6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) put two senior executives on leave. According to MarketWatch:

Wells Fargo & Co. said Wednesday that two of its executives have started leaves of absence related to the ongoing regulatory reviews of its retail banking sales practices.

Wells said the leaves for Hope Hardison, chief administrative officer, and David Julian, chief auditor, are unrelated to the bank’s reported financial results or internal financial controls. It also said the executives would no longer be part of its operating committee.

Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO called for regulation of data use. According to The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc.  Chief Executive Tim Cook issued the tech giant’s strongest call yet for U.S.-wide data-protection regulation, saying individuals’ personal information has been “weaponized.”

Mr. Cook’s call came in a sharply worded speech before a privacy conference organized by the European Union, which in May enacted the General Data Protection Regulation in a bid to both improve user rights and bolster the 28-member bloc’s power as a global rule-maker. Mr. Cook told the audience of EU privacy regulators that the U.S. should enact a comprehensive federal privacy law that follows their example.

New York State has filed a suit against Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM). According to The New York Times:

New York’s attorney general sued Exxon Mobil on Wednesday, claiming the company defrauded shareholders by downplaying the expected risks of climate change to its business.

The litigation, which follows more than three years of investigation, represents the most significant legal effort yet to establish that a fossil fuel company misled the public on climate change and to hold it responsible. Not only does it pose a financial threat to Exxon that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars or more, but it could also strike a blow to the reputation of a company that has worked to rehabilitate its image, framing itself as a leader on global warming.

As Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported earnings, it said nothing about who might replace Elon Musk as board chair. According to CNBC:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was mum Wednesday when an analyst asked about the search to replace him as chairman of the electric car company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission required Tesla to find a new chairman for the next three years as part of a deal settling civil fraud charges over Musk’s Aug. 7 tweets about taking the company private and having “funding secured” at $420 a share.

As Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) reported earnings, it made little mention of a planned restructuring. According to CNNBusiness:

Ford is not yet willing to tell investors how it is going to spend $11 billion.

Three months ago Ford told investors it is looking to reshape its business, and it would spend $11 billion over the next three to five years to do it. Many investors had been looking forward to the company’s third quarter earnings to get some clues about its its plans.

They’ll need to keep waiting, the company told investors Wednesday. Wall Street won’t get the details about which businesses Ford would pull out of, or which ventures Ford planned to invest in.

Mercedes wants to get into the ride-sharing business in China. According to CNNBusiness:

Wanna be driven around in a Mercedes-Benz S-class?

The German brand’s parent company, Daimler, certainly hopes so. It’s teaming up with Chinese automaker Geely to launch an upscale ride-hailing service in China next year.