Chanel Chooses London for Global Office

Chanel Chooses London for Global Office
The luxury goods maker Chanel has told the BBC it’s elected to set up its global office in the UK. For the first time in its 110-year history, the brand is gathering the majority of its global business functions under one roof.

Chanel, renowned for its tweed suits, handbags and perfume, had global sales of over £7bn last year, and employs more than 20,000 people. It has over 30 million social media followers on Instagram.

Chanel Chooses London for Global Office

Chanel told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it “wanted to simplify the structure of the business and London is the most appropriate place to do that for an international company. London is the most central location for our markets, uses the English language and has strong corporate governance standards with its regulatory and legal requirements”.

The decision – which is understood to involve dozens of jobs – means that Chanel has picked London as the base for its global team over other locations such as New York, or even its creative hub of Paris.

Chanel, whose Little Black Dress has come to epitomise the label’s Parisian heritage, is retaining its head designer Karl Lagerfeld and his team in the French capital.

Justine Picardie, editor-in-chief of Harpers’ Bazaar and Coco Chanel’s biographer, hailed the move as a mark of the global powerhouse’s confidence in the UK’s long-term prospects.

She pointed out that it also moves Chanel closer to one of its fastest growing customer bases with “spending on luxury goods by affluent London households being only second to Hong Kong, in terms of growth”. She added: “Chanel leads the way. My strong intuition is that other (luxury brands) will follow.”

The reasons Chanel gives for its decision echoes those cited by the likes of banks and manufacturers who’ve opted to move operations to the UK over the years.

The news comes as many businesses voice concerns about the continued uncertainty over Brexit and future trading arrangements, and the impact that may have on investment and jobs.

Chanel’s decision will be welcome news to British designers as London Fashion Week gets underway. They’re potentially facing upheaval to their supply chains in the form of tariffs, delays at the border and exchange rate volatility in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Such concerns could, according to Paul Alger, of the Fabrics and Textiles Association, make buyers at catwalk shows hesitate to place orders, which would be due for delivery next spring.

The fashion industry contributed over £32bn to the UK industry in 2017, according to the British Fashion Council. That’s an increase of 5.4% on 2016, making it one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.

 

Volkswagen’s Beetle Car Comes to the End of the Road

Volkswagen’s Beetle Car Comes to the End of the Road
Volkswagen is ending production of its Beetle in 2019, closing the door on one of the world’s most iconic car designs. The German company said output would end at its plant in Mexico next July after production of celebration models.

The Beetle has its roots in Nazi Germany with the creation of a “people’s car”, but went on to star in a series of successful Disney films as a vehicle called Herbie. But sales, particularly in the key US market, have fallen in recent years.

Volkswagen's Beetle Car

Consumers in the US have increasingly turned to larger cars such as crossovers and sports utility vehicles.

Volkswagen, in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal and huge investment in electric vehicles, says it will look to slim down its model range with a greater focus on family and electric cars. The company say the final Beetle models will be available in both coupe and convertible styles.

“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America.

The Beetle was originally designed in the 1930s by legendary engineer Ferdinand Porsche – a name now synonymous with fast cars – at the behest of Adolf Hitler, who wanted to see a cheap and practical mass-produced car made available to the German people.

But the outbreak of war would stall its production, as military necessity took precedence. The plant would be severely damaged, then fell into the hands of allied forces – who were eventually to play a large part in its recommissioning.

The company is already thought to have reviewed a possible model revamp and options for electric versions in recent years, before deciding on its abandonment.

But Mr Woebcken didn’t completely rule out that the model could one day be resurrected: “Never say never.”

Volkswagen sold 11,151 Beetles during the first eight months of 2018, down 2.2% from the same period a year earlier.

US consumers looking for a small Volkswagen vehicle overwhelmingly prefer the Jetta sedan, or the Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle.

Finding the Right Business Insurance

Finding the Right Business Insurance
Many businesses could get far better rates and cover for their business insurance than they currently have but the time required to undertake the research and find the best deal is something that they don’t always have, if this sounds like your business then one solution could be using the services of a professional insurance brokers to help you make sure you have the best levels of cover for the lowest possible price.

