Tech visionaries Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen disagree on the promise of Twitter but both see a relatively long lifespan for the social media firm. At least in Internet years.
Read more here: Peter Thiel: Twitter will outlast the New York Times
The Top Penny Stocks newsletter for active penny stocks investors looking for penny stocks and pink sheet stocks
Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...
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Eurozone crisis live: Japan's strong growth figures... PM Shinzo Abe's stimulus package could generate feelgood factor needed to end two decades of stagnant growthPhillip Inman
Private Health Exchanges, Consumer-Focused Insurance Programs, 21st Century Healthcare Technologies, and Innovations That Reduce Error and Waste Show Most Promise
Read more from the original source: Psilos Group Releases 2013 Outlook Report on Investment Opportunities — Predicts Golden Age for Healthcare Investing Due to Accountable Care Act
The EU’s competition regulator fines Microsoft 561m euros ($731m; £484m) after it failed to keep a promise that it would promote a choice of rival web browsers.
Read more here: EU fines Microsoft over web browser
Paul Ryan promises GOP 'won't duck the tough issues'
TAMPA — Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin accepted the GOP nomination for vice president on Wednesday with a declaration that President Obama, who was elected four years ago on a promise of hope and change, has failed and his opportunity has been squandered.
Analysis: Things we've learned at the Republican convention
Ryan charges at Obama in RNC speech, vows GOP won't 'duck the tough issues'
RNC preview: Christie may steal Romney's thunder road tonight
The equestrian-minded chief executive no longer races, but guiding her once-chaotic broadband firm into TV will be an adventure in itself
The archives of the racing press contain a photograph of TalkTalk’s 5ft 2in chief executive, Dido Harding, lugging three stone of lead back to the weighing room after winning at Kempton on her prized, Gold Cup-winning steeplechaser Cool Dawn.
“I made a really stupid promise to my husband in my early 20s, when he and I were first going out, that I would retire as a jockey when I was 40. Unfortunately, John has made it a marriage-breaking issue that I keep that promise,” says Harding with a rueful smile.
“He is of course right that women in their mid-40s, with young children, running companies, shouldn’t still be professional jockeys – but I wish I hadn’t made that promise.”
Her career on the turf says much about the determination of a woman who, two years ago, left her job running Sainsbury’s convenience stores and set out to bring order and growth back to what was probably Britain’s most shambolic consumer phone and broadband company.
Carrying on with racing sometimes involved jumping off the Eurostar of a morning and into the saddle come the afternoon. There were injuries too: one mount, with the broadband-friendly name Unlimited Free, turned a somersault and left her strapped to a spinal board. The next day, she flew to a conference in Thailand. No wonder her other half was worried.
Harding joined TalkTalk while it was still reeling from its founder Charles Dunstone’s chaotic but revolutionary entry into the broadband market six years ago. Its offering of free, fast internet connections saw the company overwhelmed by demand, and then came the merger with Tiscali, a company (with its own internet TV service) that was itself suffering from growing pains. But Dunstone, who is now chairman of TalkTalk and its former parent company Carphone Warehouse, charmed her into taking the role.
“It is not often that one of the world’s best entrepreneurs rings you up and says ‘I’ve got this business we are about to float off as an independent company and we’d like you to be chief executive’,” Harding explains.
TalkTalk’s problems have persisted during her tenure, including a £3m fine from the regulator for billing customers for services they hadn’t received, but the company has gradually returned to form and last week launched its re-entry into the television market, via a give-away of the much-delayed YouView box, which provides television on demand via the internet.
“It’s been a good thing for TalkTalk that YouView was late,” she claims. “If it had launched two years ago we wouldn’t have been ready.”
Harding has promised to “democratise” pay-TV in the same way Dunstone brought broadband to the masses in 2006. But there will be no stampede this time. The rollout will be a slow one, starting with a limited release, but Harding hopes to eventually reach 3 million of her 4 million existing customers and many of the Freeview users who have resisted pricier offerings from Virgin Media and Sky.
If Harding’s plan is a success, she will be well rewarded. Last year her annual pay package topped £900,000 and in September she will collect share options worth an estimated £5m at today’s price, making her one of the best-paid women in Britain.
She is unapologetic about that level of executive remuneration, and believes the “shareholder spring”, which has seen investors slap down excessive rewards, is in danger of going “out of control”.
“I actually said this to the prime minister,” reveals Harding, who studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford alongside David Cameron and is a member of his business advisory group.
As the wife of Conservative tourism minister John Penrose, she lived through the MPs’ expenses scandal. “It got completely out of control: you were wondering about the fact that if you claimed for a Mars bar it was going to be on the front page of the Daily Telegraph the next day. I worry that the debate about executive remuneration has been in danger of going in the same direction. It’s impossible for a politician at the moment to say this.”
What she does want is better communication about pay: “If you have a bonus scheme that is so complicated or so sensitive that you can’t tell people what it is, then you shouldn’t be doing it. You have got ever longer and more complicated remuneration reports that no one can understand. I would push for more clarity and more simplicity. One number, one page.” That clarity, however, is yet to arrive in TalkTalk’s own annual report, where the directors’ pay details currently run to seven pages.
