There’s probably been a bit of schadenfreude around this week, as the credit crunch brought a few more financial high-fliers crashing down to earth. Citigroup boss Chuck Prince was the major casualty, although the size of his compensation package infuriated many (not least our editor). With the check-out in sight, the Qataris gave up on their attempts to buy Sainsbury’s – leaving investor Robert Tchenguiz painfully out of pocket. And a few corporate giants also had a painful week – BT and Next came under the cosh after disappointing results statements, while Yahoo was castigated for giving up a Chinese dissident to the authorities.
But others had better news to report – Virgin Media, M&S, Primark and even toy-maker Hornby defied expectations. And some parts of the global economy appear to be ignoring the credit crunch altogether. We saw the first $1 trillion-valued company in China, while mining giant BHP Billiton started sniffing around rival Rio Tinto in what would be the second biggest takeover ever.
We saw a few stereotypes turned on their head this week. Supermodel Gisele proved how celebrities can make a significant contribution to economic policy, while Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said that the climate change debate was nothing more than a storm in a teacup (so to speak). One leading academic even suggested that companies can learn a thing or two from politicians, believe it or not.
But other developments were rather more predictable. Google revealed the latest stage of its world domination plan – an open source mobile phone platform – while Facebook started trying to justify its exorbitant price tag by opening up its database to advertisers. And most disappointingly of all, research showed that women are still getting paid much less than men. Some things never change, apparently.