Business Insurance

Weir Insurance have over forty years-experience offering insurance and brokering services to their customers in and around Newcastle both commercial and residential and are able to offer expert help and advice regarding most types of insurance including business insurance, household insurance, vehicle insurance and property insurance, with specialist advice and policies available regarding issues such as professional indemnity insurance, landlord insurance and public liability insurance you can be certain that they will be able to make sure that you and your business has all the cover that you require, even if you have a unique business or something that is complicated or hard to insure they will do everything they can to make sure that you have the correct level cover for the best possible price.

If you are just starting out or moving into an new branch of your industry Weir Insurance will be able to advise you of any insurance policies that are legal requirements and also what over types of cover that are available that may be beneficial for your company to hold, or if you have a more established business they will be happy to take a look at your existing policies to see if they can improve the cover you have or see if they can save you money when the time comes to renew your business insurance.

One of the main advantages of using the services of a reliable insurance brokers such as Weir Insurance is they will have many good working links within the industry and a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can use to help you make sure that you have the best cover available, that you aren’t paying for any unnecessary extras or have to face any surprise fees or extortionate excess charges if you do ever need to make a claim.

So if you want to save time and get the best possible value for your money but still be sure that your business insurance provides all the cover you require why not get in touch with Weir Insurance? Offering a friendly, reliable service that is flexible enough to fit around your businesses needs and very reasonable rate you can be certain that you won’t be disappointed.

Contact Weir Insurance Brokers
For further information please call one of our experienced insurance team today on 01670 365533 or visit the Weir Insurance brokers website. We have been helping our clients’ with their insurance needs since 1972. We talk to you about your requirements, work with you to figure out what cover you need (and what cover you don’t) and then use our relationship with dozens of insurers to find the best solution for you.

Tax Cut for Self Employed Workers Scrapped

Tax Cut for Self Employed Workers Scrapped
A planned tax cut for 2.7m self-employed workers has been scrapped by the UK government. It was originally due to scrap Class 2 National Insurance contributions in April but the move had been delayed by a year and has now been shelved. It cited concerns that low-earning self-employed people would pay more to access the state pension, and it would make the tax system more complex.

Labour’s John McDonnell called it a “betrayal of the self-employed”.

The government was originally due to scrap Class 2 NI contributions, paid by self-employed people with profits of £6,205 or more a year, in April 2018 but last year announced it was delaying that for a year.

But it announced on Thursday that they would not now be abolished in this Parliament. The move was set to save millions of workers about £150 a year.

But there had been concerns that the move would hit more than 300,000 self-employed people earning less than £6,000 a year who were paying the Class 2 NICs voluntarily, in order to access the state pension. They would have faced being moved to Class 3 contributions, raising weekly payments from £2.95 to £14.65.

In a written statement, Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick said the change had been intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed but it had “become clear” that a “significant number” of self-employed people with the lowest profits would have ended up paying more.

“Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change, we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this Parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society,” it said.

Trying to address the concerns would have meant “greater complexity to the tax system, undermining the original objective of the policy”. He added: “The government remains committed to simplifying the tax system for the self-employed and will keep this issue under review in the context of the wider tax system and the sustainability of the public finances.”

But shadow chancellor Mr McDonnell said: “This is yet another betrayal of the self-employed. These people are the engine of the economy and have been let down again, while giant corporations have seen their tax bills slashed.”

The Federation of Small Businesses said it would hit more than three million people and would “net the Treasury more than £350m annually in the three years to 2021”.

FSB Chairman Mike Cherry said the Treasury “should have worked harder” to find ways to protect low-earners.

“The self-employed community has been let down today, missing out on a promise to reduce their tax burden. This raises serious questions once again about the government’s commitment to supporting the self-employed. ” He added: “Class 2 NICs is a regressive levy that indiscriminately hits sole traders and makes life even tougher for those who are hard-up.”

British Airways Boss Apologises for Data Breach

British Airways Boss Apologises for Data Breach
The chief executive of British Airways has apologised for what he has called a very sophisticated breach of the firm’s security systems. Alex Cruz told the BBC that hackers carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on its website.

The airline said personal and financial details of customers making bookings had been compromised.

British Airways Boss Apologises for Data Breach

About 380,000 transactions were affected, but the stolen data did not include travel or passport details. BA said the breach took place between 22:58 BST on 21 August and 21:45 BST on 5 September.

Mr Cruz told the BBC’s Today programme: “We’re extremely sorry. I know that it is causing concern to some of our customers, particularly those customers that made transactions over BA.com and app. “We discovered that something had happened but we didn’t know what it was [on Wednesday evening]. So overnight, teams were trying to figure out the extent of the attack.

