The daily business briefing: September 2, 2022
Lukoil leader dies after fall from Moscow hospital window, Starbucks names former PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan as next CEO, and more
Lukoil leader dies after fall from Moscow hospital window
Ravil Maganov, chair of Russian oil giant Lukoil, died Thursday after falling from a sixth-floor window in a Moscow hospital. Russian state news agency TASS reported that a law enforcement source had called the death a suicide. Maganov, 67, was being treated in the hospital after a heart attack, and had been taking antidepressants. But he is the latest in a series of Russian business leaders to die under mysterious circumstances. Lukoil is Russia's second-largest oil company. Its board called for a quick end to the war in Ukraine shortly after Russia invaded, and expressed sympathy to the victims of "this tragedy." Lukoil's billionaire president, Vagit Alekperov, resigned in April after Britain targeted him with sanctions over the invasion.
Starbucks hires former PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan as CEO
Starbucks announced Thursday that Laxman Narasimhan, a longtime PepsiCo executive who most recently served as chief of British consumer health company Reckitt, will join the coffee giant on Oct. 1 as its new CEO. Narasimhan, who will relocate from London to Starbucks' hometown of Seattle, will work closely with interim CEO Howard Schultz until he takes over and joins the Starbucks board on April 1. Schultz said Narasimhan's track record growing companies in established and emerging markets alike make him "uniquely positioned" to lead Starbucks. Reckitt shares fell 5 percent after the company announced the unexpected departure of Narasimhan, 55, shortly before Starbucks released the news it was hiring him.
Twitter tests long-requested edit feature
Twitter announced Thursday that it is internally testing an edit feature, and plans to expand it to Twitter Blue subscribers "in the coming weeks." The feature will let users edit their tweets "a few times in the 30 minutes following their publication," the social media company said. There will then be a timestamp added to the tweet showing when it was "last edited," and users can press that to see the tweet's entire edit history and what it originally looked like. Twitter users have for years requested an edit button so they can fix typos in tweets without having to delete and repost them, which causes them to lose all of the original tweet's likes and retweets.
Stock futures little changed ahead of jobs report
U.S. stock futures were little changed early Friday ahead of the Labor Department's August jobs report. Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 futures were down less than 0.1 percent at 6:45 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 0.3 percent. The Dow and S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, on Thursday, snapping four-day losing streaks. The Nasdaq fell 0.3 percent. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected the employment report to show the U.S. economy added 318,000 jobs in August, down from 528,000 in July. A higher-than-expected figure would fuel concerns the Federal Reserve will extend aggressive interest rates longer to curb inflation, "and that's not good for stocks," said Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report newsletter.
Insurance firm Axa admits faking Tesla fire in video
Global insurance firm Axa apologized Thursday for staging a battery fire during a crash test of a Tesla sedan for a video claiming to show how electric cars can burst into flames after an accident. The Paris-based company said it had removed the battery before the late-August demonstration, in which a yellow Tesla flips over and lands on its roof, then bursts into flames. Axa Switzerland told German website 24auto.de it ignited the fire with pyrotechnics. Axa said it regretted giving a "false impression" with the simulation, which didn't depict "the type of damage to the undercarriage" likely to spark a battery fire. Experts say EVs catch fire less often than gas-powered vehicles, but can be harder to extinguish.