U.S. Editor, Commentary
Rob's Feed
Dec 17, 2014
via Breakingviews

Sony email shareholders would like to see

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

The hacking scandal at Sony’s Hollywood studio isn’t just embarrassing. It’s a business problem for the $23 billion Japanese conglomerate already struggling to turn itself around. Herewith, a selection of internal messages Sony’s board and executives ought to be fielding this week.

Dec 9, 2014
via Breakingviews

Yellen should gird for activist investors

Photo

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. 

Janet Yellen faces a long list of challenges for 2015. The Federal Reserve chair must keep her fellow governors aligned on the timing of interest rate increases while battling a Congress hell-bent on circumscribing the U.S. central bank’s powers. A less obvious trouble spot for Yellen’s year two in the job may be restive shareholders of systemically important financial institutions.

Regulatory pressure, middling performance and a dearth of large-cap alternatives are making mega-banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan increasingly attractive for shakeup artists, which would add to the Fed’s workload. Sweeping reforms after the 2008 crisis handed the central bank greater authority over the nation’s biggest lenders. That means any moves they make, voluntary or otherwise, to break up or, heaven forbid, acquire rivals will require a green light from Yellen and her lieutenants.

Dec 9, 2014

Breakingviews: Abercrombie CEO joins Society of Ignoble Chairmen

By Rob Cox

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – Memo from the Desk of the
Chairmen of the Society of Ignoble Chairmen

Re: Our Latest Member

It is with great pride that we welcome the newest, and
almost certainly the best-dressed, member of our society,
Michael Jeffries. As the minutes of our monthly
cigars-and-bourbon all-chair board meeting of late last January
will serve to remind, Michael served as chairman of the fashion
retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for 18 years until his
board unfairly and unceremoniously stripped him of the title,
relegating him to the singular task of chief executive. As
expected, Michael announced today his intention to leave the
company with immediate effect.

Dec 2, 2014
via Breakingviews

Wall Street in grip of Geithner nostalgia

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

A week before Thanksgiving, Wall Street’s top brass were forced to reckon with an entirely new sensation: nostalgia for their former overlord, Tim Geithner.

Nov 25, 2014
via Breakingviews

American banking has its own Tea Party

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Like the anti-establishment wing of the Republican Party, the American banking business has its own version of a Tea Party: the Independent Community Bankers of America. In just the past week, the trade group has vociferously opposed the nomination of a Wall Street banker to the Treasury and hailed a bill that would increase congressional oversight of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. These are the plaintive cries of a dying breed of banker.

Nov 18, 2014
via Breakingviews

Rob Cox: Good news for guns is bad for gunmakers

Photo

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

Two days after the U.S. midterm elections on Nov. 4, National Rifle Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre crowed about the success his group achieved in helping Republicans take control of the Senate and getting pro-gun candidates elected nationwide, effectively putting a bullet in legislative attempts to enact new federal controls on firearms.

Nov 13, 2014
via Breakingviews

Heady Topper points to beer business peak

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

John Kimmich sparked a Twitter mini-sensation last month when he posted a picture someone had sent him of a four-pack of Heady Topper, the unfiltered double IPA he produces at his Vermont brewery, The Alchemist. The photo showed four 16-ounce cans sitting unrefrigerated, with a $42 price tag. “Shameful,” he tweeted.

Nov 3, 2014
via Breakingviews

Don’t blame the messenger, Jefferies

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

In the weeks before Lehman Brothers went bust, Chief Executive Richard Fuld had taken to blaming the short-sellers betting against his stock and captured agents in the media for the tribulations facing his investment bank. As Jefferies, another Wall Street firm, redirects culpability for its troubles, it feels somehow appropriate to recall Fuld’s blame-the-messenger mentality in the Lehman bunker.

Oct 28, 2014
via Breakingviews

Rob Cox: Zuckerberg’s Chinese lessons are scalable

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

Mark Zuckerberg whipped up a media frenzy last week. It wasn’t quite as big a deal as inventing Facebook. But journalists, bloggers and the Twitterati went gaga after the social network’s founder conducted a question-and-answer session with students at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University entirely in Mandarin.

Oct 21, 2014
via Breakingviews

Rob Cox: Fragility bigger worry than volatility

Photo

By Rob Cox

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

It has been impossible to escape the V-word for the past week. Turn on the television, and it is easy to conclude that central bankers, corporate chiefs, investors and politicians think volatility is the biggest problem vexing global markets. The rollercoaster ride recently experienced by financial assets is nettlesome. But it’s merely a symptom of a bigger malady: the fragility of widely accepted assumptions about where the world is headed.

    • About Rob

      "Rob Cox helped establish Breakingviews in 2000 in London. From 2004 he spearheaded the firm's expansion in the United States and edited its American edition, including the daily Breakingviews columns in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Rob has worked as a financial journalist in London, Milan, New York, Washington, Chicago and Tokyo. Rob graduated from Columbia University’s Journalism School and the University of Vermont. Follow Rob on Twitter @rob1cox"
    • Follow Rob