The daily business briefing: February 3, 2022
Jeff Zucker resigns as CNN president over affair with colleague, Facebook reports its 1st quarterly drop in daily users, and more
Jeff Zucker resigns as CNN president over 'consensual' affair
CNN President Jeff Zucker resigned Wednesday after admitting he failed to disclose a romantic relationship with one of his chief lieutenants. Zucker, 56, said the information about his "consensual relationship" with his "closest colleague," CNN Executive Vice President Allison Gollust, came out during an internal investigation into Chris Cuomo, the CNN host fired in December over his involvement in the response of his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to sexual harassment allegations that forced him from office. Zucker said he was required to disclose the relationship "when it began but I didn't. I was wrong." Both Zucker and Gollust are divorced. Gollust, who plans to continue working at CNN, said she and Zucker were friends for 20 years but their relationship "changed during COVID."
Facebook lost daily users for 1st time last quarter
Facebook lost daily users for the first time in its 18-year-history last quarter, the social media giant's parent company, Meta, said Wednesday. Meta also reported a larger-than-expected decline in profits and middling revenue forecasts, sending its stock price plummeting more than 20 percent in after-hours trading. The drop in stock price at least temporarily erased nearly $200 billion in Meta's market value — "a figure greater than the size of the entire Greek economy," The Associated Press noted. The decline in Facebook's daily users was fairly modest — fewer than a million people worldwide — and the number of people logging into Facebook each month actually grew a bit, as did daily use of all Meta apps combined, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
Biden administration objects to Postal Service contract to buy gas-powered trucks
The Biden administration on Wednesday launched a last-minute effort to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from spending $11.3 billion on up to 165,000 new gasoline-powered delivery trucks over the next decade. The planned purchases by the Postal Service, which makes up a third of the government's fleet, would mark a huge setback for Biden's goal of converting all federal government vehicles to clean power. The Environmental Protection Agency told the Postal Service last fall that its decision to buy more gas-powered vehicles was based on a dated and flawed analysis of the environmental impact. "The Postal Service's proposal as currently crafted represents a crucial lost opportunity to more rapidly reduce the carbon footprint of one of the largest government fleets in the world," wrote Vicki Arroyo, the EPA's associate administrator for policy.
Stock futures drop after Facebook's disappointing quarterly report
U.S. stock futures dropped early Thursday following a disappointing earnings report from Facebook-parent Meta. Futures tied to the tech-heavy Nasdaq were hit hardest, and were down by 2.3 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down by 1.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. Metropolitan Capital Advisors CEO Karen Finerman told CNBC's Fast Money that the "spookiest" part of Meta's earnings report was its weaker-than-expected revenue growth projections, although the more than 20 percent overnight drop in its share price was a "little overdone." Other social media companies also plunged. Snap shares dropped 16 percent overnight and Twitter lost more than 8 percent. Spotify shares fell 10.2 percent after the music streaming service reported slowing premium subscriber growth.
Rotterdam to temporarily dismantle landmark bridge so Bezos yacht can reach open waters
The Dutch city of Rotterdam has agreed to dismantle — then reassemble — its historic Koningshaven Bridge so a 417-foot-long, three-masted mega-yacht being built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos can reach the open ocean this summer. The boat is too tall to get under the bridge, which has a 130-foot clearance. Boatmaker Oceano asked the city to temporarily remove the center of the span, known locally as "De Hef," promising to reimburse the city for the cost. Rotterdam officials said the project was important because the city prides itself on being "the maritime capital of Europe," and shipbuilding is crucial for the local economy, especially protecting jobs. "The municipality considers this a very important project," municipal project leader Marcel Walravens reportedly said.