FBI Director Fired – And It’s No Prank

Wednesday, 10th May: As far as pranks go, seeing your job dismissal on TV isn’t the best one. That’s what FBI Director James Comey thought was happening while addressing FBI agents in LA. In reality, US President Donald Trump had in fact dismissed him of his position in what is being claimed as a result over his handling of the FBI’s inquiry into Hilary Clinton’s private email use to store sensitive information. However, Comey, and the FBI, have also been investigating alleged links between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.  The White House have of course denied any political motive for the dismissal and Trump has tweeted today that “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”.  The search for Comey’s successor is to begin immediately with Comey’s deputy becoming acting FBI director for now.

ITV fell to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after reporting a fall in first quarter revenue, warning advertising revenue could fall by nearly 10% in the first half of year, although keeping its full-year guidance unchanged. Adam Crozier, Chief Executive for the last 7 years, has turned fortunes around; reducing the group’s reliance on advertising and expanding its production business, announced last week he is due to step down at the end of June. ITV closed -2.29%; the shares have fallen c.7% in month-to-date.

Last month Barclays reprimanded Chief Executive Jes Staley when he got “too personally involved” in a whistleblower investigating at the bank (https://vertemassetmanagement.com/2017/04/10/british-consumers-continue-to-feel-the-pinch/). Despite looking set to lose out on a large chunk of his bonus, Staley kept his job, with the AGM vote today securing his position. 97.18% of shareholders voted in favour of his reappointment, although individual shareholders voiced their opinion, calling for him to resign over his recent conduct. Barclays Chairman John McFarlane, who has stood by Staley throughout the investigation, secured his position with 99.02% of votes.

Remember pagers? They were popular in the 80s/90s – like a one way text messaging service – you receive the message but the pager doesn’t have the capability to respond… google them. Well today Vodafone has decided to shut down its pager business after failing to get backing to sell the division to Capita. The Competition and Markets Authority had announced plans to investigate the deal, citing concerns customers would be faced with price increases, ultimately leading to Vodafone seeing economic sense and closing the business.  It seems around 1,000 customers still use a pager service. Maybe these 1,000 or so pager users could introduce themselves to Apple’s iPhone 7, the world’s best selling smartphone in the first quarter of 2017, according to latest research from Strategy Analytics.