Alex Kozinski, Meryl Streep, Tax Bill, Microsoft: Broadsheet for Dec. 19
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! After two blissful (and largely internet-free!) weeks away, it’s great to be back. And there’s plenty of news to catch up on: Federal judge Alex Kozinski has stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations, Microsoft drops forced arbitration agreements, and two Fortune MPWs go snack shopping. Enjoy your Tuesday.
• Snack time! It’s already been a big week for two of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women. Yesterday, Campbell Soup Company, led by CEO Denise Morrison, announced that it would acquire Snyder’s-Lance for nearly $5 billion, and the Hershey Company, led by CEO Michele Buck, said it is buying Amplify Snack Brands in a deal valued at about $1.6 billion.
In this analysis, my colleague Beth Kowitt points out that the acquisitions have one thing in common: “Snacks. And lots of them. Snyder’s-Lance is home to a who’s who of snack brands, including Snyder’s of Hanover, Lance, Kettle, Cape Cod, Pop Secret, and Late July. Amplify, meanwhile, is the company behind the likes of Skinny Pop, Tyrrells, Oatmega, and Paqui,” notes Beth.
And no wonder: More than 90% of Americans say they snack every day (guilty!) and the market for those between-meal bites has continued to flourish, even as growth in the rest of the consumer packaged foods industry has largely stalled.
For more about how an increasingly snack-centric strategy fits into both companies’ future plans, read the rest of Beth’s story here: Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Sorry, not sorry. Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California, retired yesterday following sexual harassment accusations from at least 15 women. In a statement, he said he was stepping down because he cannot “be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle.” He also issued what is—at least to my eye—a textbook non-apology “apology,” stating: “It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize.” The accusations against him, first reported by the Washington Post, span decades and include showing two of his former clerks pornography in his chambers. Fortune
• Bravo, Microsoft! Microsoft has eliminated forced arbitration agreements with employees who make sexual harassment claims, and says it’s supporting a proposed federal law that would essentially ban them. Such agreements have long helped companies keep sexual harassment quiet and eliminating them would be a major step forward. New York Times
• Collins is a yes. The GOP tax bill got a boost yesterday when Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who had not yet said whether she would back the proposal (and who had been a holdout on previous Republican legislation), said publicly that she plans to vote for it. WSJ
• A scary ride. An Uber driver in Lebanon with a previous arrest for drug use has confessed to killing British diplomat Rebecca Dykes in Beirut over the weekend. Fortune
• Kelly, considered. Mary Louise Kelly will succeed Robert Siegel to become the newest host of NPR’s All Things Considered. As this Vogue story notes, the appointment is particularly notable since Kelly also confronted the broadcaster’s CEO, Jarl Mohn, in a nationally aired interview about the company’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against then–senior vice president of news, Michael Oreskes. (Oreskes later resigned.) Vogue
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Wells Fargo has expanded the role of Mary Mack, head of its community banking operations (and No. 37 on Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women list), to include overseeing its consumer lending business. Legg Mason is adding Michelle Goldberg, a partner at Ignition Partners, and Alison Quirk, formerly of State Street Corporation, to its board.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Bad will hunting? Matt Damon, who has already been roundly criticized for an ABC News interview in which he suggested that some men were being unjustly penalized over sexual harassment allegations, appears to be doubling down, telling Business Insider that we should be paying more attention to all the men in Hollywood who aren’t assaulting women. Talk about setting the bar low… Business Insider
• Not hospitable. Among the (many) industries that are coming under increased scrutiny over sexual harassment: the hotel business. “Employees say hotels too often put discretion and deference to powerful customers before the well-being of women who work there,” writes the New York Times‘ Benjamin Mueller. This piece focuses on multiple accusations of sexual misconduct brought by employees of the Peninsula Beverly Hills—one of the places where Harvey Weinstein allegedly set up “meetings” he used as cover to harass actresses. New York Times
• Going into overtime. Harris Faulkner, host of Fox News show Outnumbered Overtime—and the only black woman with her own daily program on one of the three major cable news channels—talks about her decision to remain at the network in the wake of its sexual harassment problems and how she believes she can become “part of the solution.” LA Times
• Shopping setback. The retail doldrums aren’t affecting all workers equally, it seems: Women lost 129,000 retail positions in the last year, according to an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, while men actually gained 106,000 jobs. Bloomberg
ON MY RADAR
Yes, you can start a business and have a baby at the same time HBR
Words of wisdom from some of the world’s most powerful women Fortune
The opioid crisis is even worse for women LA Times
Meet the official workwear brand of powerful women The Cut