How to Turn Around Nearly Anything

How to Turn Around Nearly Anything

by Rosabeth Moss Kanter  |   8:00 AM November 5, 2013

The Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series championship will long be remembered as proof that you can turn around nearly anything. The team ended last season at the bottom of the standings (Las Vegas odds were 28 to 1 that they’d make it to the World Series), but rallied this year. With renewed solidarity and determination, the beard-wearing Sox went on to win the division, the playoffs, and the big prize. Their game is baseball, my game is change. I’ve been involved with turnarounds for years, including observing and writing about the Red Sox 2004 World Series win that reversed many decades of being almost-rans. In turbulent times, turnarounds are increasingly a fact of life. Some companies need to be rescued from the brink of extinction (BlackBerry), but that’s not the only kind of turnaround. Others need a course correction while still  profitable (Microsoft), or a momentum shift because of disruptive new technologies (newspaper companies). Red Sox owner John Henry recently purchased one of those newspapers needing a momentum shift, the Boston Globe. For the Globe and its counterparts, the competition is not one rival or game at a time, like baseball; it is multiple digital media offerings and others-to-be-named-later. Henry, like any leader seeking strategic change, can benefit from these turnaround lessons. Read more of this post

Road Voyeurism Fueling Surge in Black Box Sales in Korea; What began five years back as a way to protect local taxi drivers from passengers who run off without paying has caught on with other drivers – 2.2 million black boxes are already in use, more than the number of autos sold in Korea each year

Road Voyeurism Fueling Surge in Black Box Sales in Korea: Cars

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In the world of the wired, South Koreans rule: millions got hooked on social networking years before Facebook; their mobile phones went broadband first; and Internet connections are faster than anyplace on the planet. Now they’re going pedal to the metal on the next hi-tech craze: “black boxes” for cars, devices that automatically record video and audio as well as time, location and speed. What began five years back as a way to protect local taxi drivers from passengers who run off without paying has caught on with other drivers — 2.2 million black boxes are already in use, more than the number of autos sold in Korea each year. Broadcaster SBS has enough clips from viewers that it aired more than 100 morning show segments on car crashes. Read more of this post

Acer Chairman and CEO Wang Resigns After Posting Record Loss

Acer Chairman and CEO Wang Resigns After Posting Record Loss

Acer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang resigned after the computer maker posted a record quarterly loss and said it will cut its global workforce by 7 percent amid a global PC slump. Wang will be replaced as CEO by current President Jim Wong from Jan. 1 and will retain the chairman’s role until June. Founder Stan Shih will lead a new Transformation Advisory Committee to propose strategic changes, the Taipei-based company said in a statement. Acer’s third-quarter net loss was NT$13.1 billion ($445 million), the largest on record and wider than the NT$59 million average loss estimate of analysts. Earnings were dragged down by a NT$9.94 billion write off related to five acquisitions, including Gateway Inc. and iGware Inc., it said today. The introduction of tablet devices, such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad, and the failure of new versions of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system to drive demand has pushed PC sales lower. Shipments dropped 11.4 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg Industries data. The loss spurred Acer to announce a 7 percent cut in its global workforce and plans to issue 136 million new shares. The restructuring will result in a one-time cost of $150 million this quarter, it said. Read more of this post

Google Inc is launching a service that lets consumers pay for live video chats with experts who can provide everything from step-by-step turkey cooking instructions to marriage counseling

Updated: Tuesday November 5, 2013 MYT 2:49:25 PM

Google offers live video chats on range of topics with new service

SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc is launching a service that lets consumers pay for live video chats with experts who can provide everything from step-by-step turkey cooking instructions to marriage counseling. The Google Helpouts service, introduced on Monday, features roughly 1,000 partners in fashion, fitness, computers and other topics, available for live, one-on-one video consultations. The video sessions can be as short as a few minutes or can last several hours, depending on the topic, with pricing set by each individual provider. Read more of this post

Pritzker Billionaire Brothers Turn From Family Feuding to Deals

Pritzker Billionaire Brothers Turn From Family Feuding to Deals

Anthony and Jay Robert Pritzker, brothers and heirs to the Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Marmon Holdings Inc. manufacturing fortune, settle in for salads and sandwiches at their 40th-floor office in Chicago’s West Loop. A decade ago, the duo joined family members who allied against their sister, Penny, who’s U.S. President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary, and two cousins. The legal battle broke up the family empire and distributed at least $1.35 billion to each of 11 cousins. Now, the brothers say they are putting the discord behind them, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its December Billionaires Issue. They are primed to talk about investing their inheritance in companies that include a distributor of janitorial products and a maker of circumcision devices — much like the grab bag their father and uncles assembled. Read more of this post

