totaled $29.6 million in 2020, up 17% from the previous year. A non-binding resolution on the pay packages will be up for a vote at the company’s annual general meeting on April 22.

Gorsky, who became CEO in 2012, has been at the helm of J&J during the opioid abuse and addiction crisis, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed nearly 450,000 lives in the United States between 1999 and 2018.

In 2019, 50,000 people died in the U.S. from opioid related overdoses, according to the National Institute of Health.

J&J has denied any part in fueling the crisis.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru, and Greg Roumeliotis in New York: Editing by Neil Fullick

BlackRock’s Fink wants more sustainability data from private cos

(Reuters) – BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Larry Fink on Wednesday called for more disclosure requirements for private companies as governments create new accounting standards for sustainable business areas like climate change.

In a letter to shareholders of the world’s largest asset manager, provided by a spokesman, Fink wrote that government “must play the leadership role” in cutting emissions. He called for mandatory disclosures for public and private companies worldwide, coupled with legal protections for companies making their best efforts at describing risks.

“If large private companies are not held to the same level of scrutiny as public companies, we will create an unintended incentive to shift carbon-intensive assets to markets with less transparency and, often, less regulation,” Fink wrote.

Fink’s language was more specific than in a January memo in which he said climate disclosures “should be embraced” by large private companies.

The new wording comes as European Union and U.S. regulators hash out how much sustainability data companies should provide on area like greenhouse gas emissions or workforce demographics.

New York-based BlackRock, with some $8.7 trillion under management, had previously backed mandatory climate reporting. Last month it joined other asset managers pledging to push companies in their portfolios to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

But many of the largest companies, including in fossil fuel industries, are not publicly listed, either because they are in private hands or are state-owned enterprises.

Virgin Media’s chief to be named CEO of merged company after tie-up with O2: Sky News

(Reuters) – Virgin Media’s boss, Lutz Schuler, will be named on Wednesday as the chief executive of the British broadband company’s joint venture with the Telefonica SA’s UK mobile network O2, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

Patricia Cobian, O2’s finance chief, will be appointed to the equivalent role at the joint Venture, Sky News bit.ly/3fO8V6q reported citing city sources.

Virgin Media and Telefonica did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global Plc, is awaiting regulatory approval for its 31 billion-pound ($42.86 billion) tie-up with O2, according to Sky.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has a statutory deadline of late May for making a judgment on the deal, the report added.

Deutsche Bank CEO willing to give up investment bank oversight role – source

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Christian Sewing, chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank, is willing to give up his role overseeing the investment bank in the foreseeable future, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Sewing never intended to permanently keep the job that he added to his duties in an overhaul in 2019.

Sewing has come under pressure from regulators to relinquish day-to-day oversight of its sprawling investment bank, Reuters reported in January.

Handelsblatt earlier on Friday reported that there is movement on the topic of the dual role.

Twitter’s Dorsey called out for trolling Congress during hearing

(Reuters) – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted his frustration with U.S. lawmakers’ questions on the social media platform during a hearing about misinformation on Thursday, leading one member of congress to call out his multi-tasking. ( here)

VIEW ORIGINAL TWEET ON TWITTER

Lawmakers grilled Dorsey and the CEOs of Facebook and Google’s parent Alphabet for almost five hours. Tensions were high as they asked them to answer “yes or no” to questions ranging from whether their platforms bore any responsibility for the Jan. 6 riot to whether they understood the difference between the two words.

During the hearing, Dorsey tweeted “?” with a poll asking Twitter Inc users to vote “yes” or “no.” Democratic Representative Kathleen Rice asked: “Mr. Dorsey, what is winning, yes or no, on your Twitter account poll?”

Dorsey told her that “yes” was winning, to which she replied: “Your multi-tasking skills are quite impressive.”

Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet Inc CEO Sundar Pichai were also witnesses at the joint hearing by two subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Lawmakers from both parties tried throughout the hearing to pin down the tech CEOs with questions needing only “yes” or “no” answers, interrupting them when they tried to give longer ones. Lawmakers quizzed the executives over concerns from COVID-19 misinformation, harassment, hate speech and extremism.

As the hearing took place, Dorsey also liked tweets criticizing aspects of the session, including asking why members of Congress were mispronouncing Pichai’s name, and replied to a tweet confirming that he was barefoot during the call. His poll on Thursday afternoon had more than 71,000 votes.

Intel to spend $20 billion on U.S. chip plants as CEO challenges Asia dominance

(Reuters) – The move by CEO Pat Gelsinger on Tuesday aims to restore Intel’s reputation after manufacturing stumbles sent shares plunging last year. The strategy will directly challenge the two other companies in the world that can make the most advanced chips, Taiwan’s Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) and Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

And it will aim to tilt a technological balance of power back to the United States and Europe as government leaders on both continents have become concerned about the risks of a concentration of chipmaking in Taiwan given tensions with China.

Intel shares rose 7.5% after the company disclosed its new strategy and full-year financial guidance for 2021. Some investors such as Third Point LLC had previously urged Intel to consider spinning off its costly chip manufacturing operations.

