Daily briefing: Ford to replace chief, Trump attacks Iran, fetishising crisis

Shake-up at auto group aims to reverse share price fall and bolster development of electric and autonomous vehicles

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Ford is replacing its chief executive in a shake-up designed to reverse a plummeting share price and bolster development of electric and autonomous vehicles. The US auto company has yet to confirm the replacement of Mark Fields and other executives, but an announcement is expected today. He is likely to be replaced by James Hackett, who currently heads the company’s smart mobility unit, which includes driverless technology.

The global auto industry is facing increasing disruption from Silicon Valley, which is spending millions on developing technology for driverless and electric vehicles. The cost of owning an electric car is predicted to be the same as owning a traditional vehicle as early as next year, according to some analysts, prompting manufacturers to shift resources in an effort to adapt to the change. (FT, Forbes)

In the news

Trump’s battle cry on Iran
The US president attacked Iran in a speech to Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, blaming the regime for most of the instability in the region. It came just one day after Iranians voted overwhelmingly for re-engagement and openness with the world. Tehran said the US should worry about another 9/11 instead. (FT, Independent)

Divine winner
The Church of England’s £7.9bn investment fund disclosed returns of 17.1 per cent last year, making it the world’s best-performing endowment fund. Over 10 years, it outsripped Yale University endowment’s annual 8.1 per cent returns. Fund director Tom Joy says active investment was the key to success — although some suspect inspiration from a higher being. (FT)

Barclays hits back at pranksters 
The British bank has tightened its email security after a prankster posed as its chairman and sent a series of messages to chief executive Jes Staley. Mr Staley was heavily criticised at a recent shareholder meeting for attempting to unmask a whistleblower. (FT)

The great olive oil crisis
The price of extra virgin olive oil has surged by almost a quarter this year, as drought afflicts production at major growers around the Mediterranean. World production is forecast to fall 14 per cent. Adverse weather events have been affecting olive oil production in the region more frequently, agricultural and weather experts have noted. (FT)

North Korea’s secret cyber warfare cell 
Unit 180 is thought to have launched some of the most daring and successful cyber attacks in recent years, and there is evidence that could link it to the WannaCry attack. Here’s a look inside. Meanwhile, Pyongyang test-fired another ballistic missile on Sunday, in defiance of threats of tougher UN sanctions. It claims it can now mass produce intermediate-range missiles. (Reuters, NAR)

The day ahead

Athens calls on creditors to strike a deal 
Greece’s finance minister said his country had “done its bit, most would say more than its bit”, and now it was time for IMF officials and eurozone finance ministers to make a deal that would allow it to honour billions of euros in debt repayment when they meet. (FT) 

Trump to outline Mideast peace deal 
When Donald Trump arrives in Israel and the West Bank today, he will outline what he has called the “ultimate” peace deal. Meanwhile, an “angry” Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his ministers to attend the airport reception for Mr Trump, after discovering a number had planned to skip it. (FT, Guardian)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Too scared to spend
Latino consumers in the US are spooked by Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Families once willing to fork out $5,000 or more on baby showers are hoarding cash in case they or their relatives are swept up in raids. (FT)

Wanted: princes and princesses
The engagement of Japanese imperial princess Mako to her floppy-haired university sweetheart last week has highlighted a tricky issue: the chrysanthemum throne is running out of royals. (FT)

The quants now run Wall Street
For decades, investors imagined a time when data-driven traders would dominate financial markets. That day has arrived. (WSJ)

Fetishising crisis
There is a virulent strain of management thinking that sees every crisis as an opportunity. In fact, it is mainly consultants who benefit. Instead, good leaders should avoid crisis in the first place, writes Andrew Hill. (FT)

The mystery of the wasting house cats 
Forty years ago, feline hyperthyroidism was impossibly rare — today, it’s an epidemic. Research suggests common household chemicals may be to be blame — so what are they doing to humans? (NYT)

Video of the day

The week ahead 
Vanessa Kortekaas provides a briefing of the stories to watch in the week ahead, including US president Donald Trump travelling to Brussels, the release of eurozone PMI data and first-quarter results from jewellery-maker Tiffany. (FT)


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