Each week, Report on Business editors choose five stories that shouldn't be missed. Here are the 'must reads' for the week of Nov. 30, 2009:
Soaring debt brings Dubai down to earth
Don't be taken in: While the central bank of the United Arab Emirates stepped in Sunday to support local banks, the party looks to be over in Dubai. Interestingly, the people at the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club think that's just fine. "This recession is exactly what Dubai needed," said Ben Corrigan, one of the survivors of the construction collapse that has plagued this place for a year and led to the news last week that Dubai World, the emirate's development arm, wants to postpone payments on its $59-billion (U.S.) debt for six months.
Will sponsors stand by Woods?
As questions swirl around Tiger Woods following a single-car crash near his Florida mansion last Friday, visitors to the website of Accenture PLC are greeted by a picture of golf's biggest superstar trying to hit his way out of tall grass and a clutch of cactuses. The photo is part of a campaign by the consulting firm that pitches its services to help companies navigate a thorny business environment. Now that Mr. Woods has found himself in a prickly problem of his own, do his sponsors, including Accenture, have the patience to stand by and wait for him to chop his way to the green?
GM rocked by CEO's speedy exit
General Motors Co. chief executive officer Fritz Henderson resigned abruptly, a move seen as a setback to the U.S. auto maker as it struggles to regain profitability and stability after a 40-day Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. Ed Whitacre, GM's chairman, will replace Mr. Henderson on an interim basis until a new CEO is found. "While momentum has been building over the past several months, all involved agreed that changes needed to be made," Mr. Whitacre told reporters during a hastily called news conference late Tuesday in Detroit. Mr. Henderson was appointed earlier this year to replace Rick Wagoner, who was effectively ousted by the U.S. government, now the largest shareholder of GM.
T.V. Raman is a researcher for Google Inc. He lives in Mountain View, Calif. Every day, he takes the company shuttle bus home. Every day, the shuttle driver drops him off at the same intersection. One day, a new driver dropped him off on the opposite side of the street. This made it difficult for Mr. Raman to get to his home, because he is blind. The experience prompted Mr. Raman and his colleagues to work on a software application that uses a smart phone's built-in capabilities to help users figure out where they are.
The young and the jobless
Brendan Baines has spent day and night on fruitless job searches for the past three months. He has applied for about 50 jobs, been interviewed by fewer employers and received even fewer offers. None, in fact. It's not due to a lack of education. The 25-year-old has an international relations degree from the University of Calgary and a college diploma in international project management. He speaks Spanish, has worked in Guatemala and lived in Italy. He is smart and articulate. But now, he has moved back in with his parents in Richmond, B.C. Mr. Baines is the face of a generation that is being forced to make life adjustments after a recession that claimed hundreds of thousands of jobs, devastating a labour market now struggling to rebound.