The tech business week: Germany cracks glass ceiling, Rebekah Brooks to head Storyful


9 Mar 2015

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news the German government has approved a law that requires all company boards to have at least 30pc female members.

German government approves 30pc quota for female executives

The German government has approved a new law that will require all company boards to have at least 30pc of its members female after having first raised the proposal two years ago.

Starting in 2016, the law will apply to 100 listed companies in the country with a further 3,500 firms expected to set targets to get more women into higher executive positions.

This second grouping of board rooms are to be comprised of smaller companies and public services which will aim to meet the 30pc target by 2017, however, these smaller outfits are not expected to be penalised if they don’t meet the quota.

Rebekah Brooks to be named as new head of Dublin-based Storyful

In her first role following her acquittal last year in the UK tabloid phone hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks is to be named head of the successful Dublin-based social media news agency Storyful.

Her close relationship with media magnate Rupert Murdoch is believed to be one of the reasons why she has taken up this role with Storyful. Murdoch’s News Corp purchased Storyful in 2013 for €18m, according to The Financial Times.

While the exact details of the position have yet to be ironed out, it is understood Brooks will be running Storyful’s operations from the UK, with regular travel to Dublin, while also playing a role in the development of News Corp’s other digital ventures.

PCH buys Fab.com for an undisclosed sum

PCH, which masterminds the creation of consumer electronics goods from concept to retail, has acquired US e-commerce website Fab.com for an undisclosed amount of cash and equity.

It is understood that PCH intends to use Fab.com as a sales channel for hardware created by start-ups.

Fab.com’s 35 employees – including engineers, merchants, graphic designers and marketers – will become members of staff at PCH.

Freescale cashes in its chips as NXP creates ‘industry powerhouse’

Chip maker NXP Semiconductors has bought out Texan company Freescale Semiconductor Ltd, merging both into a major player in the chip-making world.

Following in the footsteps of Applied Materials and Qualcomm in recent years, NXP’s move gives it a stronger hand to play with when dealing with customers who want to streamline their order process.

With combined revenues of more than US$10bn, NXP claims the acquisition will also create a market leader in automotive semiconductor solutions and in general purpose microcontroller products.

Forbes’ Rich List shows Bill Gates is 40 times richer than richest woman in tech

Forbes has released its annual Rich List and while it’s no surprise that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reigns supreme, the list also shows the richest self-made woman in tech is 40 times less better off than Gates.

Despite his increased philanthropic activities and enormous donations, Gates dominates the top of the chart with an estimated worth of US$79.2bn with Oracle founder Larry Ellison falling behind somewhat at US$54.3bn.

HP CEO and former president and CEO of eBay Meg Whitman is the highest ranking woman in tech at No 949 overall, with an estimated value of US$2bn.

In a list which rarely deviates wildly from year to year, it is equally unsurprising to see that the rich are getting richer, with the top 15 tech billionaires worth a combined US$426bn, marking an 11.6pc increase on 2014.

Etsy’s IPO on NASDAQ set to soar

Online craft marketplace Etsy is expected to make its IPO on NASDAQ in the US in coming weeks, targeting an initial US$100m.

Brooklyn, New York-based Etsy’s 10-year success story has lead it to file a prospectus for a public offering, with the company prepared to market itself to investors within a few weeks.

The New York Times reports that Etsy will finance a new project as a result of the IPO, Etsy.org, “a non-profit it established in January to help train female entrepreneurs”.

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