Hello and welcome to our weekly intelligence briefing for boards, where we help directors keep up to speed on the macro trends affecting businesses across the world, and corporate governance news.

We hope you enjoy it and, as always, you can find the latest stories and resources on

Each day FT Leader writers on the Editorial Board meet to discuss the topics to be considered for Leader columns. Here are the issues that dominated this week:

Powerful forces are reshaping global economics. The financial crisis, pandemic and war have put global supply chains under stress, and could bring an end to the 40 year-old cycle of globalisation.

The UK government, meanwhile, has squandered its legitimacy in defending Borish Johnson and Rishi Sunak over “partygate” fines.

In the coming week, the FT’s editorial board will be considering how the west can wean itself off Russian energy, a move that could seriously damage economies - particularly that of Germany. 

And we look ahead to the showdown between President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen in the final round of French presidential elections on April 24.


Central banks must raise interest rates to the point that they curtail growth: that is the view of a top Federal Reserve official. James Bullard, hawkish president of the St Louis branch of the Fed, calls for aggressive rate rises in an interview with the FT, arguing that it is “fantasy” to think inflation could be brought down without them. 

With supply chains struggling to keep up with a post-pandemic surge in demand and the war in Ukraine pushing up commodity prices, Bullard’s comments follow new US inflation data that show consumer prices increased at an annual rate of 8.5 per cent in March - the fastest pace in 40 years.

This is a problem beyond the US. UK inflation hit 7 per cent week - higher than forecast, and putting pressure on the Bank of England to raise rates once again, while New Zealand’s central bank has raised rates to 1.5 per cent - its biggest rise in 22 years. Prospects of full embargoes remain on Russian energy in response to invasion of Ukraine. Shanghai’s strict lockdown is fuelling supply-chain anxiety.

The FT’s Colby Smith has analysed the Fed’s options, while Robert Armstrong weighs the likelihood of recession in the US. One expert writing in the FT suggests  central banks may be forced to bail out commodities if stress turns systemic and public welfare is at risk. Investors, meanwhile, may be running out of options balancing risk in their portfolios. 

Elsewhere, leaders and their behaviour are under scrutiny. UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak were fined by police for breaking Covid-19 laws in the partygate scandal. For Sunak, the fine came days after accusations of conflicts of interest, following revelations about his wife’s tax affairs.

Once, scandals such as these would have meant curtains for political careers. Johnson is the first prime minister to have been found to have committed a criminal offence while in office. His justice minister has resigned.

FT columnist Robert Shrimsley points out that there are lessons for UK Conservatives in President Donald Trump’s acquittal over the storming of US Congress. That has left the ex-president free to stand again and retain his grip on the party. While it would be absurd to compare Trump’s crimes to Johnson’s lockdown breaches, nevertheless Conservatives hesitating to call time on Johnson’s leadership risk dragging down their party and faith in the political system. 

Businesses, too, suffer long-term consequences when they absolve leaders from blame: this week, two of the most influential proxy advisers have counselled Credit Suisse shareholders to vote against a motion to forgive executives and board members for multiple scandals.  

Meanwhile, as we are going to press, Elon Musk has made an offer to buy Twitter, which would value the social media platform at $43bn. Musk vowed to “unlock” the platform’s potential by taking it private. Days earlier he turned down a seat on the Twitter board. Musk is now the social media company’s largest shareholder after acquiring a 9.2 per cent stake this month. 

If it happens, the move would transform  the Tesla CEO into a new media baron, able to set the direction of a platform where he has more than 80mn followers and through which he has pursued personal vendettas and promoted his agenda.

Over on FT News Briefing, the FT’s daily news podcast, US business editor Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson discusses the rise of the conservative shareholder movement. He believes it reflects a breach between wider conservative sentiment and mainstream corporate America, as CEOs adopt liberal causes.


FTBD Cybersecurity and boards

Directors have turned their attention back to cybersecurity after losing focus during the pandemic, when staying in business was the priority, according to a survey by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport. But cyber criminals did not go away: UK businesses lost £374mn from cyber breaches linked to staff working from home, according to one report. What should boards do next to prevent their businesses becoming targets? 

This article is brought to you by FT Specialist’s Agenda, a publication that focuses on corporate boards.


We are looking forward to hosting our first in-person networking event at FT headquarters in London on April 26. Meet and connect with fellow members as well as guest speakers Katie Martin, Markets Editor at Financial Times and Philipp Hildebrand, Vice Chairman at BlackRock, who will both discuss the markets outlook for 2022. Post-event content will be shared after the event for those of you unable to attend.

Learn more about the event and RSVP here. 

And for a view from the other side, the FT’s investment columnist Merryn Somerset Webb will be hosting an evening on how to make capitalism work for the individual investor. That takes place at the FT headquarters in London on May 5. 

Learn more here. 
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