That's 'Sir' to you


  • What a month for the U.S. markets: The Dow and S&P 500 had their best August performances since 2014. And riding a surge in tech, the Nasdaq closed up over 5.7% for the month, its best August since 2000.
  • Do you like economic data? This is the week for you. Check out our jam-packed calendar below.

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WPP’s New CEO Will Have His Hands Full

Mr. Mark Read, welcome to your new office. As you get settled in as the brand new CEO of the world's largest advertising company, please take a look at this to-do list that we've compiled. We're itching for you to get started right away...
1. Move on from Martin Sorrell

Former CEO Martin Sorrell (actually, that's Sir Martin Sorrell to you) resigned in April after an investigation into alleged personal misconduct. Well...he's back, and his new firm, S4 Capital, recently beat out WPP to acquire a Dutch marketing firm, MediaMonks.

  • Remember: Over the course of just three decades, Sorrell took WPP from a shopping basket manufacturer to an advertising behemoth with over 130,000 employees working across ~400 businesses in 112 countries.

2. Keep the disruptors at bay

Digital platforms like Facebook and Google have completely overhauled advertising, introducing big data, fine-tuned analytics, and more transparency to what's been an old-school industry.

  • Case in point: In April, Ford (a critical WPP client) said it would put its global creative under review. In 2016, the automaker was the ninth largest advertiser in the U.S. (spending $2.3 billion).
  • What Read has to say: "Our industry is going through a period of structural change, not structural decline, and if we embrace that change we can look ahead to an exciting and successful future."

3. Lean on your experience

Read was the CEO of one of WPP's biggest agencies, Wunderman, since 2015. He led the charge to consolidate Wunderman's various global offices and expand its capabilities. Before that, he spent 12 years as the Head of Strategy and then CEO of WPP Digital.

4. Age WPP like a fine wine

One juicy bit from the WSJ story: "Colleagues say Mr. Read is exacting. A wine connoisseur, Mr. Read is known for bringing his own bottle to social events in case the wine being served isn't up to scratch, they say."


The Great Canada Trade Debate

Remember studying the Wars of the Roses back in high school history? Negotiations over the future of NAFTA are getting that thorny.

  • Prereq info: NAFTA was instituted in 1994 to lower trade barriers among Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. It's drawn a sizeable crew of critics and supporters since then.

A brief timeline...

Last week: Mexico and the U.S. struck a preliminary deal to replace NAFTA, but one important piece was missing—Canada. President Trump gave a Friday deadline for it to get on board, but...

Friday: Canada and the U.S. failed to reach a deal. Canada's top trade negotiator Chrystia Freeland said, "We're not there yet," but a "win-win agreement is within reach."

This weekend: Trump showed he's not desperate to include Canada.
Wednesday: Trade talks are set to resume.

Bottom line: Trump would still need approval from Congress to sign a bilateral agreement with just Mexico. But the clock is ticking...he wants to finalize the new deal within 90 days—with or without Canada.

Wednesday: Trade talks are set to resume.

Bottom line: Trump would still need approval from Congress to sign a bilateral agreement with just Mexico. But the clock is ticking...he wants to finalize the new deal within 90 days—with or without Canada.


Major Changes Ahead for Skype

Skype just turned 15 years old, and instead of getting a learner's permit, it's making some changes.

So...what's changing? The Microsoft-owned video messaging platform is dropping its Snapchat-inspired "Highlights" to prioritize "simplicity and familiarity." A new redesign will trim down mobile and desktop platforms to focus on the basics: chats, calls, and contacts.

Here's a look at the new, 15-year-old Skype. No braces, yet.
Why the new look? Well, for starters, Skype's operating in a fiercely competitive field with Apple's FaceTime, Facebook's WhatsApp, and Tencent's WeChat, to name a few.

  • WhatsApp leads the pack, with ~1.5 billion monthly active users...while Skype only has 300 million. Best way to compete? Focus on what you know.

Zoom out: Skype added Highlights (i.e. Instagram Stories for Skypers) in a redesign last summer to...less-than-enthusiastic reviews. Looks like Skype learned its lesson in time for its birthday—leave the highlight reels to the pros.

C-SUITE Founder Arrested in Minnesota...Now He's Back in China

Liu Qiangdong (also known as Richard Liu), billionaire CEO/founder of e-commerce juggernaut, has returned to China after spending some time in handcuffs this weekend in Minnesota.

Okay, we'll explain: On Friday, Liu was arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of sexual misconduct, then released the next day. The police haven't pressed charges.

  • The chief of Beijing-based was in the Gopher State attending a University of Minnesota program for executives (FYI, the alleged incident involved a Chinese student there).

His side of the story: "He was absolutely innocent of any wrongdoing in this case. Once the police realized it was a mistake to arrest him without proper evidence, they released him without bail and without taking his passport," Liu's attorney told the WSJ.

Worth noting: It's not the first time Liu has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. In 2015, he hosted a birthday party for Chinese businessman Longwei Xu...who was later convicted of sexually assaulting a model he met at Liu's party that night.


The (Short-but-Packed) Week Ahead

How's your post-Labor Day recovery coming along? Some highly anticipated labor stats (and some major action in D.C.) should get you through the short week.

Tuesday: Construction spending, monthly motor vehicle sales; confirmation hearings begin for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; earnings (WPP); Wildlife Day

Wednesday: Trade deficit; executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter testify in Congress; earnings (Cushman & Wakefield, Bayer); Cheese Pizza Day

Thursday: ADP private sector employment report; the NFL season kicks off, Read a Book Day; earnings (Broadcom)

Friday: August jobs report; Beer Lovers Day, Salami Day (that's a day we can get behind)


  • Nike will feature former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as one of the athletes in its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.
  • Argentina has unveiled an austerity program to address the "emergency" of its rapidly collapsing peso.
  • The National Museum in Rio de Janeiro caught fire over the weekend, destroying almost all of its 20 million artifacts.
  • Crazy Rich Asians led the box office for its third-straight week, pushing theaters to one of their best Labor Day weekends in years.
  • Russian state TV is giving Vladimir Putin his own weekly reality(ish) show called, "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin."


Notice that robocallers are getting more clever? You're not alone. Luckily, the NYT wrote a piece that walks you through how to block and report spam calls and text messages.

You learn something new every day: Walmart, Target, Kmart, and Kohl's all opened their first stores in the same year. Do you know what year that was?

(Answer located at bottom of newsletter)

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