Intel said it expects $72 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings per share of $4.55, compared with analyst estimates of $72.9 billion and $4.77 per share, according to Refinitiv data. The company said it expects to spend $19 billion to $20 billion on capital expenditures.

Gelsinger said that 2021 forecast “reflects the industry-wide shortage” of some components such as substrates.

Intel is one of the few remaining semiconductor companies that both designs and manufactures its own chips. Rival chip designers such as Qualcomm Inc and Apple Inc rely on contract manufacturers.

In an interview with Reuters, Gelsinger said Intel has “fully resolved” its problems with its most recent manufacturing technology and is “all systems go” on chips for 2023. It now plans a massive manufacturing expansion.

That will include spending $20 billion on two new factories at an existing campus in Chandler, Arizona, that will create 3,000 permanent jobs. Intel will then work on future sites in the United States and in Europe, Gelsinger said.

Intel will use those factories to make its own chips but also open them to outside customers in what is called a “foundry” business model in the chip industry. Gelsinger said the new factories will focus on cutting-edge computing chip manufacturing, rather than the older or specialty technologies that some manufacturers such as GlobalFoundries specialize in.

“We are absolutely committed to leading process technology capabilities at scale for the industry, and for our customers,” Gelsinger said, adding that Intel has lined up customers for the new factories but could not disclose their names.

He did say on a webcast Tuesday that Amazon.com Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Qualcomm Inc and Microsoft Corp support its efforts to offer chip manufacturing services. On a conference call, Gelsinger said that Intel “will pursue customers like Apple.”

The move is a direct challenge to TSMC and Samsung. The two have come to dominate semiconductor manufacturing business, moving its center of gravity from the United States, where much of the technology was once invented, to Asia, where more than two-thirds of advanced chips are now manufactured.

“Intel’s investment will help to preserve U.S. technology innovation and leadership, strengthen U.S. economic and national security, and protect and grow thousands of high-tech, high-wage American jobs,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

Gelsinger said Intel will aim to change the global chip manufacturing balance by embracing the foundry business where it historically has been a minor player. Intel will offer chip customers the ability to license out its own technological crown jewels – known as x86 computing cores – as well as offer to build chips based on technology from Arm Ltd and RISC-V technology from startup SiFive.

“We will be picking our next sites within the next year for U.S. and Europe,” he said.

The American sites could benefit from a $30 billion subsidy package that lawmakers hope to bring to the floor of the U.S. Senate next month. The bill remains largely unwritten, and Gelsinger said on a conference call that Intel’s plan “does not depend on a penny of government support. It is the right strategy for us going forward.”

Intel also announced plans for new research collaboration with IBM focused on computing chip and packaging technology.

But even as Intel jumps into competition with TSMC and Samsung, it also plans to become a larger customer of theirs by turning to them to make subcomponents of its chips called “tiles” to make some chips more cost-effectively.

“I’ll pick the best process technologies wherever they exist,” Gelsinger said. “I leverage internal and external supply chains. I’ll have the best cost structure. That combination of supply, products and costs, we think is a killer combination.”

Intel has given few details of exactly how it will use outside factories, but analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy said he expects Intel to use them as “gap fillers for some of the highest performance” chip parts until Intel can regain a manufacturing lead over its rivals.

GSK fires Moncef Slaoui Galvani chairman

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline has dismissed Moncef Slaoui, former U.S. government vaccine chief, as chairman of a company controlled by the British drugmaker after an internal investigation found he had sexually harassed a GSK employee several years ago.

GSK said the termination of Slaoui’s contract at Galvani Bioelectronics was with immediate effect. Slaoui, the former chief adviser to the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine development programme known as Operation Warp Speed, was not immediately reachable for comment by telephone and LinkedIn account.

GSK said an investigation of Slaoui’s conduct had substantiated allegations of harassment and inappropriate contact, adding that the probe was ongoing.

The termination of Slaoui’s contract follows receipt of a letter containing the allegations of inappropriate conduct towards the employee of GSK, the company said in a statement. GSK said the allegations stemmed from when Slaoui was an employee of GSK.

In a letter to staff and reviewed by Reuters, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley said the company has been dealing with the allegations since February.

“Dr. Slaoui’s behaviours represent an abuse of his leadership position and violate our company policies, our values, and our commitment to Trust – a commitment I know is shared by all of you,” she said. Galvani is a bioelectronic medicines company set up in 2016 by GlaxoSmithKline and Verily, the life sciences unit of Google parent Alphabet.

Prior to his role at Galvani, Slaoui spent nearly 30 years at GlaxoSmithKline holding various leadership roles including Head of Pharmaceutical R&D and Chairman of its Vaccines division.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump appointed Slaoui to lead his administration’s effort to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines last year. He resigned from the post in January ahead of the incoming administration of President Joe Biden.

Executive behaviour and treatment of employees has been under scrutiny over the past few years following the #MeToo social media movement prompting a string of high-profile boardroom departures.