President Donald Trump yesterday unexpectedly fired James Comey, the FBI director and very man whom he can thank for his election victory. In the last lap of the presidential race, Comey raised shady suspicions against Hillary Clinton, costing her the lead in many states. After Trump’s victory, Comey then launched an investigation into his new boss’s dubious contacts in Russia. Did he unearth something? Is Trump Putin’s henchman? Comey will soon dish the dirt: A book deal worth millions should materialize soon.
After its electoral triumph in Schleswig-Holstein and before voting kicks off in North Rhine-Westphalia, the pro-business Free Democratic Party is discussing potential coalition partners. Party boss Christian Lindner thinks Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union has the most in common with the FDP. His deputy Wolfgang Kubicki, on the other hand, sees the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats as equally attractive. While Lindner wants to keep Schulz at arm’s length, his Nr. 2 would happily offer him a helping hand. Kubicki knows how to scare the middle class.
Good news from South Korea: The Asian tiger with a nuclear-armed northern neighbor has voted for peace, electing former human-rights lawyer Moon Jae-in as president. He is calling for reconciliation with North Korea and wants to conduct peace talks with a view to reunification. Amid current tensions, this sounds like utopia. But no one knows better than the Germans how yesterday’s utopia can become tomorrow’s status quo.
BMW wants to massively expand production capacity, with a focus on 40 new or revised models. Within five years, the carmaker wants to increase output from its current 2.4 million cars per year to around 3 million. CEO Harald Krüger plans a factory that would allow flexible production between combustion and electric engines. This is the face of modern-day revolution: Barricades no longer burn but rotate and you work with software and robotic hands, instead of pyres and guillotines.
Executive pay at business software maker SAP is more liberal than at any other German firm. CEO Bill McDermott earned around €14 million in 2016. That’s a lot, but his pay could still rise to an upper limit of €41 million. Key investors moan that the supervisory board is “out of touch with the current social climate.” But co-founder and Supervisory Board Chairman Hasso Plattner defended the company’s remuneration policy in an interview with Handelsblatt: “It was a major strategic move for us to embed SAP’s business in America, where three out of eight board members are residents. That is why we have to pay like an American company.” Clear enough. But just because an answer is true doesn’t make it right.
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