Planet Business

This week: Straight-talk coins, ‘monetary morphine’ and stock ticker symbols with a difference

Image of the week: Pfizer coins it
Pfizer chief executive Ian Read (in the red tie) is seen here arriving to give evidence at a British parliamentary business committee hearing on Tuesday, where he was greeted by journalists including Newsnight's chief correspondent Laura Kuenssberg.

Read was there to convince MPs that his company's offer for AstraZeneca is good for the British economy but inside the committee room, events took an unexpected turn when he produced his "signature coin" from his pocket. On one side, the coin instructs him and Pfizer employees who carry similar totems to provide "straight talk"; on the other side, it tells them to "own it". This prompted the "unkind" suggestion from one MP that he had ignored the coin's straight-talk advice during the hearing itself.
Photograph: Simon Dawson /Bloomberg

In numbers: Crozier ker-ching
£8.4m

Pay package enjoyed by ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, as a "golden hello" share scheme vested. Company chairman Archie Norman told disgruntled investors that he didn't want them to "get the impression that these were handouts for turning up at work".
21.6%
Percentage share of television viewing that ITV had in the UK in the year to the end of March. This was down from 23.4 per cent in the previous year, as programmes such as celebrity belly-flopping show Splash! failed to make a, well, splash.
15%
Percentage rise in ITV advertising sales forecast for June, the month the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, compared to last year. Norman conceded that "it may feel a bit like all [Crozier's] Christmases have come at once", but he might also have said "like all his World Cups".

The lexicon: Monetary morphine/methadone
All the clever kids have a new name for quantitative easing. This week, Peter Schiff, the head of Euro Pacific Capital, who is a market "bear" and long-term critic of inflationary central bank policies, described Federal Reserve policies as "monetary morphine" at an economic conference in the US before getting into a heated discussion with "Dr Doom" economist Nouriel Roubini about the effects of deflation (Schiff argues it is no threat to consumers).

Other drugs are available. In March, the chief executive of Legal & General Nigel Wilson described cheap money as "a kind of monetary methadone", arguing that the experimental drug of quantitative easing would fail to cure the economy's underlying ills. "Expect vicious withdrawal symptoms," he said.

Getting to know: Dean Baquet
Sadly for Dean Baquet, it seemed most media-watchers were too busy wondering why exactly his predecessor, Jill Abramson, was given the heave-ho, to give the new executive editor of the New York Times their full attention. From New Orleans, he became addicted to newspapers at an early age because it was the best way to follow American football team the New Orleans Saints.

He is now a 57-year-old Pulitzer-winning reporter, a former editor of the Los Angeles Times (he was fired after he refused to make dramatic job cuts) and, as of Wednesday, the first African-American executive editor of the New York Times. He’s also a master of flattery.

“It’s humbling to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that’s actually a lot better than it was a generation ago,” he told several hundred staff members, many of whom were still thinking, “but where’s Jill?”


The list: Memorable stock ticker symbols
Patisserie Holdings, owner of the gateaux-stuffed UK cafe chain Patisserie Valerie, has opted to make its London Stock Exchange debut under the less-than-subtle ticker symbol LON: CAKE. It's not the only company to have traded under the stock market equivalent of the personalised number plate – indeed, restaurant group the Cheesecake Factory has nabbed NASDAQ: CAKE. So which other companies have shunned dull abbreviations?

1 ZEUS: US steel processor Olympic Steel modestly looked to the gods for its majestic ticker symbol.

2 LUV: Southwest Airlines Company, best known in this part of the world as the "inspiration" for Ryanair, has this not at all embarrassing NYSE ticker symbol.

3 FIZZ: Well played, Florida-based soft drinks company National Beverage Corporation.

4 WOOF: The Nasdaq-listed VCA Antech provides testing and consulting services to vets. Its investors are fluent in canine.

5 FUN: Cedar Fair operates amusement parks in the US.

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