SoftBank Deploys ‘Clash of Clans’ to Tap $3 Billion Game Market

SoftBank Deploys ‘Clash of Clans’ to Tap $3 Billion Game Market

Supercell Oy started the year trying to break into the Japanese smartphone game market. By October, it had struck a deal with the nation’s second-richest man that valued the maker of “Clash of Clans” at $3 billion. The Finnish game maker is seeking a bigger slice of Japan’s market for downloaded games, which is forecast to triple to $3 billion this year, amid a shift to smartphones, Supercell co-founder Ilkka Paananen said in an interview. Billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Corp. (9984) led a $1.53 billion agreement for a 51 percent stake, a deal that was completed last week. Read more of this post

Thai Amnesty Plan Could Be a Strategic Blunder

November 5, 2013, 3:58 PM

Thai Amnesty Plan Could Be a Strategic Blunder

JAMES HOOKWAY

BANGKOK—It might be too early to call time on Thaksin Shinawatra’s influence over Thai politics, but his sister Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s plan to introduce a wide-ranging amnesty enabling him to return to Thailand a free man increasingly looks like a strategic blunder. And already there are signs that the Thaksin camp is beginning to ease off its full-court press as thousands of protests continue to demonstrate against the controversial bill, which was passed by the lower house of parliament on Friday. Read more of this post

South Korean Businesses Quit Kaesong

November 5, 2013, 5:18 PM

South Korean Businesses Quit Kaesong

By Kwanwoo Jun

South Korean businesses are exiting the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea,making Seoul’s efforts to attract foreign investment to the site an even tougher sell. At least nine South Korean firms have ended or have decided to end business at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, just north of the inter-Korean military border, because of uncertain investment prospects and financial crunches following a five-month operational halt amid cross-border tensions. Read more of this post

Cohen’s Dream of Soros Status Dies as SAC Pleads Guilty; Cohen will still be worth around $7.2 billion after paying his fine

Cohen’s Dream of Soros Status Dies as SAC Pleads Guilty

In the hedge fund record books, there will always be doubts about how Steven A. Cohen outperformed rivals for more than 20 years.

Cohen, the billionaire founder of SAC Capital Advisors LP, is arguably the best stock trader of all time, a renowned “tape reader” with an uncanny ability to predict where prices are headed. The Stamford, Connecticut-based firm’s investment returns for clients averaged 25 percent over the past two decades, and Cohen never posted a losing year in the portfolio he personally oversees. Read more of this post

Beijing to Reduce New Vehicle License Plates by 38%, Daily Says

Beijing to Reduce New Vehicle License Plates by 38%, Daily Says

China’s capital will reduce the number of new passenger vehicles allowed on the city’s roads by 38 percent next year as part of efforts to ease pollution and traffic congestion, according to the Beijing Daily. Beijing will cut the annual number of new license plates to 150,000 in 2014 from 240,000 now, according to the report posted on the city government’s website today. By 2017, 90,000 of the plates will go to conventional autos, with the rest reserved for new-energy vehicles, the report said. Read more of this post

World’s Richest Add $200 Billion as Global Markets Surge

World’s Richest Add $200 Billion as Global Markets Surge

This year’s top 100 billionaires own discount supermarkets and luxury brands, oil refineries and cement factories. They span the decades from millennial Mark Zuckerberg to 93-year-old Karl Albrecht. This diverse bunch enjoys a unifying characteristic: Most spent the year making more money. Their collective fortunes have soared $200 billion to $2.1 trillion since Bloomberg Markets published its inaugural list in December 2012. Read more of this post

China Is Choking on Its Success

China Is Choking on Its Success

Walking through Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last week, a German family of five surrounded me, all wearing large face masks and sunglasses. They weren’t robbing me, just asking me to take their photo. When I yelled the customary “Say ‘cheese,’” the dad joked: “We are smiling under here.” Only China’s pollution bubble is no laughing matter, and tourists tell the story. Thanks to extreme air pollution, foreign arrivals plunged by roughly 50 percent in the first three-quarters of the year. Beijing could see even fewer visitors to the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the famous square dominated by a painting of Mao Zedong thanks to images of acrid smog that have been beaming around the globe. Read more of this post

Is Germany Repeating American Errors at Bretton Woods?

