Though his executive decisions have inspired criticism, time has shown that under Nadella’s leadership Microsoft is poised to once again dominate the industry with a suite of innovative, useful products and services.
Though he was a relatively unknown figure before Steve Jobs’ death, Cook, who considered Jobs a close friend and mentor, was nevertheless integral in the company’s success since he joined Apple in 1998.
Fast food giant McDonald’s has fired its Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook following revelations of an affair with one of his colleagues, with the successful businessman admitting that he had made a ‘mistake’ regarding his conduct.
Despite both parties consenting to the relationship, the company deemed that Mr. Easterbrook had violated their company policy. It has been disclosed that he is likely to receive around 26 weeks pay against an estimated $16m annual salary and additional bonuses could see him pocketing somewhere in the region of $35m. As part of the exit arrangement, Mr. Easterbrook is not permitted to work for a competitor for a minimum of two years.
News of his departure was circulated to McDonald’s staff via an email in which the 52 year old admitted that he had made a mistake with regards to his conduct. The personally written email also said that he agreed with the board and that it was ‘time to move on’.
British-born Mr. Easterbrook first began working for the company back in 1993, taking up the position of manager in London. After working his way through the ranks, he left in 2011 to head up the popular restaurant chain Pizza Express, before moving on to Japanese restaurant chain Wagamama. However, in 2013, he returned to McDonalds to undertake the position of Head of UK and Northern Europe before becoming Chief Executive in 2015.
Mr. Easterbrook stepped down after the board voted on the matter, also relinquishing his roles as president and member of the board. Their view is that the company has long upheld rules regarding conflict of interest which were clearly ignored by Mr. Easterbrook when he decided to embark on a relationship with a fellow colleague. He was immediately replaced by McDonald’s USA president Chris Kempczinski.
Many companies have such rules in place regarding relationships or at the very least require parties to disclose any romantic relationships that are occurring within the workplace. Experts say that the main driving factor is to avoid litigation caused by disgruntled partners if the relationship ends badly.
Observing the story unfolding, successful businesswoman and relationship expert Stephanie Tumba, author of ‘100 Dates and a Wedding’ commented:
“When you think how difficult it is to find love nowadays and that 1 in 5 couples meet at work, my view is that this decision was perhaps a little harsh and old-fashioned. Bear in mind that Bill Gates met his wife in the working environment, this stuff happens all the time. People shouldn’t lose their jobs and livelihoods over it.
Today, we live in a much freer world, a far cry from William Shakespeare’s forbidden love stories. Over the years, many taboos surrounding love and relationships have been lifted in most industrialised countries, and it would be naive to think that relationships are not blossoming between colleagues on a daily basis.
Embarking on a romantic relationship within the workplace means maintaining discretion and etiquette as a given. However, I think that sanctioning against such relationships can no longer be the default position. Employers should invite the employees to discuss this situation and then decide how to best deal with it. Whether it’s making them work in different departments and/or legally framing the situation.
Of course, one can understand that an employer would be concerned that the behaviour of the couple could cause reputational damage to the organisation and create tensions between individuals, teams or departments. Even more so when one of the parties is in a prominent leadership position.
Whilst it is essential that a certain level of conduct is maintained in the working environment, I do not think that organisations can continue to contractually prevent people from nurturing romantic relationships with their colleagues.
Naturally, some inter-work relationships have ended badly. The relationship between President Bill Clinton and his intern Monica Lewinsky lasted for over 18 months and almost led to him losing his job. Several other politicians have found themselves in similar circumstances, all having potentially damaging implications for both the individual and the organisation, country or party they represent.
However, Stephanie’s comments appear to be mirrored in a growing number of people who appear to have no problem with an office romance. A recent survey revealed that 75% of those questioned believed that romantic relationships at work were not problematic. This view was also supported by research which reveals that over 30% of office romances lead to marriage.
In fact, Barack and Michelle Obama first met at a Chicago law firm, after Michelle was given the task of mentoring the firm’s new summer intern, Barack. Despite rejecting his advances at first, over fear that the only two African-Americans in the office dating would appear ‘tacky’, she eventually relented, getting married just four years later.
Since its inception, The National Digest has been dedicated to providing authoritative and thought-provoking insights into trending topics and the latest happenings.
Recently, a string of vaping-related hospitalizations made headlines and led to growing concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes marketed as healthier alternatives to cigarettes and other tobacco products. In the aftermath of this news, a number of states have moved to ban flavored vaping products, and the federal government even contemplated the idea of banning all flavors of vapor except tobacco nationwide. This sudden spike in concern has led to problems for the vaping industry, as blame is being placed squarely on the manufacturers of nicotine-containing products for the public health epidemic, and as the growing popularity of vaping among teenagers and young people threatens to undo the work of several decades of public campaigns aimed at curbing nicotine addiction.
