FirstFT: Iger returns to Disney as Chapek ousted as chief executive

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Bob Iger, who served as Disney chief executive for 15 years, has replaced successor Bob Chapek after a rocky tenure that lasted just 33 months.

Iger, who handpicked Chapek as his successor only to see the relationship quickly sour, will serve another two years in the job that made him one of the world’s most celebrated business leaders.

In a statement, Disney said that Iger had “a mandate from the board to set the strategic direction for renewed growth”. He will also work closely with the board to find a successor.

Iger, who delayed his retirement four times before finally leaving the company, said in a memo to staff on Sunday that he felt “a bit of amazement” that he was returning to the company as chief executive.

Disney shares jumped 8 per cent in pre-market trading in New York on Monday. Before today, the stock had fallen more than 40 per cent this year amid growing investor concerns about the high costs of its streaming business. Disney has spent billions — its content budget this year alone was $30bn — as it competes with Netflix and other streamers for subscribers.

1. FTX businesses owe more than $3bn to largest creditors The crypto exchange FTX and linked companies founded by Sam Bankman-Fried filed a list of their 50 largest creditors yesterday, all of which are customers and owed more than $20mn, with two of them due more than $200mn.

2. Joe Biden’s antitrust adviser warns of ‘profusion of junk fees’ In an interview with the Financial Times, Tim Wu said there was a “sense there had been a profusion of junk fees across the [US] economy, things that confuse people, coercive fees, deceptive practices”, as he pushes to expand the war on hidden costs to include those in the securities market.

“We want to develop almost a jurisprudence of pricing or junk fees that agencies understand and have a playbook to work from.” — Tim Wu

3. US retailers face first real-terms fall in sales since financial crisis Retailers should report headline sales growth of 4.5 per cent year on year this holiday season, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. But after stripping out the inflation that has caused retailers to increase prices to offset their own higher costs, that would equate to a real-terms drop of 1.2 per cent.

Macy’s in New York City
Macy’s in New York City: inflation is leading consumers to seek out promotional offers much more than usual this year © Reuters

4. Tesla supplier warns of graphite supply risk in ‘opaque’ market Western supply of graphite will be constrained in the coming decade, the world’s largest natural graphite producer outside China has warned. Shaun Verner, chief executive of Australia’s Syrah Resources, said that the lack of transparency over pricing in the market for the key battery material was making bankers hesitant to fund new projects.

5. UN climate summit ends in discord Poor countries suffering from the effects of climate change will get financial help from richer nations under a historic agreement at COP27 yesterday. But negotiators failed to reach a deal on greater cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and an end to fossil fuel use.

The day ahead

Corporate earnings Zoom, Dell Technologies and Urban Outfitters publish results for the third quarter, while Agilent Technologies has fourth-quarter earnings.

World Cup Attention shifts to the first full day of opening fixtures, including Wales vs USA. Captains of England, Wales and the Netherlands had planned to wear “One Love” rainbow armbands in their matches today to promote inclusion. See today’s fixture list and times here.

Fedspeak Mary Daly, president of the San Francisco Fed branch, will speak about the “path to price stability” in an event with the Orange County Business Council. Daly recently told the Financial Times that the federal funds rate would probably reach 5 per cent, more than markets had priced in at the time. (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

US Thanksgiving ceremony President Joe Biden pardons a turkey as part of the White House’s annual Thanksgiving tradition. (White House)

What else we’re reading

Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong: ‘I’m just as bullish on crypto as ever’ In a lunch with the FT, the founder and chief executive of the crypto exchange discussed his enduring faith in blockchain, his “no politics in the workplace” policy and why the solution to the downturn in crypto is . . . more crypto.

  • Another interview: Stephen Diehl, the software engineer who has lobbied for crypto to be regulated like other assets, has denounced crypto as a vehicle for pure speculation. His views have made him a target of harassment, including death threats.

When your boss becomes your banker Inevitably, employees bring their financial concerns into the workplace. As the cost of living crisis deepens, companies are finding ways to offer financial services such as loans and pay advances to their staff. So, what is the risk?

Column charts illustrating the Sisyphean struggle to pay bills by showing percentage of full-time employees who say they are living pay cheque to pay cheque  within gender, generation, salary, family status and ethnicity groups

Anti-war protests stretch across central and eastern Europe “Germany is serving as a puppet exclusively for American interests and those of Nato,” the first orator said to a hundreds-strong crowd. In Germany, some protests over the impact of the Ukraine conflict have been organised by the radical left and some by the populist right.

Big Pharma targets $50bn obesity drugs market as demand booms The race to launch a new generation of drugs to tackle obesity — a disease that affects about 650mn people worldwide — has caused unease among some critics, who warn about their potential misuse and side-effects. But most health experts say the drugs should have a positive impact on patients with obesity, a disease that can have devastating health implications and that largely goes untreated.

CNN wants to be less opinion-heavy in a divided America Chris Licht, the network’s recently appointed chief executive, is preparing a fresh approach to news and deep job cuts after a slump in revenues. Will anyone watch?

Books

From business and sport to audio books, our annual round-up brings you top titles picked by FT writers and critics — as well as FT readers’ best books of 2022.

Two people carrying books walk through a landscape

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