Is Germany Repeating American Errors at Bretton Woods?

At the founding of the Bretton Woods international monetary system in 1944, the world’s dominant creditor nation, the U.S., set out to revive a fixed exchange-rate system by offering a war-torn, debt-ridden world a new deal in monetary relations, one to be supported by concessionary dollar loans from a new International Monetary Fund. Today, Germany is trying to resuscitate the periphery of the crisis-stricken euro area in much the same way, and it is worth looking back at the formation of Bretton Woods for clues as to how this will play out. Read more of this post

Curious crowds disrupt Istanbul’s new Europe-Asia rail service

Curious crowds disrupt Istanbul’s new Europe-Asia rail service

Wed, Oct 30 2013

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turks intrigued by Istanbul’s new underwater rail line linking Europe and Asia are overcrowding trains by riding to and fro under the Bosphorus, forcing closure of one station and causing delays by pressing emergency stop buttons, state railways said. The service was also hit by a brief power cut in the morning rush hour, prompting television footage of passengers walking through the tunnel next to a stationary train. Read more of this post

Master Kong owner apologises as food scandals hit Taiwan

Master Kong owner apologises as food scandals hit Taiwan

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 – 22:20

AFP

TAIPEI – The owner of the Master Kong instant noodle brand apologised Tuesday after its Taiwan units were ordered to recall tens of thousands of bottles of adulterated cooking oil. Ting Hsin International Group made the public apology amid a string of scandals involving several major cooking oil retailers that have rocked the island. The group was on Sunday ordered to remove from shelves 21 types of cooking oil that were tainted with copper chlorophyllin. Read more of this post

Italian banks near saturation point on government debt

Italian banks near saturation point on government debt

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 – 17:47

Silvia Aloisi and Valentina Za

Reuters

MILAN – Italian banks are near saturation point after two years spent frantically buying their own government’s bonds, forcing the Treasury to find alternative investors at home and abroad to finance a 2-trillion euro debt. Lenders’ ability to soak up yet more Italian sovereign debt depends largely on the European Central Bank – which in turn says Italy is crucial to the fate of the entire euro zone. Read more of this post

BOJ Struggles to Convince on 2% as Abenomics Shine Fades

BOJ Struggles to Convince on 2% as Abenomics Shine Fades

Half a year after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda unleashed record monetary easing, economists see the bank failing to meet its inflation target, underscoring the case for stronger steps to revive the economy. While the median estimate of BOJ board members released last week showed the bank expects consumer prices to rise 1.9 percent in the 2015 fiscal year — in line with a 2-percent-in-two-years goal laid out in April — just two of 34 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News see the target met in that timeframe. Read more of this post

Harley Eyes Global Buyers for New Lightweight Bikes

Harley Eyes Global Buyers for New Lightweight Bikes

Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG), which has long dominated the market for heavyweight motorcycles, is rolling out its first Harley-brand lightweight bikes in decades as it eyes a global market that is big and, in some ways, smaller. At events in Kansas City, Missouri, and Milan today, Harley is introducing the Street 500 and Street 750, the latest in its Dark Custom line of bikes that aim to bring Harley’s classic look and sound for a modern and younger audience. Read more of this post

Cotton Slumping as Glut Expands Record China Hoard

Cotton Slumping as Glut Expands Record China Hoard

China is hoarding a record amount of cotton to aid farmers as global production exceeds demand for a fourth consecutive year, increasing the risk of a supply surge that would tip prices into a bear market. The biggest producer and user will have 12.7 million metric tons in inventory by July 31, 62 percent of the global total and enough to make about 71 billion t-shirts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. The government may end its stockpiling program the following season, Macquarie Group Ltd. says. Prices will drop 8.4 percent to 69.5 cents a pound in a year, according to the median of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Read more of this post

