Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

John Flannery was removed as chief executive of General Electric this week after barely a year in the job. What does his abrupt departure tell us about the state of a company co-founded 126 years ago by Thomas Edison?

According to John Gapper, the answer lies in an aggressive deal-making strategy pursued by Mr Flannery's predecessors, Jeff Immelt and Jack Welch. Under their leadership, John argues, GE’s besetting sin was an over-eagerness to impress the world by making dramatic acquisitions.

Sometimes in business it pays to keep your head down, rather than forever imagining the conquest of new frontiers.

Janan Ganesh argues that the values of religious tolerance, civic citizenship and meritocracy, which once marked America out as special, have now become commonplace.

Anjana Ahuja celebrates the awarding of the Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry to women — a message to female scientists that their work will be appreciated rather than appropriated.

Hans Hoogervorst, chair of the International Accounting Standards Board, warns against blaming accounting rules for the global financial crisis.

What you’ve been saying

Restore the balance of power in the boardroom: letter from Liam O’Keeffe, Abinger Hammer, Surrey, UK

Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC, is right in resisting the break-up of the Big Four but not, perhaps, for the reasons he cites. Poor auditing is a symptom of a deeper malaise in the corporate world and, like underfunded pension funds and excessive executive pay, is caused by too much power in the hands of the executive directors. [ . . .] The only solution is to restore the balance of power in the boardroom such that decisions are taken in the best interests of the shareholders and not to satisfy the short-term greed of the executive directors.

In response to “Donald Trump is wrong: China is not Mexico”, 1 Observer says:

Perhaps Trump's real aim is indeed to get a deal on intellectual property and market liberalisation. So he's just talking tougher than his real position. But Mr Wolf is right to say that putting the Chinese in corner may make it too difficult for them to co-operate.

Don’t forget the workers at the end of the food supply chain: letter from Rachel Wilshaw, Ethical Trade Manager, Oxfam

Supermarket shoppers in the UK enjoy low prices and unparalleled year-round choice and convenience, but these are often delivered through ruthless cost-cutting and relentless pressure on suppliers. This in turn means the workers at the end of the food supply chain suffer the consequences, with poverty wages and miserable working conditions. [ . . .] If more shoppers show they care about these issues, and choose supermarkets that give a high priority to tackling them, Jack’s could be an opportunity rather than a threat to the people producing our food.

Today’s opinion

FT Alphaville: Harker on automation: there's time to prepare, but start preparing

A lightbulb moment over Nobel Prizes for women
At last the work of female scientists is appreciated, not appropriated

Theresa May buys time for a party in suspended animation
The Tories are in a holding pattern — as the prime minister says, nothing has changed

Do not blame accounting rules for the financial crisis
Current standards are designed to reflect economic reality as closely as possible

What made the US unique has become ordinary
What does America stand for in a world where most countries have adopted its ideals?

One Hong Kong railway station, two Chinese systems
The terminus of a high-speed line to Beijing highlights territory’s precarious status

Free Lunch: Nafta is dead, long live Nafta
New deal means small change for commerce, but a big hit to the politics of trade

FT Alphaville: Coinbase wants to be “too big to fail”, lol

EM Squared: Surge in bond yields signals fear of Lebanese default
Political instability imperils the country’s precarious finances

Britain’s best Brexit hope is a revised Chequers plan
Theresa May must redesign both prongs of her scheme to persuade the EU to compromise

General Electric has an overactive imagination
The conglomerate became better at marketing itself than at managing its business

Market Forces: The Italian Job — bond vigilantes flex their muscles
Mike Mackenzie’s daily analysis of what’s moving global markets

FT View

The FT View: Theresa May papers over Tory party’s growing cracks
UK prime minister’s challenges will only increase in coming months

The FT View: Big tech changes tack on US privacy regulation
Federal data protection rules should be good for consumers, not just the industry

The Big Read

The Big Read: Inside Danske’s €200bn ‘dirty money’ scandal
Danish lender’s Estonian branch become a pipeline for money-laundering on a vast scale

Get alerts on Opinion when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article