Uber Revs Up for a Big U.N. Campaign; Credit Suisse Says Auf Wiedersehen to CEO; Barnes and Noble Books Not Terrible Earnings

Put the pedal to the metal…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Über is stepping on the p.r. gas and teaming up with U.N. Women for a big campaign. There is probably a joke in there somewhere about irony but I’ll let you come up with it. In honor of the twenty year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration – a provision promising global gender equality – Über wants to help foster and facilitate economic growth for women through the “Step It Up For Gender Equality” program. The idea is to employ 1 million women as Über drivers by 2020. But here’s the tricky part: Both Über and U.N. Women need to be present in a region. U.N. Women is only present in 48 countries while Über is allowed to operate in 55 countries, and the two don’t always coincide. Sadly, Über is more globally successful than gender equality. But that’s for another blog. Of course, it’s also hard to ignore all the scandals and issues Über has been having with not just female passengers who have been victims of violent drivers, but female drivers who have been harassed by passengers, as well. Currently, 14% of Über’s 160,000 drivers are women. This latest initiative, though no doubt noble and sincere, tends to also suggest that Über’s got some major fiscal growth plans up its tailpipe – continuing to intrigue investors who can’t seem to stop throwing billions of dollars Über’s way.

Nein…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan has announced he will be leaving the Swiss bank in June and giving the position over to Prudential’s Tidjane Thiam. Dougan, who had been at the post since 2007, said the decision to leave was mutual. Of course it was. For a while investors had wanted Dougan to cut back on the investment arm, but the CEO resisted. His resistance did not pay off. Combine that with the $2.5 billion Credit Suisse had to pay U.S.authorities for helping its clients evade taxes and, well, here we are today, discussing Dougan’s resignation. As the first American selected to be CEO of Credit Suisse, the Swiss media just wasn’t that into him from the start. His loyalty was questioned and he took heat for his pay packages. Also, Dougan doesn’t speak German, which apparently didn’t sit well the Swiss media either (and presumably, many many others). News of the impending change sent the stock climbing.

 Book it….

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Barnes & Noble’s quarterly results are in and the word is that revenue is down 1.7%  to $1.96 billion. This ought to surprise no one. And if it does surprise you then I have one word for you: Nook. The e-reader has been nothing but a giant money pit for the bookseller even with Samsung trying to come to its rescue by putting out the first new tablet for Nook in two years. What ought to surprise everyone is that B&N didn’t do nearly as bad as many thought it would all because of books. And toys. But definitely books. Actual books printed on (hopefully) recycled paper. I kid you not. It helped B&N rake in 93 cents per share in profits and helped store sales increase by 1.7%. Sure it wasn’t the forecasted $1.23 per share, but hey, Barnes & Noble will take it. Also, college books proved to be a big help in the fight against horribly missed earnings, with revenue coming in 7.2% higher. Barnes & Noble has plans to spin spin off its college books division in the summer. And now, instead of closing 20 stores this year, Barnes & Noble only plans to close 13 stores.

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Flying the Pricey Skies, Tesla’s Going Ga Ga For Giga, and Swiss Diss

What’s your loyalty worth…

Photo courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“A new model for earning miles will increase rewards for those who spend more as well as differentiate the SkyMiles frequent-flier program for our premium travelers,” says Jeff Robertson, the Delta Vice President who oversees the airline’s loyalty operations.  But just how loyal are you going to feel towards Delta? If you spent a big chunk of time racking up frequent flier miles on Delta, you might want to start cashing them in.  In about ten months they’re making some big changes to their rewards program that you might not find so rewarding.  Delta’s not gonna care how much you’ve flown and how much time you’ve spent on their aircraft – only how much cash you shelled out to have the privilege of flying with them.  Yep.  Mileage reward based on actual miles traveled will be a thing of the past.  If you’re looking to get rewarded your gonna have to pony up. While they’re not the first company to that, they are the first of the bigger airlines to do it.

The excitement is electric…

Photo courtesy digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s good to be Elon Musk these days.  The Tesla Chief Executive is gearing up to build a gigafactory.  Now what on earth is a gigafactory, you ask?  You could say it’s a battery factory.  But that would be like saying a Tesla is just a car, which – let’s be real-  is so much more.  Because Morgan Stanley is just as stoked,Tesla’s market value went above $30 billion.   And if you were on the fence about acquiring the sweet battery-powered ride, know that it just became the first US car to receive  “best overall pick” in Consumer Reports magazine.

Yodel-ey-hee-boo-hoo…

Photo courtesy bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Doesn’t look like Credit Suisse will be yodeling a happy tune any time soon.  Switzerland’s second largest bank acknowledged misconduct by a small group of private bankers.  Well that’s a relief  – just not a tax relief. Credit Suisse Chief Brady Dougan  – who happens to be a US citizen  – deeply regrets “that some Credit Suisse bankers appear to have violated US law.”  Rest assured that the bank’s management had allegedly no knowledge that nearly 22,000 US customers were hiding $10-12 billion in assets with them.  But you really gotta wonder what that says about their management skills.