The daily business briefing: April 24, 2023
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell steps down over "inappropriate" relationship, Twitter restores blue verification checks for prominent users, and more
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell steps down over 'inappropriate relationship'
NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell is stepping down after an investigation found he had an "inappropriate" workplace relationship, the company's owner, Comcast, announced Sunday. In a statement, Shell apologized for having an "inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company" and said he is "truly sorry I let my Comcast and NBCUniversal colleagues down, they are the most talented people in the business and the opportunity to work with them the last 19 years has been a privilege." Shell became CEO in January 2020, after serving as chair of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment. Comcast, which has not named Shell's successor, said the investigation into his behavior was launched after someone filed a complaint.
Twitter starts restoring blue checkmarks of prominent users
Twitter has started restoring the blue account-verification checks for prominent users with more than one million followers. The social media platform last week started stripping Twitter Blue status, designed to indicate the users were who they said they were, from people who didn't pay a new subscription fee. Twitter provided the blue check for free before Tesla CEO Elon Musk bought the company last year. Twitter also verified the accounts. Musk introduced the fee of $8 per month for individuals, although it no longer verifies the users. Broadcaster James O'Brien, who has 1.1 million followers, said his blue check had been restored but he hadn't paid. He said some users with fewer than one million followers got their status back, "anointed entirely at Elon Musk's discretion."
Moody's downgrades 11 mid-size banks after regional bank turmoil
Moody's Investors Service has downgraded 11 regional banks, including U.S. Bancorp, Zions Bancorp, and Bank of Hawaii Corp. Western Alliance Bancorp. They were among the hardest hit in the regional banking crisis prompted by the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month. The recent turmoil has "called into question whether some banks assumed high stability of deposits, and their operational nature, should be reevaluated," the ratings firm said in a report released Friday. The failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank exposed weaknesses among mid-size banks that have made low-interest loans and bought low-rate securities, many of them serving large numbers of customers with uninsured deposits.
Stock futures slip ahead of Big Tech earnings
U.S. stock futures edged lower on Monday ahead of earnings reports from some of the biggest technology companies. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were down 0.2 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET. All three of the main U.S. indexes fell last week after a mixed week of earnings reports. About 76 percent of S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Friday beat expectations, but Refinitiv has estimated that the companies in the index will decline overall by 5.2 percent. Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta all report first-quarter results this week.
Credit Suisse outflows totaled $68 billion in 1st quarter
Credit Suisse said Monday that $68 billion in assets had flowed out of the troubled bank in the first quarter, and customers were continuing to pull money out. "These outflows have moderated but have not yet reversed," Credit Suisse said. Most of the withdrawals were in the wealth management division. The news came as the 167-year-old bank reported quarterly results for what will probably be the last time after it was taken over by rival UBS Group in a rescue engineered by the Swiss government and due to be completed soon. The news underscored the challenge UBS faces as it tries to get Credit Suisse's finances back on track, although some analysts said the outflows were not as bad as they feared.