Called to account
More than 70 Black executives have signed a letter calling on companies to fight a wave of voting-rights bills similar to the one recently passed in Georgia, which they say will make it harder for Black people to vote. Similar bills are being advanced by Republicans in at least 43 states, and the signatories are demanding that companies speak up more forcefully than they did in Georgia, Andrew and David Gelles report for The Times.
The effort is led by Ken Chenault and Ken Frazier, the former chief of AmEx and the departing chief of Merck, respectively. “There is no middle ground here,” Mr. Chenault said. “You either are for more people voting, or you want to suppress the vote.” The letter did not criticize specific companies, but called on corporate America to publicly oppose new laws that would restrict the rights of Black voters, and to use their clout, money and lobbyists to sway the debate.
The signers included Roger Ferguson Jr., the chief executive of TIAA; Mellody Hobson and John Rogers Jr., the chief executives of Ariel Investments; and Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive who is running for mayor of New York.
Corporations were circumspect as the debate raged in Georgia. Their muted response revealed a double standard. Last year, dozens of big companies signed a pledge that stated their “clear opposition to harmful legislation aimed at restricting the access of L.G.B.T.Q. people in society.” But “when it comes to race, there’s differential treatment,” Mr. Chenault said. “That’s the reality.”
Activists are calling for boycotts of Delta and Coca-Cola, which are based in Atlanta, for the tepid engagement in their home state. What happened in Georgia could easily spread to other states, the letter’s signers believe. “If corporate America doesn’t stand up, we’ll get these laws passed in many places in this country,” Mr. Frazier said.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
Regulators scrutinize banks’ actions in the Archegos fire sale. The S.E.C. and Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority have reportedly asked for information from prime brokers involved with the stricken investment firm. A group of brokers met last week to discuss how to unwind the firm’s trading positions — only to break ranks and start selling them quickly, roiling markets.
Plans to fund President Biden’s infrastructure plan take shape. The White House will call for 15 years of higher corporate taxes to cover $2 trillion in spending that Mr. Biden plans to announce today. That includes raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, from the 21 percent set by President Donald Trump’s cuts in 2017.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on compensating college athletes. At issue in the case today is whether the N.C.A.A. can put limits on education-related benefits. It comes amid a broader debate on whether student athletes can be paid.
New data show that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is highly effective in adolescents. The shot showed 100 percent efficacy in children aged 12 to 15, according to a new trial by the drugmakers. Depending on regulatory approvals, inoculations could begin in time for the next academic year.
A backslide in the number of Black finance executives. Anonymized government data shows that Black people held fewer top roles at U.S. financial firms in 2018 than in 2007, according to The Financial Times. That was the only minority group whose share of senior positions fell during the period.
Deliveroo’s market debut falls flat
Shares in the British food delivery service Deliveroo tumbled as much as 30 percent in their first day of trading this morning, after the company priced its I.P.O. at the low end of expectations. It was an inauspicious debut for Britain’s biggest initial stock sale in a decade.
Anticipation for Deliveroo’s I.P.O. was high, especially since the company’s decision to list in London was praised as a victory for a post-Brexit Britain. Its debut was…