MPs have labelled the ‘spectacular fall’ of collapsed contractor Carillion the result of “recklessness, hubris and greed”. A report by MPs into Carillion’s insolvency has recommended former directors be banned from serving on other company boards, deeming them responsible for Carillion’s “rotten corporate culture” and “costly collapse”. MPs also urged The Competition and Markets Authority to break up the four largest accountancy firms – Deloitte, KPMG, PwC and EY – after they failed to tackle the crisis. Carillion collapsed in January with £1.5bn in debt.
A central banker has claimed the UK economy is entering a “menopausal” phase. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent was criticised on Twitter for the label, which he said financial experts use to describe economies that were “past their peak”. In an interview with The Telegraph, Broadbent compared stagnant growth and wages in the UK to a lull at the end of the 19th century between the ages of steam and electricity, and said artificial intelligence could provide the next boom.
The number of UK billionaires fell in 2017. A report by research firm Wealth-X showed the UK lost 4 billionaires last year, down to 90. The report blamed “Brexit-related activities” for the decline, with the UK the only country in the top 10 to record a fall in billionaires. Overall, the number of billionaires worldwide surged to 2,754. The US topped the list, accounting for 25% of the global billionaire population– more than China, Germany and India combined.
Sir Philip Green’s retail empire has reported a 42% slump in profits. Taveta Investments, the holding company for brands including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, recorded a 5.6% fall in total sales to £1.9bn. This year’s Sunday Times Rich List showed Sir Philip Green lost more than a quarter of his wealth in the last 12 months. The retail tycoon was pressured to pay £363m into the BHS pension scheme after the department store chain collapsed in 2016.
Incoming Vodafone CEO Nick Read has committed the telecoms company to its British base post-Brexit. The current CFO is set to take the helm at Vodafone after Vittorio Colao announced he will be stepping down as CEO in October after 10 years in the role. Read declared the company is entering a “new chapter,” pointing to “transformational deals” including the acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable networks in Germany and Eastern Europe for £16bn, announced just last week.
Idea of the Day: Traditional four-year college should not be the only way to earn a degree, says Melinda Gates. Technology and digital learning could give more young people access to further education.
“The graduation stage shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for the few, but an opportunity within reach for everyone.”
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