Sunday 18 March 2018

The Punt: Exhausting times at VW

Departure: Top executive Winfried Vahland.
Departure: Top executive Winfried Vahland.

Things just aren't getting any better for Volkswagen. Having been under intense pressure over the emissions scandal in the US, it has announced that its newly- appointed chief for north America, in the job only three weeks, is now leaving in a shake-up.

In announcing the departure of top executive Winfried Vahland, the company said that he was leaving over a disagreement about how to structure the North American operations.

The emissions scandal has wiped a quarter off Volkswagen's market value, forced out its long-time chief executive, and rocked both the global car industry and the German economy.

'The New York Times' pointed out that the departure from the company had nothing to do with the diesel-emissions scandal that is preoccupying the car giant.

But it won't help to quell investor concerns. The US Federal Trade Commission, which probes companies accused of deceptive advertising, has said it had joined Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency in investigating Volkswagen.

Twitter ye not to get ahead

Smiles aplenty at Talbot Towers yesterday on reading a 'Telegraph' report that revealed Twitter's new executive chairman had only tweeted eight times.

This made The Punt feel better about its neglect of the platform. The new executive chairman is Omid Kordestani, who was Google's 11th employee, and managed to tweet three more times after his appointment - bringing his total up to 11.

That's two more than another board member, former Pearson chief executive Dame Marjorie Scardino, who joined the board in 2013. Kordestani resigned as Google's chief business officer two months ago, but stayed to advise on the company's restructuring as Alphabet. Previously he was on Vodafone's board. He may well have been too busy to spend time on the Twitter machine. "Omid is a proven and experienced leader, who will directly help & coach me and our leadership, and help us recruit the best folks to Twitter," tweeted Dorsey. "A great chairperson is the first step towards continuing to make our board one of the best in the world, and purpose-built to serve Twitter."

"I don't care if he doesn't use Twitter because after all it's an echo chamber only for journalists, celebrities, and those who wish to advertise how virtuous they supposedly are," Dorsey did not go on to add.

Kordestani's appointment comes a day after Twitter said it was cutting over 300 jobs. Best of luck, Omid.

Pinard-Byrne wins battle

Irish accountant Kieron Pinard-Byrne has been awarded what he described as a "priceless legal victory" in a long-running case against the opposition leader in Dominica, Lennox Linton.

Linton made comments in 2002 on radio programme that Pinard-Byrne claimed defamed him. He sued Linton and the radio station and succeeded in his original court action against them. But the defendants successfully appealed.

The Irish accountant then appealed that decision, but only in the case regarding Linton. At any rate, Pinard-Byrne has now won his own appeal to Linton's previous appeal victory.

But what really grabbed the Punt's attention is a statement issued by Pinard-Byrne to the 'Dominican Vibes' news portal.

"The legal due process (2003/2015) in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Privy Council stands complete and speaks for itself as a matter of public record… a legal dossier to corroborate Einstein's theory: He who sets himself up as judge and jury of truth is shipwrecked by the laughter of The Lords."

It is worth digging online to have a read over while supping on your morning tea.

Irish Independent

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