Image of the week: De-arching
After announcing the temporary closure of its 847 restaurants in Russia on March 8th, US fast food giant McDonald’s has decided to make a permanent exit on the basis that continued ownership of its business in Russia was “no longer tenable, nor was it consistent with McDonald’s values”. Once, of course, it was McDonald’s that was not consistent with Russia’s values, not the other way round.
McDonald’s has agreed to sell its Russian business to Alexander Govor, a local franchisee who operates 25 of the chain’s restaurants in Siberia. He will take over the group’s entire Russian portfolio of about 850 restaurants, operate them under a new brand and offer a different menu.
So this image of the Kremlin’s towers under the Golden Arches will be consigned to history. It is the end of an era that began 32 years ago when the arrival of the first hot McDonald’s fries in Moscow’s Pushkin Square symbolised the thawing of the cold war. Awkwardly for Whopper-pushing rival Burger King, meanwhile, its Russian operator has “refused” to close its 800 outlets.
In numbers: Walmart wobbles
Drop in Walmart’s share price on Tuesday, the grocery behemoth’s biggest daily fall since October 1987.
New forecast of the expected fall this year in the earnings per share of the world’s biggest retailer by sales, as the spectre of stagflation hits the tills.
Number of people Walmart employs across its 10,500 stores worldwide, with about 1.6 million of them in the US where inflation is close to a 40-year high.
Getting to know: Rachel Maclean
As Britain’s minister for safeguarding, Rachel Maclean’s ministerial responsibilities include “modern slavery”, her website says, presumably meaning the prevention thereof. Maclean, the Conservative MP for Redditch (just south of Birmingham), is also the latest Westminster politician to come a cropper at the hands of Kay Burley. During her encounter with the Sky News anchor, “Redditch Rachel” posited that, over the long term, the UK public needed to be able to protect themselves better from its inflationary economy “by taking on more hours or moving to a better paid job”.
When Burley said she had spoken to people who were working every hour they could but still needed to rely on food banks, Maclean conceded her ingenious solution wouldn’t work for everybody. But it was too late. While Labour branded Maclean “out of touch with reality”, the Daily Star splashed on what it dubbed the “official new Government advice” on beating the cost of living. Its headline? “Don’t be so poor.”
The list: Twitter departures
Since Elon Musk has flirted with buying Twitter, then agreed a deal to buy it, then flirted with ditching the deal he agreed, there’s been a rake of exits from the executive ranks of the social media company. So who’s out (and likely better off as a result)?
1. Kayvon Beykpour: Twitter’s general manager interrupted his paternity leave last week to share that he was asked to leave by (current) chief executive Parag Agrawal. “This isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter,” he tweeted.
2. Bruce Falck: The company’s revenue product lead, who also fell victim to Agrawal’s pre-sale shake-up, later said he was “absolutely blown away by the flood of kind and supportive messages”.
3. Ilya Brown: Twitter’s vice-president of product management said it wasn’t “because of Elon or uncertainty inside the company” that he was leaving so it was no use journalists looking to him to “spill the tea”.
4. Katrina Lane: Like Brown, the vice-president of Twitter Service is leaving the company of her own accord, according to internal memos first reported by Bloomberg.
5. Max Schmeiser: The company’s head of data science has also chosen to leave. With Musk already displaying his fondness for casually criticising Twitter execs in public, this seems like a wise move.