“The first thing was to find out if it was something serious and who it affected or not. The moment that actual customer data had been compromised, that’s when we began immediate communication to our customers.”

BA said all customers affected by the breach had been contacted on Thursday night. The breach only affects people who bought tickets during the timeframe provided by BA, and not on other occasions.

Mr Cruz added: “At the moment, our number one purpose is contacting those customers that made those transactions to make sure they contact their credit card bank providers so they can follow their instructions on how to manage that breach of data.”

The airline has taken out adverts apologising for the breach in Friday’s newspapers.

 

Executive Search Position in Manchester

Looking for that Executive Search Position in Manchester
Finding a new job in a large, busy city such as Manchester can be really difficult especially if you are looking to take a step up the ladder or want to do something a little more interesting.  Finding vacant positions can take hours of online searching only to find that the position has expired or that competition for the role is fierce so finding an agency that offers Executive Search could be the ideal solution.

Executive Search in Manchester & the UKTraditionally using a recruitment agency has been considered a place to find short term work in low level roles or for work within sectors such as education or health care but nowadays more and more companies are choosing to approach recruitment agencies to help them fill vacancies in a more diverse range of role including management and middle management positions.

Agencies offering Executive Search focus on finding the most talented and motivated people to help companies fill the roles that will really help make sure that the company keeps moving in the right direction.  With an aim to ensure that their clients have the trust in them to send candidates that are really well suited to every available vacancy you can be certain they will be able to help you find a role that is matched to your skills set.

With a wide variety of job opening becoming available regularly building a good relation with an agency offering Executive Search is an excellent way to make sure you get to hear of any interesting opportunities as soon as they become vacant so you will often be able to express your interest before the post is even advertised elsewhere, giving you a real advantage if a job needs to be filled quickly.

Some roles won’t even require a full interview and you won’t need to compete against other candidates, and as the agency will be able to forward your CV and any other paperwork or documents on your behalf you could be starting an interesting new role with the minimum of fuss and effort in no time at all.  With full support, information and advice available if you ever need it using an agency offering Executive Search can really help you further your career.

If you are returning to work after a break, wanting to make a move into a different type of industry or are newly qualified and looking to gain experience to add to your CV undertaking some short term projects is the perfect way to gain knowledge, improve your confidence and get further insight into working practices within your chosen field.  Or even if you just want a more flexible working schedule one of the many advantages of using an agency offering Executive Search services is that they are likely to hear about relevant roles before anybody else.

So if you have been considering a change in your working life recently but have been finding it hard to find interesting or relevant vacancies get in touch with a recruitment agency that can offer Executive Search Manchester has a busy and competitive jobs market that has many roles becoming available every day and this is the ideal way to make sure you get to hear about them without having to spend hours trawling the internet and newspapers.

Once you have completed the initial registration process you may find you are pleasantly surprised with some of the employment offers you receive! Whether you are looking for full time, part time, temporary or permanent work they could help you find a role that is suitable for you much more quickly and easily that you may first think!

With the benefits including being among the first to hear about exciting new vacancies, a shorter application process and many roles having an immediate or short start date you could be working in a job that you really love far soon that you may first think.

Google Releases Content Safety API to Identify Child Abuse Images

Google Releases Content Safety API to Identify Child Abuse Images
Google has today announced new artificial intelligence (AI) technology designed to help identify online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and reduce human reviewers’ exposure to the content.

The move comes as the internet giant faces growing heat over its role in helping offenders spread CSAM across the web. Last week, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt took to Twitter to criticize Google over its plans to re-enter China with a censored search engine when it reportedly won’t help remove child abuse content elsewhere in the world.

Earlier today, U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid launched a new “call to action” as part of a government push to get technology companies such as Google and Facebook to do more to combat online child sexual abuse. The initiative comes after fresh figures from the National Crime Agency (NCA) found that as many as 80,000 people in the U.K. could pose a threat to children online.

The timing of Google’s announcement today is, of course, no coincidence.

Google’s new tool is built upon deep neural networks (DNN) and will be made available for free to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other “industry partners,” including other technology companies, via a new Content Safety API.

News emerged last year that London’s Metropolitan Police was working on a AI solution that would teach machines how to grade the severity of disturbing images. This is designed to solve two problems — it will help expedite the rate at which CSAM is identified on the internet, but it will also alleviate psychological trauma suffered by officers manually trawling through the images.