But when it comes to promoting women, Harding’s record is good. Half of her executive team is female, including finance director Amy Stirling. Harding is against quotas, and says the rush to fill boards with women non-executives could be counterproductive, creating a “shadow career path” for those juggling a career with young children.
“It’s very tempting to go part-time and take up a number of non-executive directorships because everyone is crying out for talented women. As soon as you’ve done that you are no longer in the talent pool to run the company.”
Born The Honourable Diana Harding, she is the granddaughter of Field Marshal Lord Harding, the man she often credits with giving her the ambition to leave the idyllic Dorset pig and apple farm on which she grew up.
He started life as a Post Office clerk and rose to become commander-in-chief of the British Army of the Rhine during the second world war, and later the governor of conflict-riven Cyprus.
“He was absolutely my role model in life but I was a girl and girls weren’t mean to be the ones with careers. I was determined to prove everyone wrong. I was always trying to prove that I was a second world war general.”
She has followed in his footsteps in more ways than one. When he retired from army life, it was to take up the chairmanship of the defence electronics and telecoms firm Plessey. Now Harding is waging her own kind of war – over the price of pay-TV.
Separate errors that affected the accounts of customers at Nationwide and NatWest have been corrected, the firms say, with a promise of refunds.
Here is the original post: Accounts now ‘fixed after errors’
Pay squeeze delivers on a campaign promise by France’s Socialist president François Hollande
France’s finance minister has declared a crusade against executive pay at state-controlled companies, describing a wage cap of €450,000 (£365,000) a year for bosses as a matter of “justice and morality”.
Pierre Moscovici said the pay squeeze would come into effect over the next two years and deliver on a campaign promise by France’s new Socialist president, François Hollande, who sought to tap into widespread public anger over executive salary packages
“Earning €450,000 a year doesn’t seem to me a deterrent if we want to have quality men and women at the head of our companies,” said Moscovici. He added that the measure was needed to “make state companies more ethical” and respond to “the demands of justice and transparency” at a time of economic crisis.
The government expects to publish a decree on the pay cap next month. Turning the screw on executives, it will then introduce a bill in parliament later in the year to address stock options, so-called “golden parachute” clauses and other components of executive salary packages.
The limit will apply to all companies in which the state holds majority ownership, including the postal service, nuclear power giant Areva, electric utility EDF, railway company SNCF and public transport operator RATP.
Hollande set clear limits on executive pay on the campaign trail, saying no executive at a state company should earn more than 20 times the lowest-paid worker’s salary. Fewer than 20 executives currently have salaries over the limit, the finance ministry said.
“I’m convinced the strict salary framework at public companies will inspire the stabilisation of certain practices in the private sector,” Moscovici said, promising that all salaries for top executives at state firms would now be made public.
The UMP, the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, dismissed the cap as political posturing. “It’s a campaign promise. They’re pretending to fix our problems by reducing executives’ salaries. It falls under the category of ‘ostentatious morality’,” said UMP leader Jean-François Copé. “They make the French people believe they are fixing the problems with the budget and the economy by reducing the salaries of our country’s executives. It’s extremely hypocritical. This doesn’t fix anything.”
Businessman jailed over bounced cheque agrees to resume eating after prosecutors promise to re-examine his case.
Excerpt from: Belgian halts hunger strike in Dubai
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — At first you might think Barack Obama’s team is slamming all oil billionaires as secretive and bankrolling Mitt Romney’s campaign.
“Secretive oil billionaires are making good on their promise to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Governor Romney’s behalf attempting to defeat the president,” Ben LaBolt, Obama’s press secretary, said Thursday in a statement.
See the article here: Is Obama’s Latest Romney Slam Misleading?
French president unveils election manifesto, warning of economic hell in scorching attack on rival François Hollande
Nicolas Sarkozy has unveiled his presidential election manifesto, warning that France would become the next Greece and face economic meltdown if he wasn’t re-elected.
After weeks of drip-feeding proposals on TV and at rallies, the rightwing president published a Letter to the French People containing no major new measures but 32 recent promises, including referendums on how to deal with the long-term unemployed and illegal immigrants; cutting immigration by half; and pulling France out of the EU’s passport free Schengen area if rules aren’t tightened.
At a press conference, Sarkozy hammered home what he called his most important promise: balancing France’s budget by 2016. He said budgets must be tightened and launched a scathing attack on the Socialist candidate François Hollande, saying the left was planning a “festival of new spending, as if the world, Europe, the crisis had never existed”, which would drive France into certain ruin.
France’s high state spending, spiralling public debt and the thorny issue of how to rein in finances has become a focus point in the campaign in recent days. No candidate wants to pin their colours to the mast of tough austerity measures alone, and all are considering various tax increases to try to fill the hole inthe coffers.
The Socialists, still tipped to win the runoff on 6 May despite Sarkozy’s recent lift in the polls, shot back that the incumbent had presided over an explosion of debt and deficit during his five years in office. Hollande’s team accused Sarkozy of a programme of hidden taxes and spending cuts and ransacking public services. Earlier, Hollande said that if elected he would order an immediate audit of public finances “and freeze certain spending once we have the results”.
Hollande, whose manifesto promises include 60,000 new posts in schools and 150,000 state aided jobs for youth, has also vowed to balance France’s budget by 2017.