Saturday 16 December 2017

The Punt: Schultz says hug a banker

Howard Schultz
Howard Schultz

If you can think of a more stressed, over-caffeinated, environment than City trading floors this week, we'd love to know it.

The chaos in the markets, across all asset classes, has played havoc with the Masters of the Universe, and in response, Starbucks has told its staff to be nicer to these battered traders.

Yes, nicer.

According to 'Fortune' magazine, the crazy moves on the markets prompted Starbucks chief executive and Captain of American Industry Howard Schultz to email staff urging them to "recognise" stressed behaviour and "be sensitive" to what customers are feeling.

"Today's financial market volatility, combined with great political uncertainty both at home and abroad, will undoubtedly have an effect on consumer confidence and perhaps even our customers' attitudes and behaviour," Schultz, below, wrote.

"Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern. Please recognise this and remember that our success is not an entitlement, but something we need to earn," he added.

Don't expect the harried market professionals to appreciate this soft touch though.

The Punt worked in finance during the 2008 crisis, and we don't recall giving a fig how friendly or not our barista was.

New man at Petroceltic

Irish oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic has appointed a new non-executive director, Hugh Cawley, with immediate effect.

Cawley is a chartered accountant and has been finance director of Progility since March.

Petroceltic, which is focused on the Mediterranean, North African and Black Sea regions, said Cawley has considerable experience in helping listed and private businesses improve their performance.

He was previously group finance director of office2office, prior to its sale in October of last year.

Cawley's career history also includes spells in senior financial roles with Procter & Gamble and ICI and as an executive director of S Daniels and Dawson Holdings. He will become a member of Petroceltic's audit committee.

The oil and gas company has had a tumultuous few weeks, after allegations appeared about it on a website.

Petroceltic said the allegations were "entirely baseless" and the High Court has since ordered that the page be removed.

Worldview, Petroceltic's largest shareholder, had sought clarification over the allegations.

1916 and all that in science

Everyone is getting on the 2016 Rising bandwagon it seems, with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) the latest hoping to exploit next year's events. And why not?

SFI has commissioned an advert that will be aired in cinemas from November, and which will showcase Irish science to 14 to 18-year-olds in an effort to persuade more of them, particularly girls, to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Hopefully it will have an impact.

SFI has told prospective producers that 2015 is the 20th anniversary of Science Week.

The advert will feature 20 faces of Irish science "famous and not; young and old".

"We need to encourage more and more young people, and in particular girls, to explore the impact they can have on society and their own lives through a rewarding career in science, engineering or technology," according to SFI.

Multinationals have often lamented the lack of IT graduates in Ireland.

SFI also wants the advert its commissioning to support a "celebration of the heritage of Irish science" to coincide with the 2016 celebrations.

Irish Independent

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