Investor Relations Week: Hacker Payouts, Shareholder Decisions, and Stock Loans for Alibaba Founders

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– The majority (62 percent) of US CFOs responding to a recent CNBC The study found that Colonial Pipeline “had no choice but to pay the ransom” to ransomware hackers. There is a lot of talk at the board level, which supposedly includes discussion of the buyout decision. In a survey, 85 percent of CFOs in the United States said their board of directors held a formal discussion on recent cybersecurity incidents and their aftermath. “It’s a hacker’s business and a business decision about whether to pay victims,” said Jim Lewis, senior vice president and director of the strategic technology program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I’ve been to board meetings before where CEOs literally cried, cried because the 100-year-old family business is completely shut down,” said David Kennedy, a former NSA hacker and then founder and CEO of the security by TrustedSec.

– Shareholders passed a record number of resolutions in 2021 on issues related to climate and social themes such as diversity, according to CNN… “This is an amazing proxy season,” said Heidi Welch, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Investment. “I think this will really change the way companies view the environmental and social concerns raised by their investors.” A survey of leading US companies by the Institute for Sustainable Investment and As You Sow found this year 34 majority votes for proposals on ESG issues. This is much higher than last year’s figure of 21, and this number may continue to grow.

– The Financial Times (Paywall) reported that Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, the Chinese billionaires who founded Alibaba, have pledged a portion of their combined stake in the e-commerce group of $ 35 billion in exchange for significant loans from investment banks, citing company documents. Pledges of shares given to banks, including UBS, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and others, were taken by offshore companies that control more than half of the two billionaires’ shares in Alibaba, which stood at 5.8% in December. Share pledges, in which banks accept shares as collateral for loans while the borrower retains ownership of the shares, is risky, and most US companies restrict executives from using it, the document notes. Any forced sale of pledged shares could exacerbate the fall in the value of the company’s shares. This can be caused by collateral requirements where borrowers have to repay loans from brokers or give up shares.

– Robinhood Disclosed “Dizzying Growth and Legal Errors” in filing for IPO this week, Reported Reuters… The company is targeting an IPO valuation of more than $ 40 billion, according to the news agency, with its IPO filings detailing for the first time how the trading mania that sparked controversy over the app when it gripped hobbyist investors sparked a fourfold jump. in Robinhood’s revenue from January to March, and how expensive it was to expand quickly. He reported a net loss of $ 1.4 billion since borrowing $ 3.5 billion through convertible bonds to support a wave of trade orders amid a rise in several stocks that were closed by hedge funds and supported by individual investors in online chat rooms. including Reddit’s. WallStreetBets.

– Marco Gobbetti stepped down as CEO of Burberry after almost five years in that role. The keeper The British fashion brand said that Gobbetti, who was tasked with changing the business when he took over in 2017, is leaving to find a job in Italy that will bring him closer to his family. Italian luxury goods group Salvatore Ferragamo has announced the appointment of Gobbetti as its new CEO. Burberry Chairman Jerry Murphy, who commissioned Gobbetti to lead the brand and business transformation, said: “The board and I are naturally disappointed with Marco’s decision, but we understand and fully respect his desire to return to Italy after nearly 20 years abroad. In line with our strategy’s roadmap and unchanging vision, we are committed to leveraging Burberry’s solid foundation to accelerate growth and add value to our shareholders. ”

“In other fashion news, French prosecutors have launched an investigation into four fashion dealers suspected of covering up ‘crimes against humanity’ in China’s Xinjiang region,” a source in the judiciary said. Reuters… The procedure is linked to allegations against China regarding the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs from minorities in the region, including the use of forced labor. China has denied all allegations of abuse in the region. A source told Reuters that the investigation will be carried out in the following companies: Uniqlo France, a division of Japan’s Fast Retailing, owner of Zara Inditex, French SMCP and Skechers, confirming the report from French media site Mediapart.

Wall Street Magazine (Paywall) reported that, according to Microsoft, the hackers installed malware to steal information on one of its systems and used the information gathered there to attack their customers. According to a company spokesman, the hackers hacked into a computer used by a Microsoft customer support employee, which could provide access to various types of information, including account “metadata” and billing contact information. Microsoft is aware of three customers affected by recent activities, the company said. “In some cases, the attacker used this information to launch targeted attacks as part of a broader campaign,” the company said. “We reacted quickly, closed access and secured the device.”

CNN reported that the Bank Policy Institute (BPI), the trading group behind JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and dozens of other major banks, highlights 30 best practices that lenders can use to reduce inequality in black communities. The institute’s report, for the first time in the industry, outlines concrete ways to tackle these deep-seated problems. Recommendations include publishing data on diversity and engagement, recruiting more diverse asset management personnel, and examining “massive” charitable investments within the industry in a specific sector or foundation. Fabrice Emmanuel Coles, BPI’s vice president of government affairs, said some banks are already implementing these best practices and others are not. He acknowledged that it would take time and considerable effort to address racial inequalities.

– The SEC appointed Gurbir Greval as Compliance Director effective July 26. Greval is currently the Attorney General of New Jersey, a position he has held since January 2018. “I am honored and delighted to welcome Attorney General Grual to the SEC,” said Gary Gensler, chairman of the financial regulator. “He has had a distinguished career as a senior New Jersey law enforcement officer and as an attorney at both the local and federal levels. He has the perfect blend of experience, values ​​and leadership skills to lead the Compliance team at this critical time. ” Before becoming attorney general, Greval served as attorney for Bergen County, the main law enforcement agency in New Jersey’s most populous county.

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