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from Breakingviews:

Zuckerberg’s Chinese chat leaves CEOs tongue-tied

By Katrina Hamlin

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Mark Zuckerberg may spend his days running a $200 billion internet giant, but somehow he found the time to pick up Chinese. The Facebook founder surprised and delighted his hosts by answering questions in Mandarin during a visit to Beijing on Oct. 22. Other corporate chiefs may feel pressure to do the same.

While Zuckerberg is far from fluent, his language skills are nevertheless unusual. Roger Holterman, principal consultant at Robert Walters executive search in Shanghai, says that at most 15 percent of the board-level leaders at foreign multinationals he meets have a grasp of Mandarin. Only a handful were lucky or far-sighted enough to study Chinese at an early age, and it’s not easy to find the time on the job.

One way to solve the language gap is to hire and promote more Chinese executives. Not many foreign multinationals have native speakers at the board level. But even non-Chinese executives will be wondering if they need to go back to school. Zuckerberg’s feat suggests a packed schedule is not an excuse for failing to master an alien tongue.

from Breakingviews:

Amgen boss makes a prime breakup target

By Robert Cyran

The author is  a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Amgen’s boss makes a prime breakup target for Dan Loeb. Former Morgan Stanley banker Robert Bradway has run the $109 billion biotech being eyed by the activist investor for the past two years. The idea of splitting such companies into a cash cow and a growth arm comes up often, but rarely happens. Amgen may be the exception.

from Breakingviews:

More is less for Credit Suisse’s three co-heads

By Dominic Elliott

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Three looks a crowd at the top of Credit Suisse’s investment bank. The Swiss firm has promoted Jim Amine and Tim O’Hara alongside existing co-chief Gael de Boissard, adding a new twist to the turf wars typical when big sections of lenders are run by co-heads. But the moves could prefigure a more significant succession – that of Chief Executive Brady Dougan.

from Breakingviews:

Coke challenge goes beyond revising pay plan

By Kevin Allison

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Coca-Cola’s challenge goes beyond revising its controversial equity compensation plan. The beverage giant’s retreat from the scheme is a win for Warren Buffett, investor David Winters and the company’s other shareholders. But the quibbles with Coke don’t end with excessive remuneration.

from Breakingviews:

Coke challenge goes beyond revising pay plan

By Kevin Allison

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Coca-Cola’s challenge goes beyond revising its controversial equity compensation plan. The beverage giant’s retreat from the scheme is a win for Warren Buffett, investor David Winters and the company’s other shareholders. But the quibbles with Coke don’t end with excessive remuneration.

from Edward Hadas:

In praise of restrained enterprise

By Edward Hadas

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

British supermarkets are doing something unusual. They are following the rules of textbook economics: responding to competition by cutting prices. Such behaviour is rare. While business bosses often say they admire free enterprise, we actually live in a restrained enterprise economy. Everyone should be grateful.

from Breakingviews:

BofA delivers good governance a kick in the teeth

By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Bank of America has just delivered good governance a solid kick in the teeth. The mega-bank announced late Wednesday that its directors have voted to add the chairmanship to Brian Moynihan’s duties as chief executive. The move not only puts too much power in one person’s hands, it also reduces the position to little more than a perk to be granted or taken away, depending on performance.

from Breakingviews:

Goldman’s new conflict rules raise bigger question

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Another day, another conflict of interest situation for Goldman Sachs. New internal rules at the securities firm impose fresh limits on bankers investing in specific stocks, bonds and hedge funds. Goldman knows too well how easy it is to cross a line when treading at its edge. The new policy raises a bigger question, though: Why are Wall Street dealmakers allowed to own individual securities at all?

from Breakingviews:

Bill Gross and Janus Capital made for each other

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

The old saw about past performance not necessarily being indicative of future results just found a new poster child: bond king Bill Gross sitting on his Janus Capital throne.

from Breakingviews:

Santander has a 6 bln euro capital opportunity

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Santander looks light on capital. The euro zone’s largest bank doesn’t disclose its current Basel III “fully loaded” common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, and no wonder: it seeks 9 percent by year-end, way off the 11 percent average of European peers. Ana Botin, Santander’s new chair, can probably get away with inaction. But given her bank’s toppy valuation, she’d be better off moving now.

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