Cash cows, top jobs and the return of Elizabeth Holmes

Planet Business: Things are going so bad for Boeing, Trump has got some advice

 

Image of the week: Blood and paper

Elizabeth Holmes, the one-time founder and chief executive of blood testing fantasy Theranos, made her first court appearance this week since an explosion of non-business media interest in her via a of HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley and ABC News podcast The Dropout. The former paper billionaire, whose company used to promise it could deliver a full range of blood tests from a mere fingertip pin-prick, attended a US federal court in San Jose on Monday where alongside former chief operating officer Ramesh Balwani she is facing charges of conspiracy and wire fraud for allegedly scheming to defraud investors. A segment of the media coverage (okay, Cosmopolitan.com) concentrated on the fact that Holmes, who faces up to 20 years in prison, ditched her “signature turtleneck” for the occasion. A trial date is some time off yet.

In numbers: Beef and non-beef

$1.2 billion

Valuation that vegan burger maker Beyond Meat would reach in its initial public offering (IPO) if it sells its shares at the upper end of the planned range, prompting CNN to describe the company as a “cash cow”.

10

Number of years Beyond Meat, best known for the Beyond Burger and, er, Beyond Sausage, has been in existence. The company, which counts Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors, appears poised to profit from the growing popularity of vegan diets and shunning of “conventional animal protein”.

$29.9 million

This was the loss incurred in 2018 by the company, which says its strategy is to try to make its products appeal to more than just vegans and vegetarians.

Getting to know: The next Bank of England governor

The next Bank of England governor hasn’t yet been appointed, but as the term of Canadian incumbent Mark Carney will be up at the end of January, a recruitment process is now officially underway and a deadline of June 5th has been set for applications. So who is the next governor? Apart from a decent grasp of monetary, financial and prudential policy - and a willingness to travel to various G7, G20 and IMF shindigs - the chosen appointee must exhibit stoicism in the face of political nonsense (“explain the Bank’s policy positions to diverse audiences”), for which he or she will be rewarded to the tune of £480,000 (€555,000), plus - if Carney’s package was anything to go by - significant expenses for the pain of having to live in London. Candidates must also be willing to commit themselves for a term of eight years, taking the bank up to 2028, by which time the UK will have Brexited. Probably.

The list: Boeing woes

With two of its flagship 737 Max 8 aircraft crashing since last October, killing 346 people, it has been a terrible six months for manufacturer Boeing. Indeed, its troubles now seem to have piled up to the point where it can’t give an earnings outlook for 2019. Here is a snapshot of what has gone wrong.

1 Faulty software, delayed fix. Boeing hasn’t exactly been quick to announce a software “fix” for the dodgy anti-stall system that caused the two accidents and is now keeping the 737 Max 8 grounded.

2 Lack of orders. Understandably not many airlines are overly keen on buying a 737 Max 8 and some have cancelled their orders during this clarity-deprived period.

3 Counter-productive culture. Workers at a Boeing plant that makes the 737 Dreamliner in South Carolina have complained of an environment that they allege prioritises speed of production over quality.

4 Hazardous debris. Whistleblowers have highlighted debris left on planes during the manufacturing process, including metal slivers found close to wiring beneath the Dreamliner cockpits.

5 Unhelpful advice. US President Donald Trump has suggested that Boeing simply move on from its problems by rebranding the 737 Max 8. “But again, what the hell do I know?” Indeed.

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