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Amazon CEO tells staff ‘it’s probably not going to work out’ unless they visit office three days a week

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Amazon’s CEO has told workers “it’s probably not going to work out” for them at the tech company unless they are prepared to come into the office at least three days a week.

Andy Jassy made the statement in an internal meeting this month where he expressed his frustration that some employees were not coming in three days a week, despite that now being Amazon’s official policy. He said: “It’s past the time to disagree and commit. If you can’t disagree and commit … it’s probably not going to work out for you at Amazon because we are going back to the office at least three days a week.”

The comments, reported by the news website Insider, came as big tech firms including Google and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta have ordered staff back to their desks for the majority of the working week.

Amazon had instructed its corporate employees to return to the office three times a week starting in May, ripping up previous policies that allowed individual teams to decide whether colleagues needed to come into the office or not. Through an announcement on the company’s blog, Jassy said the leadership team had decided that it was better for Amazon’s culture, and easier to learn from each other and collaborate more effectively, when they were in the office together.

Other tech firms are also cracking down on working from home, including the video call company Zoom, one of the big beneficiaries of the lockdown-related shift in work culture. The US firm, which had a surge in popularity due to government work-from-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic, has told staff to come in twice a week – although the policy only applies to people who live within 50 miles of the office.

Google now requires most employees to come in at least three days a week, with an executive at the online search firm stating that “there’s just no substitute for coming together in person”.

Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has reportedly told employees who do not work from home permanently to be at the office three days a week from next month. An online message to employees acknowledged that coming in meant spending time commuting and “less personal flexibility”, but being at the office desk supported collaboration and produced “energy”.

Elon Musk, the CEO of X, has ordered all employees at the business formerly known as Twitter to be in the office unless they had a specific exemption.

Disney has also told workers to come back, with the media and entertainment conglomerate telling employees who were working from home in January this year to return to the office four days a week.

The row-back on remote working by big tech firms follows a series of announcements about major job cuts, with management acknowledging they had over-expanded during the pandemic. More than 230,000 workers at tech firms around the world have been laid off this year according to a redundancy-tracking website,, compared with 165,00 the year before.

Amazon said in March it would make an additional 9,000 employees redundant, on top of the 18,000 roles it had announced it was cutting in January. Amazon employs 1.5 million people worldwide.

Jassy’s “past the time to disagree” comment appeared to allude to significant internal opposition against the tougher stance on home working. Almost 30,000 Amazon workers signed an internal petition against the return-to-office mandate in May.

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The petition read: “Amazon’s top-down, one-size-fits-all RTO [return-to-office] mandate undermines the diverse, accessible future that we want to be a part of.”

Amazon employees also participated in a worldwide walkout, organised by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and a remote work advocacy group in protest about the company’s slow progress on climate goals and the return-to-office mandate.

This month, some Amazon workers in the US reported being tracked and penalised for not spending sufficient time in the company’s offices, an email sent to employees disclosed.

The emails received by employees noted that staff members were “not currently meeting our expectation of joining your colleagues in the office at least three days a week”, according to the Financial Times.

Amazon declined to comment.


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Transactions involving Bernard Arnault investigated over suspected money laundering

The Paris public prosecutor’s office is investigating financial transactions allegedly involving the French billionaire Bernard Arnault and a Russian businessman.

The prosecutors are investigating transactions involving Arnault, whose ownership of the luxury goods group LVMH has made him the world’s second richest person after Elon Musk, and Nikolai Sarkisov, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Paris prosecutor’s office. Sarkisov’s brother, Sergei, founded the Russian insurance company Reso-Garantia.

The French newspaper Le Monde first reported the existence of the investigation, citing transactions involving property at the Courchevel ski resort. It cited a December 2022 document from Tracfin, part of France’s justice system focused on combating money laundering, which reportedly lists transactions “which may characterise money laundering”.

A spokesperson forReso-Garantia said that “neither Reso-Garantia, nor Mr Sarkisov personally, has been involved in the transaction that was described in the Le Monde article. Mr Sarkisov and Mr Arnault have never met.”

The spokesperson said Sarkisov and Reso-Garantiahad received no contact or requests for documents from French authorities, or those of other countries.

Arnault’s fortune is estimated to be worth $164bn (£134bn), according to Bloomberg, and it at one point it made him the world’s richest man on paper. He and his family own 41% of LVMH, the group that owns luxury brands including the handbag brand Louis Vuitton, Moët champagne, Hennessy cognac, the jeweller Tiffany’s and the watchmaker Tag Heuer, among many others.

Arnault, who is 74, is preparing to hand on his empire, which he founded 35 years ago and grew by acquiring some of the world’s best-known fashion brands and expanding sales to aspiring consumers in Asia in particular. In January, he appointed his daughter, Delphine, to run Christian Dior, the second-biggest brand in LVMH in a move that some analysts said set the scene for a family race with her brother, Antoine, over who would run the company.

