Tech: Accusations of impropriety at Google
Google promised this week to take a tougher line on sexual misconduct, following an exposé of alleged harassment by top executives, said Daisuke Wakabayashi and Katie Benner in The New York Times. The investigation revealed last week that Andy Rubin, the so-called father of the Android operating system, received a $90 million exit package when he left the company in 2014, even though “Google had concluded that a misconduct claim against him was credible.” Rubin denies the allegations. Richard DeVaul, a director of the future-tech unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, resigned this week after he was accused of sexually harassing a job applicant.
Autos: GM tries to shed longtime workers
General Motors offered voluntary buyouts to 18,000 of its 50,000 North American workers this week, said Jamie LaReau in the Detroit Free Press. “The move is part of GM’s cost-cutting plans, which include a $6.5 billion target for 2018.” North American workers who have been with the company for at least 12 years are eligible. The “take rate” for auto industry workers in buyout offers is relatively low, and GE said it could turn to layoffs if it doesn’t make cost-cutting goals. Despite strong earnings, GM is combating cooling sales in the U.S. and China, as well as cost increases on steel and other materials.
Mergers: IBM buys its way onto the cloud
IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty, “is placing the biggest bet” of her career with the $34 billion purchase of cloud software company Red Hat, said Jay Greene in The Wall Street Journal. The acquisition, the third-largest deal in the tech industry’s history, is a significant gamble on “the business of renting out computing power and software in the cloud.” So far, IBM has failed to make a meaningful dent in that fast-growing business, in which Amazon is the dominant player.
Retail: Victoria’s other secret
Employees who try to stop shoplifters in Victoria’s Secret stores risk losing their jobs, said Mary Hanbury in BusinessInsider.com. Though pilfering is so common at the lingerie retailer that many workers see it daily, “employees are instructed not to accuse, approach, discuss, or point out shoplifters in any way.” The chain’s larger outlets have loss-prevention teams who specialize in foiling theft, but some smaller stores only have a single person manning security cameras for a couple of days a month. “I have had customers look right at me after I see them stick ten $68 fragrances in their purse,” said one former store worker.