Planet Business

This week: The ‘glass closet’, inclusive capitalism and Goldman Sachs goes football crazy


Image of the week: Inclusive capitalism

Hurray for the City of London Corporation and investment firm EL Rothschild, which this week gathered some of the world’s most powerful people to pay lip service to a need for a more socially responsible kind of money-making at the Conference on Inclusive Capitalism. “We have $30 trillion of assets under management in the room,” observed organiser Lynn Forester de Rothschild in a statement not to be taken literally.

Jordan Belfort may not have been invited, but the conference was truly inclusive, as you did not have to be an entrepreneur or even an investment banker to attend. Welfare recipient Prince Charles also addressed the crowd on cheery matters such as environmental destruction. Next year: “Inclusive Royalty”.

Photograph: John Stillwell/Reuters


In numbers: Football forecasts 


Probability that Brazil will win the World Cup on its home soil this summer, claims Goldman Sachs, which paid people to study the entire history of competitive international football matches for its World Cup and Economics 2014 report.


Probability that Brazil will be champions, according to odds set by bookmakers’ Ladbrokes. The Brazilian advantage in its own model is “striking”, admitted Goldman Sachs, which pointed out that the home team has won 30 per cent of all World Cups since 1930.


Probability that the England football team has of lifting the Jules Rimet trophy, according to Goldman Sachs. In this case, past performance probably is a guarantee of future results.


The lexicon: Glass closet

The Glass Closet is a new book by John Browne (66), the former chief executive of BP, who has written about his regret in not coming out during his career at the company. Subtitled “Why Coming Out is Good Business”, the book tells his own story and features interviews with high-level LGBT executives. “Anxiety still grips LGBT employees, from the factory floor all the way to the chief executive’s office,” he writes.

Browne ended up leaving BP earlier than scheduled in 2007 after he admitted making a false witness statement while trying to prevent publication of a kiss’n’tell tabloid story. Smashing the “glass closet” just wasn’t a viable option within the macho oil and gas business when he joined BP in the 1960s.

“You had to blend in, be chameleon-like,” he says, describing how this included joining colleagues on work trips to watch women “wiggle around” in strip clubs. Fitting in helped Browne rise to the top of his company, which he led for 12 years, but it cost him too.

Getting to know: Jimmy Iovine

Jimmy Iovine is “Apple’s new music impresario”, says the New York Times, and goodness knows Apple could do with a new music impresario. Instead of looking to its usual sources – the code geniuses and computer engineering whizz-kids of Silicon Valley – it has done something odd in turning to Iovine, the co-founder with Dr Dre of the headphones and speakers company Beats Electronics.

Iovine (61), will be working full-time for Apple as part of its $3 billion deal to buy Beats, but he began his career in the pre-Apple era, sweeping floors at New York City recording studios and fetching tea for John Lennon. After rising to become one of the most powerful figures in the music industry, he was an early Apple advocate, becoming one of the first music execs to get a preview of iTunes. Iovine has been known for pushing artists to go back to the studio to be, well, better. As a result they usually were. “The good news is, he’s Jimmy,” said singer Gwen Stefani. “The bad news is, he’s Jimmy.”

The list: Most powerful corporate women

Forbes magazine has published its annual guide to “the extraordinary icons and leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers who command the world stage”. They are otherwise known as the 100 most powerful women. At the top, Angela Merkel edged out newbie Janet Yellen, but who were the highest ranked corporate figures on the list?

1 Mary Barra: In seventh place was the chief executive of General Motors (below), who you may know from her recall-related appearances on Capitol Hill.

2 Sheryl Sandberg: The Facebook chief operating officer has leaned all the way into number nine in the power list.

3 Virginia Rometty: Ranked 10th, the IBM chief executive, aka Ginni, first joined the company in 1981 as a systems engineer at the age of 24.

4 Susan Wojcicki: The 12th-placed chief executive of Google-owned YouTube is a “mom, wife, YouTuber, Googler, farmer, traveller”, according to her Twitter bio.

5 Indra Nooyi: The PepsiCo boss, in 13th place, has her critics but is still in situ eight years after she took over as chief executive of the not-Coke company.

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