Thai Top Money Manager Sells Stocks as Protests Hurt Growth

Thai Top Money Manager Sells Stocks as Protests Hurt Growth

Thailand’s top-performing equity fund manager has reduced holdings of domestic shares on expectations that protests against the government’s amnesty bill will spur prolonged political conflict and curb economic growth. BBL Asset Management Co., which runs seven of the ten best-performing Thai equity funds during the past three years, has raised cash holdings since mid-October, Voravan Tarapoom, chief executive officer at Bangkok-based BBL, which oversees about $10 billion, said in an e-mail. The benchmark SET Index (SET) plunged 2.9 percent yesterday, the most since Sept. 23, as an estimated 10,000 protesters marched through Bangkok’s streets. Read more of this post

Doosan Infracore Slumps on Unexpected Global Share Sale Report

Doosan Infracore Slumps on Global Share Sale Report: Seoul Mover

Doosan Infracore Co. (042670), South Korea’s largest construction equipment company, declined the most in more than two years in Seoul trading after a report of a possible $400 million depositary-receipt sale sparked investor concern that it would dilute shareholdings. Doosan Infracore fell 8.3 percent, the most since October 2011, to close at 13,250 won. The stock was the second-worst performer on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. (034020), its biggest shareholder, dropped 3.3 percent. The building-equipment maker is considering selling depositary receipts overseas, Doosan Infracore said in a filing after the report by MoneyToday. Doosan Infracore hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc to help sell the receipts to raise funds for possible future investments in China and Europe as well as for its Bobcat unit in the U.S., MoneyToday reported today, citing unidentified investment banking officials. “News of Doosan Infracore seeking a global depositary receipt sale was totally unexpected,” said Richard Park, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul. “If the report is correct, it won’t be good news for investors.” Doosan Infracore agreed to buy Bobcat for $4.9 billion from Ingersoll-Rand Co. in 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net

Shanghai Zendai Property plans to transform a Johannesburg suburb into the “New York of Africa” with an 80 billion rand ($7.8 billion) investment over the next 15 years

Shanghai Zendai Plans $7.8 Billion ‘New York of Africa’

Shanghai Zendai Property Ltd. (755) plans to transform a Johannesburg suburb into the “New York of Africa” with an 80 billion rand ($7.8 billion) investment over the next 15 years, Chairman Dai Zhikang said. The company, based in Hong Kong, will build a financial hub, as many as 35,000 houses, an educational center and a sport stadium in the 1,600 hectares (3,950 acres) of land it purchased from AECI Ltd. (AFE) in Modderfontein, eastern Johannesburg. The area, currently used for manufacturing, is about 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Sandton, the city’s main financial center, and the same distance west of OR Tambo International Airport, Africa’s biggest airport. Read more of this post

Hepatitis C, a Silent Killer, Meets Its Match

November 4, 2013

Hepatitis C, a Silent Killer, Meets Its Match

By ANDREW POLLACK

Determined to get rid of the hepatitis C infection that was slowly destroying his liver, Arthur Rubens tried one experimental treatment after another. None worked, and most brought side effects, like feverinsomnia, depression, anemia and a rash that “felt like your skin was on fire.” But this year, Dr. Rubens, a professor of management at Florida Gulf Coast University, entered a clinical trial testing a new pill against hepatitis C. Taking it was “a piece of cake.” And after three months of treatment, the virus was cleared from his body at last. Read more of this post

Rupert Murdoch is right: companies should look to their own people instead of passing the buck to ‘ignorant consultants’

Leo D’Angelo Fisher Columnist

Rupert Murdoch is right: companies should look to their own people instead of passing the buck to ‘ignorant consultants’

Published 04 November 2013 12:02, Updated 04 November 2013 14:46

Rupert Murdoch has made an important point about the disproportionate role of management consultants in today’s corporate sector. Photo: Bloomberg

In just one tweet – 140 characters – Rupert Murdoch has defined a corporate sickness that threatens to suck business dry of innovation, vision, purpose and, critically, employee pride, motivation and engagement. That tweet, posted by Murdoch over the weekend, stated: “Newscorp sad case of damage by ignorant consultants. Fast being repaired by infusion of experienced managers.” This can only be interpreted as a very public swipe at Kim Williams, the former chief executive of News Corp Australia who was forced out by Murdoch in August. (Never mind that in News Corp’s ASX announcement Murdoch paid tribute to Williams for “his nearly two decades of service … but more importantly, for his loyalty and friendship to me and my family all of these years”. Such is the way of mealy-mouthed ASX announcements.) Read more of this post