Juul, a brand which has become synonymous with vaping as it controls roughly 70% of the e-cigarette market, recently saw a change of leadership as it replaced its CEO with a former tobacco executive. A sudden change in leadership is never a good sign for a company, particularly one as large as Juul, and this news comes amidst other troubling developments for the company. Recently, the F.D.A. claimed that Juul broke the law by implying that e-cigarettes were safer than traditional cigarettes despite the lack of scientific evidence concerning the long-term health effects of using the products. Even more disconcertingly, the F.D.A found that Juul was marketing their products to teenagers in high schools as part of a campaign ostensibly targeted at reducing tobacco use by young people. Juul has said that it intends on fully cooperating with the F.D.A.’s regulations, and has announced it will not fight a proposed ban on flavored nicotine cartridges. Next year, e-cigarettes are scheduled to be banned in San Francisco, and Juul is considering whether or not they should abandon a ballot initiative to overturn the ban.
In order to stay on the market in the United States, Juul and other similar companies have to be able to prove that their products promote public health more than they harm it, which is growing increasingly difficult as the news reports of vaping-related hospitalizations and an epidemic of nicotine addiction in young people. While initially envisioned as a tool to help people quit smoking, vaping has instead become a fashionable trend, and many who are addicted to nicotine have no history of smoking cigarettes. The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes has been explosive, and while F.D.A. regulations concerning the sale of nicotine products have long been in effect, regulatory bodies have yet to catch up with the specific public health problems that e-cigarettes in particular pose.
Health professionals across the country are in virtual consensus in advising against the use of e-cigarettes, except as replacements for cigarettes as smoking cessation devices. Even then, there are nicotine delivery systems, such as chewing gum and patches, that are likely safer than vaping as they do not involve any inhalation of chemicals. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, said that e-cigarettes should be clinically tested to determine whether they are effective as smoking cessation tools, and if they are they should only be available by prescription, which is the same standard to which other potentially dangerous drugs are held.
While recent develops certainly don’t bode well for the e-cigarette industry, it’s difficult to make any concrete predictions about the fate of affected companies. Famously, the tobacco industry spent millions of dollars lobbying against the notion that cigarettes cause cancer and other health problems, and were very successful in doing so for several years. Vaping has become so widespread that its popularity perhaps even eclipses that of the tobacco products that preceded it, and as a result, the industry has a lot of money to spend on resisting regulatory efforts. However, the government has fought Big Tobacco before, pioneering widespread public health campaigns in an attempt to stop tobacco use, and as such has plenty of relevant experience to apply to fighting Juul and similar companies. Meanwhile, a meaningful segment of an entire generation of young people who otherwise would not have been exposed to nicotine are addicted to vaping, and only time will tell how they will be able to get their nicotine fix in the years to come.
As the United States continues to fight a massive vaping-related lung illness epidemic, Juul Labs, one of the countries largest and newest e-cigarette distributors, has taken some hefty measures. Kevin Burns, the CEO of Juul Labs, has resigned effective immediately on Wednesday (September 24th). While the official word is that Burns resigned, representatives from the Altria Group, Juul Lab’s top investors, say it was their decision.
Burns personally apologized for contributing to the teen vaping epidemic with the announcement that he was leaving the company stating that he’s “very proud of [his] team’s efforts to lead the industry toward much needed category-wide action to tackle underage usage of these products, which are intended for adult smokers only.”
Taking over for Burns will be Altria’s current senior vice president and chief strategy and growth officer, K.C. Crosthwaite. The company also announced that the business merger that was in the works between Juul and Philip Morris International, which sells Marlboro internationally, has been cancelled. Additionally a statement was released stating that Juul Labs will no longer produce any broadcast, print, and digital advertisements for itself in a greater attempt to comply with new federal e-cigarette policies as our government continues to finalize them. So the company is taking some major steps to get the hear from this epidemic off of them.
The United States has reported up to 530 cases of vape-related lung illness, and nine deaths among six different states. Scientists still have no idea what the main cause of this illness is, and while a majority of the vape products linked to these cases contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, they are still deeply analyzing ingredients in e-cigarette and nicotine vapes as well.
A year ago Juul most likely never saw such a major downward spin coming, as the company became one of the most popular e-cigarette products on the market; which was precisely the problem. Juul Labs was known for their sleek USB-esque design and multitude of flavor pods such as fruit punch and creme brulee. This isn’t Juul’s first run in with government regulations, back in October 2018, the FDA performed a surprise raid of the companies headquarters and seized thousands of documents in an attempt to prove that Juul was purposefully advertising to a younger audience with its “fun and fruity” flavors. While Juul Labs never formally admitted to the accusation, the company did cease the distribution of any flavored pods besides tobacco, menthol, and mint. However, with a massive amount of off-brand Juul-compatible pods being left on the market, the teenage epidemic continued.
Today, however, the Trump administration is working hard to federally regulate all flavored vaping products in response to the growth in teenage vape use, and rising national health concerns. So far there’s been a massive success, for example New York has already banned the selling of any flavored vape products/liquids.
In a statement made to USA Today, new CEO Crosthwaite said the company “will continue a broad review of the company’s practices and policies to ensure alignment with its aim of responsible leadership within the industry. I have long believed in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products from cigarettes, however that future is at risk due to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence in our industry. Against that backdrop, we must strive to work with regulators and policymakers and earn the trust of the societies in which we operate. That includes inviting an open dialogue, listening to others and being responsive to their concerns.”
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