Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Northern Ireland has become Brexit’s Gordian knot. Avoiding a hard border in the region is an aim of all sides in negotiations over Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. The least-worst fix is for Europe to treat Northern Ireland the way it does Norway. That’s only possible if pro-UK politicians in Belfast can be made to see the economic necessity.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Burberry’s new boss is taking a big gamble on delayed gratification. Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti’s plans to take the British brand upmarket will mean no sales or operating margin growth for more than two years. Disappointed investors who lopped almost 1 billion pounds off Burberry’s market value on Thursday will now be unforgiving. Only flawless results and the right new designer will prevent a further slide in the share price.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - First everyday socks lost their charm, now it’s melt-in-the-middle chocolate puddings. British retailer Marks & Spencer will speed up closures of its clothing stores, aiming to move sales online. But the usually reliable food business is looking a bit off, too.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Associated British Foods will pay for its sweet tooth. A company that sells everything from sugar beet to cheap party dresses has so far made the most of this somewhat odd mix. But its exposure to sugar prices means its valuation is too rich.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Northern Ireland’s political crisis risks both its economy and the UK’s unity. The British government will be forced to pass the region’s budget after talks to form a government failed. A return to direct rule from London may follow; an outcome that could see growth weaken and heighten sectarian tensions.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Burberry can take off the kid gloves as it waves goodbye to Christopher Bailey. The design chief will leave the British fashion brand next year. It has taken the company three years to unpick the deferential decision to hand him the chief executive role. His exit gives new boss Marco Gobbetti a freer hand to implement the group’s much-needed turnaround plans.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Twin tailwinds are helping Ryanair to weather its pilot crisis. The 20 billion euro no-frills airline will meet its full-year profit goal, despite a rostering mess that led to the cancellation of thousands of flights. Passenger numbers were up 11 percent to 72.1 million in the six months to Sept. 30, according to Tuesday’s half-year report from the company. Ryanair’s fare cuts helped, but it also got lucky with rivals’ bankruptcies.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - British employers are proving slow to comply with rules that require them to disclose differences between how much they pay men and women. They may be even slower to close that gap if the laudable push for transparency is not backed up by the threat of eventual sanctions.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Killer whales sometimes hunt seals with carefully-orchestrated attacks to tip them off disintegrating ice floes. UK-listed theme park operator Merlin Entertainments may be planning something similar with SeaWorld, by trying to dislodge its Busch Gardens division. Breaking up the operator famed for its orcas might create some value, but it still looks a slippery target.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Three years into a turnaround, Tesco’s management team has displayed more skill than luck. Chief Executive Dave Lewis has boosted margins at Britain’s biggest supermarket, shrunk the pension deficit and cut debt. The first dividend payment in three years confirms the recovery. Yet threats from inflation, weak consumer demand and online rivals have Tesco shares stuck in a rut.