Many new nominations have been getting attention in the Trump administration and are certainly worth noting and learning about in more detail.
Last week, President Trump nominated Patrick Shanahan to be the deputy Defense secretary. Shanahan has, most recently, been Boeing’s Senior Vice President for Supply Chain and Operations. Prior to this, he was the Senior President of Airplane Programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he was in charge of overseeing the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs. He was also the Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.
Thursday, Trump also nominated David Joel Trachtenberg to be the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He is currently the President and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting which is a national security consultancy. In the past, he was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and he was also a staff member with the House Armed Services Committee.
In other news, James Donovan from Goldman Sachs was asked by President Trump to be Deputy Treasury Secretary. As number two at the Treasury Department, Jim Donovan will assist Steven Mnuchin in carrying out the economic policies put forth by the administration. Donovan joined Goldman Sachs in 1993 and has spent his entire career there, becoming a partner in 2000. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Credit card companies are facing off in a potential war to try to keep their customers – and to keep them happy. American Express Co. will be offering $200 a year in Uber rides to their customers, along with other perks, on their Platinum charge cards. They are hoping to keep their high-end customers happy and keep them away from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc.
Other perks will include access to airport lounges, special dining and entertainment choices and more. The charge rate will be raised from $450 to $550 starting March 30.
JPMorgan started off this card war when they introduced their $450 a year Chase Sapphire Reserve card with a sign-up bonus that was worth as much as $1500. It also includes $300 in annual travel credits and high credits for spending. They bank even switched to making these cards out of metal so they have a heavier and more significant feel to them.
Interestingly, the card war has helped out sites like NerdWallet.com and ThePointsGuy.com wich compare card costs and help consumers to know where the best benefits are to be found.
While stores were certainly hoping for a major holiday shopping weekend, the National Retail Federation is reporting that shoppers spent, on average, 3.5% less than a year ago. The NRF surveyed 4330 consumers on Friday and Saturday and found that shoppers spent $289.19 during the four-day weekend. This was compared to $299.60 last year.
Interestingly, they found that more people made purchases this year. It’s possible that the downturn is a result of the holiday season expanding. Black Friday is no longer the kickoff period for the sales, since more retailers are starting their holiday promotions as early as October.
The NRF Chief Executive Officer Matt Shay said, “Consumers know they can get good deals throughout the season and these opportunities are not a one-day or one-weekend phenomenon and that has showed up in shopping plans.” Shay pointed out that a fourth of consumers haven’t even started shopping yet for the season, so those sales are yet to happen.
In an interesting move towards partnership, Steven Spieldberg’s Amblin Partners is joining forces with Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd., the film studio section of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. They plan to co-produce and finance films for both global and Chinese audiences.
In a joint statement, they also said that they plan to collaborate on the marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partner films in China.
Alibaba Pictures has not, yet, released any films. But if they join with Amblin Partners, which creates films, television and digital content under the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media brands.
Alibaba Pictures has actually invested already in some Hollywood films including “Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation” and “Star Trek Beyond.”