FirstFT: Norwegian oil fund denounces “corporate greed” on executive compensation

Hello. This article is an on-site version of our FirstFT newsletter. Sign up for our Asia, Europe/Africa or Americas edition to get it delivered straight to your inbox every weekday morning

Did you follow the news this week? Take our quiz.

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund has attacked “corporate greed” and excessive pay for “poor performance” and pledged to take action against the worst offenders.

Nicolai Tangen, chief executive of Norway’s $1.2 billion oil fund, told the Financial Times it would target large pay packages that were unjustified, opaque or insufficiently long-term.

“We are in an inflationary environment, where we see many companies with quite poor performance exiting with very large salary packages. We’re seeing corporate greed reach a level we’ve never seen before, and it’s getting really, really costly for shareholders in terms of dilution,” he said.

The oil fund, which owns the equivalent of 1.5% of all listed companies globally, voted against executive pay at Intel’s annual meeting this week and at Apple in March.

The fund also voted against IBM this year, citing persistently high salaries despite the company’s disappointing performance, General Electric for a complex and non-transparent salary package and Harley-Davidson, saying it had not presented a compelling business case for offering higher salaries than competitors.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of the news from the day — George

The news of the war in Ukraine

Military Briefing: Can Ukraine Repel the Russian Army? Some former Ukrainian officials believe the country’s military could force Russian troops out before the end of the year, including from the eastern Donbass region. “If we have everything we need by June, we could get them out by October,” said Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former defense minister.

A Ukrainian army tank during a training exercise last week © John Moore/Getty Images

1. UK warns EU it has ‘no choice’ over Northern Ireland The UK is heading for a clash with Brussels over its intention to introduce legislation to scrap parts of the Brexit deal after talks on Northern Ireland trade rules ended in an impasse and recriminations. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Thursday that Britain would have “no choice but to act”.

2. BoE censured by top Tories for soaring inflation Senior Tory MPs have turned on the Bank of England over its handling of inflation, a rare public criticism of how the central bank is doing its core job. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party has come under fire for its handling of the escalating cost of living crisis.

3. Warner Music and BMG battle over Pink Floyd’s back catalog British rock band Pink Floyd, known for hits such as ‘Money’ and ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, could soon be $500 million richer, with Warner Music and KKR-backed BMG competing for buy the catalog of the group, according to people. familiar with the matter.

4. Dubai workers grapple with cost of living crisis Food delivery workers from Talabat, a unit of Delivery Hero in Germany, have staged an illegal strike to protest low wages as the rising cost of living sparks unrest among the Gulf’s poorest warehouse workers , which is a playground for some of the wealthiest in the world. people.

5. Venture capitalists seek big returns with NFTs Venture capitalists are pouring millions into digital art, virtual lands and online collectibles, the new frontier for investors seeking big returns in crypto. Digital objects known as non-fungible tokens burst into mainstream culture last year, quickly becoming a multi-billion dollar market.

  • Learn more about digital assets: The $1.3 billion cryptocurrency industry was hit with one of its toughest challenges when stablecoin Tether failed to maintain its peg to the US dollar. Here’s why Tether is at the heart of the global crypto market.

Line chart of $ per token showing Tether losing its $1 peg

The latest news on the coronavirus

A man works in a WeWork office

WeWork said it accounted for 39% of all office leases in the first quarter in London, a city it said was ‘leading the move towards flex’ working © Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The day ahead

Eurozone : The EU will release March industrial production figures and France will release April CPI data.

Russia: The impact of the sanctions on the Russian economy will be laid bare when the gross domestic product and inflation figures are released.

Results: Banca Generali, Deutsche Telekom and Sage will publish their results. In Japan, Honda, Mazda and Toshiba will also report earnings. More information on what’s happening today and this weekend in our Week Ahead newsletter.

Join us in person or online at FT Business of Luxury Summit May 18-20 to hear from luxury leaders like British Vogue, Valentino, YSL and Zegna.

What else we read

Democracy could be in crisis. But autocracy is certainly The “crisis of democracy” is a cliché of our times. But what about the even more consequential crisis of autocracy? Just look at the collapses in China, Russia, Turkey and arguably Africa’s largest authoritarian state, Ethiopia, writes Simon Kuper.

Dublin can no longer treat Irish unity as a distant aspiration With a new generation in Ireland squeezed by inflation and a severe housing shortage, the days when Sinn Féin represented the ballot box placed alongside the Armalite of the IRA are long gone. But to be clear, writes Philip Stephens, Irish unity is not suddenly around the corner.

Space station shows adversaries must collaborate The International Space Station is the costliest and most successful infrastructure project in the world. This, says Sinead O’Sullivan of Harvard Business School, is a prime example of the strategic deployment of “coopetition”: collaborating with competitors to achieve goals that you could not achieve alone.

  • More space: Astronomers have unveiled the first images of the closest black hole to Earth, located in the center of the Milky Way.

Inflation: managing the threat to your retirement The big losers from inflation are fixed-interest investments such as gilts – a staple holding in UK pension funds, writes John Plender. Capital value and income flow decline in real terms and tend to underperform equities when price levels rise rapidly.

Businesses understand the cost of living crisis better than politicians The Queen’s Speech this week paved the way for dozens of bills to come, but there was very little to deal with soaring household bills, writes Claer Barrett. A lack of measures to tackle soaring inflation has left the government feeling out of ideas or simply not caring.

Food

Come summer, tourists flock to Stow-on-the-Wold, swelling the population of this quaint hillside market town in a corner of the Cotswolds. Its souvenir shops are doing well, but Andrew and Jesse D’Ambrosi, owners of the town’s eponymous delicatessen, have never been interested in taking a sizable slice of that pie.

Jesse and Andrew D'Ambrosi in the store

Jesse and Andrew D’Ambrosi in their store © Lesley Lau

Thanks for reading and don’t forget you can add FirstFT to myFT. You can also choose to receive a FirstFT push notification every morning on the app. Send your recommendations and comments to [email protected] Register here.