The race to work since George Floyd

This is an audio transcription of the FT press briefing podcast episode: The race to work since George Floyd

Marc Filipino
Hello from the Financial Times. Today is Tuesday, May 31. And this is your FT News briefing.

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A major chipmaker wants to partner with its rivals. And how is a Swiss mining company bouncing back after years of corruption scandals? Additionally, we will examine whether companies have delivered on their promises to fight racism, two years after the police killing of George Floyd.

Federica Cocco
There were a lot of donations, outside events. But generally people felt that there were a lot more words than actual actions.

Marc Filipino
I’m Marc Filippino, and here’s the news you need to start your day.

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The Qualcomm boss wants to shake up the semiconductor industry, and he wants to do it with Qualcomm’s rivals. The goal is to invest in major chip designer Arm. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because SoftBank tried and failed to sell this company to chipmaker Nvidia for an astounding $66 billion.

Anna Gross
Just to give you an idea of ​​Arm’s scale, its chip designs are in over 95% of smartphones worldwide, but they’re also in computers, TVs, cars, data centers .

Marc Filipino
It’s Anna Gross from the FT. She recently spoke with Cristiano Amon, the boss of Qualcomm. He said the US chipmaker wanted to buy a stake in Arm along with its rivals after it listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The goal is to create a consortium so that Arm remains neutral.

Anna Gross
It’s important to note that Qualcomm is one of Arm’s biggest customers. And it uses Arm’s IP for the chips it makes for smartphones, computers, servers and more. So its chief executive, Cristiano Amon, vehemently opposed Nvidia’s purchase of Arm, saying it would give the company a huge competitive advantage and that it didn’t make sense for a company that designs chips for just about every chipmaker in the world. world to belong to just one of these societies. But at the same time, Amon and other semiconductor executives are aware of Arm’s importance to this entire ecosystem. They know that if the company doesn’t receive significant investment, it might not be able to innovate enough to keep up with ongoing technological advances. And so Amon said Qualcomm would be interested in investing in Arm when it goes public, but would like to do so alongside other chipmakers.

Marc Filipino
So Anna, would any of Qualcomm’s rivals be interested in joining this consortium, the one Amon suggested? I’m particularly curious about Nvidia, which was supposed to buy Arm.

Anna Gross
Yes, that’s an interesting question because the idea has come up several times in Arm’s history, including before it was sold to SoftBank and also when the Nvidia purchase was first announced. Earlier this year, Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger also suggested that Intel might be interested in forming a consortium to invest in or even buy Arm. So I think that’s potentially support there. Although Amon was clear that for such consortium ownership to work, there must be enough participating chipmakers for Arm to ultimately remain independent.

Marc Filipino
Anna Gross is the FT’s technology, media and telecommunications correspondent. Thank you Anna.

Anna Gross
Thank you very much Mark.

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Marc Filipino
A Swiss-based mining company is trying to put a very public scandal behind it. Glencore pleaded guilty to bribery and market manipulation. He also agreed to pay over $1 billion in settlements in the US, UK and Brazil. Harry Dempsey of the FT says court filings show this was happening in several African and Latin American countries.

Harry Dempsey
Court documents have therefore provided many details of how it works, and Glencore traders and their counterparties would call these bribes “logs”, “deposits” or “chocolate”. It’s almost like something out of the movies. And they were paying money to agents they had in the country for bribes to pay local officials, which would give them preferential terms to access oil. And then in terms of market manipulation, there was an investigation by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and it showed that Glencore was basically raising or lowering bids to manipulate the price of heating oil in the US. And they were also providing misleading or insufficient information to Platts which was basically helping to gauge the price of different fuels in the market, and that would then help him sell oil shipments at artificially low or high prices depending on whether they buy or sell them.

Marc Filipino
Prosecutors also revealed that these practices were embedded in Glencore’s corporate culture. So what is the company going to do to try to restore its reputation after all this?

