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Asos changes up its chief executive

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We know that in fast fashion, what’s “in” one day can be “out” the next. So it is with Asos chief executive Nick Beighton. He is stepping down as CEO with immediate effect, the Aim-quoted company said this morning as it published full-year results that hadn’t been due until Thursday.

Asos said the change at the top, announced on the same day the group elevated senior independent director Ian Dyson to its chair, came as it “puts in place the leadership to underpin delivery of the next phase of its global growth strategy”. Beighton had been with the business for 12 years, six as its chief executive. It has not named his permanent replacement. Previous chairman Adam Crozier announced earlier this year that he was stepping down to take the chair at telecoms group BT.

The company’s results showed pre-tax profits up by 25 per cent on last year to £177m and revenues up by 20 per cent to £3.9bn. But after a boost in the early days of the pandemic last year, Asos’s share price stands at half the level it reached in April following a July warning of muted trading — and well below its 2018 highs.


Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has said the global aviation industry should aim for 2019 to have been the peak year for fossil fuel use in the business. Last week global airlines committed to reaching net carbon zero emissions by 2050 as the sector tries to get on the front foot ahead of the COP 26 climate conference next month. Heathrow’s passenger numbers for September were 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Electric vehicle charging provider Pod Point announced its intention to float on the LSE, with an issue of new shares and partial stake sale by Legal & General Capital Investments. Energy giant EDF is to retain a majority stake after the IPO.

AstraZeneca said the latest trial of its antibody cocktail — as opposed to its vaccine — showed positive high-level results, with a “statistically significant reduction in severe Covid-19 or death compared to a placebo in non-hospitalised patients with mild-to-moderate symptomatic Covid-19”. Last week it requested emergency approval from US regulators for the AZD7442 antibody combination.

And finally, Sanjeev Gupta has agreed a crucial restructuring of his Australian steelworks and will inject £50m of new funding into his UK plants, offering hope to 3,000 workers at the Liberty Steel UK plants. Sylvia Pfeifer has the full story.

Beyond the Square Mile

A much-anticipated Credit Suisse report into its failings around the collapse of Greensill Capital has been delayed, with the stakes raised considerably for the Swiss bank after its headquarters were raided by police. Credit Suisse had hoped to release findings from the investigation at its third-quarter results next month, our banking team report, but with the report yet to be finalised, that deadline will now be missed.

Squabbling in Brussels is bogging down plans to regulate Big Tech, correspondent Javier Espinoza reports. Last year the EU unveiled a radical blueprint for tech regulation that would put onerous responsibilities on the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon to clean up their platforms and ensure fair competition. But, stuck in the European parliament, the rules now risk being watered down and heavily delayed.

And a cryptocurrency start-up from the ethereum co-founder is raising a funding round that would value it at $3bn, our correspondent in San Francisco reports. ConsenSys, which has profited from the boom in decentralised finance, develops and invests in projects built on the ethereum distributed ledger, a rival to bitcoin that can be used to create financial services apps and other automated software programmes. Miles Kruppa has the full story.

Essential comment before you go

My pick of the day is once again not a comment item (apologies) but just a fascinating read which is well worth your time: the FT’s Tom Wilson tells how an employment tribunal gives a rare glimpse into a BP division making billions in sales but about which little is ever disclosed.

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