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A V.P. pick that big business can back
Joe Biden has selected Senator Kamala Harris of California as his vice-presidential running mate. On Monday, we wrote about how Mr. Biden was gaining traction among crucial donors in Big Finance and Big Tech. His pick for V.P. looks to have strengthened that support.
Wall Street is happy about the signal it sends. Ms. Harris was the moderate choice among more left-leaning candidates who may have taken a tougher line on finance firms. That said, during her presidential primary campaign, Ms. Harris said that she would pay for her health care plans with taxes on financial transactions: “I would tax Wall Street stock trades at 0.2 percent, bond trades at 0.1 percent, and derivative transactions at 0.002 percent.” Mr. Biden has expressed some support for the idea of those taxes, but not as explicitly as his running mate.
Silicon Valley is happy about seeing a familiar face. Ms. Harris got her start in the Bay Area, and has been a fixture in fund-raising circles there for decades. Tech executives appear excited by her place on the ticket and reassured by her circumspect stance on things like breaking up the biggest tech companies.
What else do you need to know? The Times is on it:
• As the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent nominated for national office by a major party, she is “at once safe and energizing.”
Here’s what is happening
A prominent female tech executive filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Pinterest. Françoise Brougher, the former chief operating officer of the social network, which has a predominantly female user base, accused the company of firing her after complaints of sexist treatment. In a Medium post that is making waves in Silicon Valley, Ms. Brougher detailed her experience.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their football seasons. The two powerful conferences canceled all sports this fall because of the pandemic, putting pressure on other conferences to follow suit. Last year, college football generated some $1.6 billion in advertising revenue for ESPN, Fox and other broadcasters.
The McDonald’s board came under fire from shareholders. Some investors and corporate governance groups are pushing for directors to resign over the handling of the former C.E.O. Steve Easterbrook’s firing last year. The company is trying to claw back the severance it paid him after a new investigation uncovered additional sexual relationships with subordinates beyond the one that initially led to his ouster.
Tesla announced a 5-for-1 split, and its stock soared. Elon Musk’s electric-car maker said the split would make its turbocharged shares more accessible to small investors. The move has no effect on the company’s value, but the stock still jumped sharply in after-hours trading, continuing the relentless rise that has seen it gain more than 200 percent so far this year.
Robert Smith, Vista Equity’s C.E.O., called on U.S. firms to consider paying reparations for slavery. Mr. Smith told Reuters that companies that had profited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade should “bring their expertise and capital to repair the communities” in which they operate.
David Solomon’s open-minded approach at Goldman
The Goldman Sachs C.E.O. is becoming “an unlikely poster boy for a softer Wall Street era,” The Times’s Kate Kelly writes in a profile of the bank chief. His handling of the pandemic’s effect on the Wall Street institution’s business reflects the changing mores of the finance industry, Kate notes, “where personal well-being can take precedence over profits and displaying anxieties isn’t a matter of embarrassment.”
Mr. Solomon has won plaudits for helping a young work force through the pandemic, sending the bank’s 40,000 employees home early in the lockdown and helping them prepare for a long spell away from the office, without the pressure to return exerted by some rivals. That helped traders to capitalize on surging market activity, generating record revenues in the first half of the year. He has also encouraged employees — nearly half of whom are under the age of 30 — to speak openly about race and intolerance, and attended a virtual “geek out” session with workers about winemaking. (All 150 participants received the same bottle from the bank, and Mr. Solomon sipped the wine under discussion as he watched.)
• About that party in the Hamptons: The ill-fated gig last month at which Mr. Solomon played drew the ire of the New York authorities for a lack of social distancing, which Mr. Solomon (who goes by the name DJ D-Sol onstage) acknowledged to colleagues was a mistake. Some directors have suggested privately that golf is a better pastime for the bank boss, Kate reports, but Mr. Solomon says that mixing and recording music is an enjoyable hobby that also helps him connect with Goldman’s younger generation.
What happened to Britain?
The British economy sunk into its deepest recession on record in the second quarter, taking it back to the size it was in 2003. Official statistics released today showed that G.D.P. dropped by 20.4 percent in the second quarter, compared with the first.
The pandemic-induced collapse was harsher than other large economies. The second-quarter decline was twice as deep as in the U.S., for example.
The pandemic lockdown in Britain started later than in neighboring countries and was not eased until mid-June. The restrictions also affected a greater share of the population, for a longer period of time, than the state-by-state shutdowns in the U.S.
• Monthly data shows that growth started to pick up in June, but the Bank of England doesn’t expect the economy to fully recover until the end of 2021.
Taking on a workplace taboo
Zomato, an India-based food-delivery company, drew praise recently for introducing up to 10 days of annual paid leave for employees who can’t work because of pain related to menstruation.
“There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma,” the company’s founder and C.E.O., Deepinder Goyal, said in a statement announcing the policy. Employees apply for the leave via an online portal, with a human resources team on call to respond if taking the time off leads to harassment.
• In a section of his memo titled “A note for men,” Mr. Goyal added that it “shouldn’t be uncomfortable for us” when female colleagues express that they are on their period leave. (The policy also applies to transgender employees.)
It’s a rare move for a big company. Few large corporations offer a similar policy, and the law in only a handful of countries — including Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Zambia — allows for period leave. Zomato has around 4,000 employees, 35 percent of whom are women, and operates in 24 countries. It acquired Uber’s food-delivery business in India this year and counts Alibaba’s Ant Financial, Sequoia Capital and Temasek Holdings among its investors.
• Zomato’s policy is considered a particularly bold move in India, where periods are a taboo subject and 71 percent of young women remain unaware of menstruation until their first cycle. “It’s long overdue,” said Rituparna Chatterjee of Ungender Legal Advisory, an Indian organization that promotes gender inclusion at companies. “This conversation should happen so this gets normalized.”
The speed read
• Airbnb is reportedly planning to file for an I.P.O. later this month. (WSJ)
• Hedge funds are looking for other ways to track retail investor sentiment after Robinhood shut down public access to its widely followed account stats. (Business Insider)
• Brooks Brothers will be acquired for $325 million by the licensing firm Authentic Brands and the mall owner Simon Property. The buyers pledged to keep 125 of the bankrupt retailer’s stores open. (NYT)
Politics and policy
• This looks like Russia’s first viral disinformation hit of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign. (NYT)
• The S.E.C. chairman Jay Clayton speaks with Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman more often than he does with any other Wall Street bank chief. (FT)
• TikTok once used an unusual added layer of encryption on Android devices that allowed it to track user data. France has opened an inquiry into privacy practices at the Chinese-owned app. (WSJ, Bloomberg)
• A U.S. federal appeals court overturned a previous ruling that said Qualcomm had abused its monopoly position in wireless chips. (NYT)
Best of the rest
• MicroStrategy, a business software company, put $250 million of its corporate funds into Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency has “more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash.” (CoinDesk)
• New Yorkers may have paid four times more for eggs than they should have during the pandemic, according to a price-gouging lawsuit. (NYT)
• “Trump v. Putin: A Vaccine Manhood Contest” (NYT)
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