The Paris investigation is reportedly looking at transactions involving the purchase of 14 properties in the French Alpine resort of Courchevel during a period of a few weeks in the autumn of 2018, according to Le Monde. The properties were reportedly located in Jardin Alpin, a particularly exclusive quarter of the ski resort characterised by expensive restaurants with views of the slopes.

Le Monde reported on Thursday that Sarkisov had acquired real estate at a luxury Alpine resort via a transaction in which Arnault, through one of his companies, had provided a loan.

The spokesperson for Reso-Garantia said: “The transaction was managed by a small investment unit which invests professionally in European real estate. It consisted of acquiring flats in an old building in Courchevel from various private owners, with the view to sell them later to a developer once the entire building was bought out.

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“All transactions were carried out by French companies, through French notaries by French lawyers on all sides. This was a usual real estate deal.”

LVMH declined to comment.

Le Monde cited a person close to Arnault as saying the transaction had been carried out in full respect of French law.

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No need to send it back: Netflix posts its final DVDs to customers



Most of Netflix’s 238 million streaming customers around the world will be unaware that the company first launched 25 years ago as a DVD mailing service. Even fewer might realise that operation has continued, with under 1 million people still subscribing.

But now the company is finally hitting the stop button, with its five remaining US distribution centres mailing out their final discs to American customers on Friday.

These DVD diehards will be allowed to keep these titles rather than return them, meaning some will get up to 10 as a goodbye present from a business that boasted as many as 16 million subscribers at its peak.

“It is very bittersweet,” Marc Randolph, Netflix’s co-founder and the chief executive when the company shipped its first DVD, told Associated Press. “We knew this day was coming, but the miraculous thing is that it didn’t come 15 years ago.”

Netflix does not break out the number of DVD subscribers in its figures, but according to an AP estimate fewer than 1 million people now subscribe to the service.

Randolph came up with the idea of a DVD-by-post service in 1997 – in a challenge to then rental market leader Blockbuster – with his friend and fellow entrepreneur, Reed Hastings, who eventually succeeded Randolph as CEO. He only stepped aside from that role this year.

The first disc sent out by Netflix was Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice in March 1998 and since then the company has shipped 5.2bn of them. Its most popular title was the Sandra Bullock vehicle The Blind Side.

However, Randolph said he knew that DVDs would not be the mainstay of the business and would be overtaken by watching films and TV shows through internet connections.

In 2011 Netflix decided to separate the DVD business from the streaming business, one year after Blockbuster went bankrupt – having turned down an opportunity in 2000 to buy Netflix for $50m (£41m) instead of trying to compete against it. The streaming giant is now worth about $166bn.

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“From day one, we knew DVDs would go away, that this was transitory step,” Randolph said. “And the DVD service did that job miraculously well. It was like an unsung booster rocket that got Netflix into orbit and then dropped back to Earth after 25 years. That’s pretty impressive.”

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Evergrande halts share trading as woes mount for China property giant

Embattled Chinese property giant Evergrande has suspended share trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange only a month after it resumed trading after a 17-month suspension.

Trading in its two other units – the property services and electric vehicle groups – also stopped at 9am on Thursday, according to notices posted by the stock exchange.

The halt in trading comes a day after reports that the chair of Evergrande had been put under police surveillance. Hui Ka Yan, who founded Evergrande in 1996, was taken away earlier this month and is being monitored at a designated location, according to Bloomberg.

It is not clear why Hui might have been placed under residential surveillance, which falls short of a formal detention or police arrest and does not mean a criminal charge follows.

Evergrande had only resumed trading on 28 August after the company was suspended for 17 months for not publishing its financial results. Earlier this month, several employees of Evergrande’s wealth management unit were arrested in Shenzhen on unspecified charges.

Two former executives were also reportedly detained recently. Pan Darong and Xia Haijun had resigned last year after it emerged that 13.4bn yuan (£1.5bn) of deposits had been used as security for third-party loans.

Earlier this week, Hengda Real Estate, Evergrande’s primary unit in mainland China, missed principal and interest payments on a 4bn yuan bond. Hui resigned from his position as Hengda chair in 2021.

On Sunday, Evergrande said it was unable to issue new debt as Hengda was being investigated.

And on Friday it said meetings planned this week on a key debt restructuring plan would not take place, adding it was “necessary to reassess the terms” of the plan in order to suit the “objective situation and the demand of the creditors”.

China’s property sector is a key pillar of growth – along with construction, it accounts for about a quarter of GDP – and has experienced a dazzling boom in recent decades.

The massive debt accrued by the industry’s biggest players has, however, been seen by Beijing in recent years as an unacceptable risk for the financial system and overall economic health.

Authorities have gradually tightened developers’ access to credit since 2020 and a wave of defaults has followed – notably that of Evergrande.

Another Chinese property giant, Country Garden, narrowly avoided default in recent months, after reporting a record loss and debts of more than $150bn.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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