Google’s new tool should assist in this broader push. Historically, automated tools rely on matching images against previously identified CSAM. But with the Content Safety API, Google said that it can effectively “keep up with offenders” by targeting new content that has not previously been confirmed as CSAM, according to a blog post co-authored by engineering lead Nikola Todorovic and product manager Abhi Chaudhuri.

“Quick identification of new images means that children who are being sexually abused today are much more likely to be identified and protected from further abuse,” they said. “We’re making this available for free to NGOs and industry partners via our Content Safety API, a toolkit to increase the capacity to review content in a way that requires fewer people to be exposed to it.”

Most of the major technology companies now leverage AI to detect all manner of offensive material, from nudity to abusive comments. But extending its image recognition technology to include new photos should go some way toward helping Google thwart — at scale — one of the most abhorrent forms of abuse imaginable. “This initiative will allow greatly improved speed in review processes of potential CSAM,” Todorovic and Chaudhuri continued. “We’ve seen firsthand that this system can help a reviewer find and take action on 700 percent more CSAM content over the same time period.”

Among Google‘s partner organizations at launch is U.K.-based charity the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which has a mission to “minimize the availability of ‘potentially criminal’ internet content, specifically images of child sexual abuse.”

“We, and in particular our expert analysts, are excited about the development of an artificial intelligence tool which could help our human experts review material to an even greater scale and keep up with offenders by targeting imagery that hasn’t previously been marked as illegal material,” added IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves. “By sharing this new technology, the identification of images could be speeded up, which in turn could make the internet a safer place for both survivors and users.”

Access to the Content Safety API is only available by request, which can be initiated through this form.

Google & Mastercard in Credit Card Data Deal

Google & Mastercard in Credit Card Data Deal
Google has reportedly bought Mastercard credit card data in the US to help it track users’ offline spending in stores. The two firms had not made the deal public but it was discovered by Bloomberg.

Mastercard denied suggestions that its data could be used to identify exact purchases.

The Open Rights Group told the BBC the confidential nature of the deal raised privacy issues.

“This raises serious concerns regarding the use of private financial data,” said legal director Myles Jackman. “Will Mastercard be compensating their clients for the data they have given away to Google for their own financial gain?”

Google says all the data is anonymised and that users can opt out of ad tracking by switching off the web and app activity control.

It is testing a service for ad buyers in the US that shows how digital ads influence in-store spending.

On its website, the firm claims that advertisers who qualify to use its “store sales management” service can see whether an ad click or video view results in an in-store purchase within 30 days.

Google said the service was a test product in the US and only available to certain ad buyers. It launched the ad tool in 2017.

“Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information,” the firm said in a statement.

“We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.

Mastercard told the BBC it offers its own “media measurement services” to retailers, in which the merchant provides advertising campaign details and it supplies spending data for the duration of the campaign.

“We only provide merchants and their designated service providers trends based on aggregated and anonymised data, such as the merchant’s average ticket size and sales volumes,” said a spokesman. “We do not provide insights that track, serve up ads to, or even measure ad effectiveness relating to, individual consumers.”

Funding Circle to Raise £300m with Listing

Funding Circle to Raise £300m with Listing
Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lender, plans to raise £300 million by listing on the stock market in London. The firm offers loans to small businesses in the US, Germany and the Netherlands as well as the UK and the funds will be used to expand in new markets.

Funding CircleFunding Circle said the listing would help “engender trust” with investors, borrowers and regulators.

The venture was founded in London in August 2010.

Under its business model, small firms can apply to borrow money from a pool of funds supplied by individuals or firms. The arrangement cuts out banks, hence the term peer-to-peer.

It is the first such lender to float on the London stock market and could be valued at up to £2bn.

Since 2010 Funding Circle has lent more than £5bn in loans to 50,000 small businesses from 80,000 investors – including some £1bn in the first half of this year. Revenue jumped to £63m in the first half of 2018, up from £41m in the same period last year.

Loans under management as at the end of June were more than £2.5bn.

Samir Desai, chief executive and co-founder of Funding Circle, told the BBC it was a “very simple business. We allow anyone to lend money directly to small businesses, cutting out the banks. We are not a savings product.”

Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are acting as advisers for the IPO.

As part of the share sale, Danish billionaire Anders Povlsen will take a 10% stake in the firm. His holding company, Heartland, is a major investor in online fashion retailers Asos and Zalando.