6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) promoted two people who could become the chief executive officer when Jamie Dimon retires. According to The Wall Street Journal:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. elevated two executives to share the No. 2 post at the nation’s largest bank, the clearest step yet to designate a potential successor to Chairman and Chief Executive James Dimon.

The bank’s corporate and investment banking chief, Daniel Pinto, and the head of its consumer businesses, Gordon Smith, will share the title of president and chief operating officer, vaulting them above a handful of rival leaders at the New York bank.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has told suppliers to accelerate the pace at which they send their products. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to ask suppliers to deliver more goods to warehouses exactly on time or face fines, another step in the retailer’s efforts to keep inventory low and shelves stocked as it battles with Amazon.com Inc.

At an annual conference for suppliers this week, Wal-Mart executives plan to announce that large suppliers need to deliver full orders within a specified one- or two-day window 85% of the time or face a fine of 3% of the cost of delayed goods, said Steve Bratspies chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart U.S., in an interview Monday. Previously, suppliers had to hit a 75% threshold to avoid fines. For smaller suppliers the on-time threshold will move to 50%, up from 33%. The change will take effect in April.

Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Waymo has put in a large order for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) vehicles. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Waymo LLC on Tuesday signaled a large expansion of its robot taxi fleet as the company prepares to open its driverless ride-hailing service to the general public.

The self-driving tech unit of Google-parent Alphabet Inc. revealed an agreement to acquire thousands of minivans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for delivery beginning later this year.

Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) rose 2.7% in the fourth quarter. According to MarketWatch, the figure is for the most recent quarter, compared to the same quarter in 2016. The data show that the recovery of the once recession-crippled area has bounced back as strongly as the U.S. economy.

Bloomberg editors reported that job growth worldwide has not helped improve wages:

While many workers of the world are rallying around the strongest labor market in at least a decade, lackluster pay growth is keeping their enthusiasm in check.

Jobless rates have been falling across the Group of Seven industrialized economies and are projected to ease further this year, albeit modestly, according to the Geneva-based International Labour Organization’s flagship worldwide employment and social outlook, released Jan. 22. Unemployment rates in emerging-market nations, meanwhile, are on the cusp of a turnaround after years of weak commodities prices.

Dell may marry itself to smaller tech company VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) as a way to get public. According to CNBC reporters:

Dell Technologies could emerge as a public company through a reverse-merger with VMware, the $60 billion cloud computing company it already controls, according to people familiar with the matter.

The reverse merger, whereby VMware would actually buy the larger Dell, would then allow Dell to be traded publicly without going through a formal listing. It would also likely be the biggest deal in tech industry history, giving investors who backed Dell’s move to go private in 2013 a way to monetize their deal, while helping Dell pay down some of its approximately $50 billion debt.