Harry Dempsey
Well, I think there’s a question of whether it’s about restoring one’s reputation or actually trying to improve a reputation that was never the cleanest of reputations. But what they did is they tried to improve their compliance. They reshuffled their management team. And they claim there have been great improvements and some of the analysts who follow the company say it has improved. I think there is a big question whether this is the case or not. There is also another question, I think, of whether any of Glencore’s financiers or customers, including Tesla and General Motors, will want to continue dealing with a company involved in things like this.

Marc Filipino
Harry Dempsey is an industry reporter for the FT.

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The 2020 police killing of George Floyd sparked massive protests across the United States and around the world. It has also led companies to make big pledges to tackle racism and diversity in their workplaces.

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Events in the summer of 2020 have exposed long-standing inequalities, including . . .

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We want to keep racial equity in the spotlight and move the work forward.

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We must use our voice to express that we are against racism.

Marc Filipino
But a new survey commissioned by the Financial Times shows that a majority of workers in the UK do not believe progress has actually been made. Federica Cocco from the FT looked into this and she joins me now. Hi Federica.

Federica Cocco
Hello marc.

Marc Filipino
So, Federica, you wrote an article about all this and you start it with the story of someone you call James, to protect his identity. It’s not his real name. Tell us about him and his experiences at work over the past two years.

Federica Cocco
So in 2020, James was working for a major advertising agency in London, and because he had experienced what we call microaggressions in the office, and there’s a variety of it, you know, it could be people doing racially insensitive statements or getting people of color confused with each other. He went to talk to his manager to ask him what he was going to do concretely in terms of actions. And his manager was vague, but he said, so we’re definitely going to do a big drive, it’s a big company priority to increase diversity. And then a week later he was in a Zoom call. And on that Zoom call, that same manager showed a racist cartoon, you know, depicting some sort of racist stereotype of a black person. And he was just showing it to everyone laughing.

Marc Filipino
Now, how often do you see an experience like the one we’re talking about here with James? Break down some numbers, and in the survey you did for the FT here.

Federica Cocco
So in this survey we interviewed one thousand six hundred workers. The survey was actually carried out by Ipsos Mori. And we found that basically, overall, two-thirds of workers think that when it comes to racial inclusion, when it comes to, you know, these promises that these companies have made, two-thirds of workers think things are either the same or have actually gotten worse since 2020.

Marc Filipino
Now I remember there were a lot of donations back then. We played a clip with a lot of promise to the public. People were not satisfied. The company James worked for made those black squares, blackout Instagram posts. But he left anyway because it wasn’t enough considering the real problems of his business.

Federica Cocco
He eventually moved to another company, which he found much better. They do training two or three times a year for diversity, for unconscious bias. And he says the main thing that’s also made the difference is the fact that he just sees other people of color in the office and they can talk to each other, they can share stories. It’s just that they don’t feel as isolated as he did when he was in this business and he was one of two black men on his floor.

Marc Filipino
So what else are workers saying that would actually be helpful? Is there something close to your heart?

Federica Cocco
There was one that improved the grievance process. You know, like James, for example, James didn’t really feel like he could talk to anyone in the office and his manager was clearly useless. So having an HR process that actually protects people of color and puts them at ease if they have complaints in the office would be a huge step up for companies. But only 44% of respondents said they trusted their HR department.

Marc Filipino
Federica Cocco is a statistical journalist for the FT. Thank you, Federica.

Federica Cocco
Thanks Mark.

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Marc Filipino
Before leaving, the news regarding the global economy has not been great. Production slowdowns in China, big sales on Wall Street and high inflation everywhere. So, we want to know: are you changing your financial habits? Put more money into your savings, go out to restaurants less or change nothing at all? Record and send us a voice memo telling us your plan for this saving. We might just feature it in a future episode. Just email me at [email protected] We will also leave this email in the show notes and thank you.

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You can read more about all these stories on FT.com. This has been your daily press briefing on FT. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the latest trade news.

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