When Being Alone Turns Into Loneliness, There Are Ways to Fight Back

When Being Alone Turns Into Loneliness, There Are Ways to Fight Back

Occasional Loneliness Is a Near-Universal Feeling, Therapists Say, That Individuals Can Identify and Work to Change

ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN

Nov. 4, 2013 6:57 p.m. ET

I spend a fair amount of time by myself. One recent day, I worked, read, cleaned my desk, took a walk, made soup and chatted with my best friend on the phone. By evening, I felt productive and content. Then, for the first time in hours, I checked my phone. There was not one new text, call or email—not even from Groupon. Wasn’t anyone thinking of me? It got me thinking: How does being alone turn into being lonely? Some people crave time alone, but experts say occasional feelings of loneliness are a near-universal experience. Evolutionary psychologists say the lonely feeling developed to alert humans—social animals who rely on each other to survive—that they were too close to the perimeter of the group and at risk of becoming prey. Spending time alone is more fun when it is by choice. When it is the result of loss, separation or isolation, people are likely to experience it as loneliness. Homesickness, bullying, empty-nesting, bereavement and unrequited love are all variations on the theme. Loneliness isn’t depression, which is a lasting feeling of deep sadness and hopelessness and should be treated by a professional. Read more of this post

Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem; DNA tests show that many pills labeled as healing herbs are little more than powdered rice and weeds

November 3, 2013

Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Americans spend an estimated $5 billion a year on unproven herbal supplements that promise everything from fighting off colds to curbing hot flashes and boosting memory. But now there is a new reason for supplement buyers to beware: DNA tests show that many pills labeled as healing herbs are little more than powdered rice and weeds. Using a test called DNA barcoding, a kind of genetic fingerprinting that has also been used to help uncover labeling fraud in the commercial seafood industry, Canadian researchers tested 44 bottles of popular supplements sold by 12 companies. They found that many were not what they claimed to be, and that pills labeled as popular herbs were often diluted — or replaced entirely — by cheap fillers like soybean, wheat and rice. Read more of this post

Problems for bitcoin in China

Problems for bitcoin in China

Staff Reporter

2013-11-05

The sudden closure of an online trading platform of the virtual currency bitcoin in China brought to the fore the problems surrounding the new currency in the country, where such transactions are surging, the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly newspaper reported. Chinese users of GBL, a bitcoin trading platform that claims it is based in Hong Kong, were shocked when they found on Oct 26 that access to the service’s website was no longer available. Read more of this post

New township projects in China may cause bubble to burst

New township projects in China may cause bubble to burst

Staff Reporter

2013-11-05

Under the auspices of urbanization, many municipal governments in China have jumped onto the bandwagon of “new township” projects in recent years, fueling realty speculation and adding to concerns regarding the country’s property bubble, according to the news portal NetEase. Authorities in Guangzhou in southern China’s Guangdong province broke ground on construction of its New Knowledge City on Oct. 29. The project in Luogang district will encompass 75 billion yuan (US$12.3 million) of investment, and will spearhead the implementation of a further 10 new township projects in the city. Read more of this post

Stock Splits Rekindle a Polarizing Debate; eight of the 11 S&P 500 companies that have split their stock this year have since outperformed their peers, rekindling the debate about the value for shareholders

November 5, 2013, 12:27 AM ET

Stock Splits Rekindle a Polarizing Debate

MAXWELL MURPHY

Senior Editor

Stock splits have all but disappeared from the corporate playbook, but eight of the 11 S&P 500 companies that have split their stock this year have since outperformed their peers, rekindling the debate about the value for shareholders. Noble Energy Inc.NBL +1.25%Flowserve Corp.FLS +1.16% and Gilead SciencesInc.GILD -2.30%, for example, all have at least doubled their number of shares outstanding this year, and had beaten the benchmark index by 20 to 63 percentage points as of the end of October. Read more of this post

China premier warns against loose money policies

China premier warns against loose money policies

12:46am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) – China needs to sustain economic growth of 7.2 percent to ensure a stable job market, Premier Li Keqiang said as he warned the government against further expanding already loose money policies. In one of the few occasions when a top official has enunciated the minimum level of growth needed for employment, Li said calculations show China’s economy must grow 7.2 percent annually to create 10 million jobs a year. Read more of this post

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