Victoria’s Secret in #MeToo, Millennial Thanksgiving and Channing Dungey to Leave ABC

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Good Monday Morning,

Daylight – Channing Dungey, head of ABC Entertainment, does not intend to renew her contract. After Disney’s Bob Iger acted as her mentor early in her career, ABC’s parent company tried to retain her. Two executives took her to dinner, saying she would have expanded responsibilities across all Disney programming platforms, but to no avail. Apparently she wants to test the market after plans for her promotion were put on hold when Disney merged some divisions with Fox.

Branding – Is there a future for Victoria’s Secret in the #MeToo era? As the lingerie company clings to the idea that women should look sexy for men, sales are plummeting: “Sara Lynn Michener, 39, stopped shopping at Victoria’s Secret about 10 years ago. She said she was frustrated by the seemingly inexperienced sales people, the overwhelming ‘pinkness’ of the brand and the inauthentic ‘glamazon images’ in the store. She now mostly buys her bras online and at Nordstrom, environments that are mostly free of the sexed-up imagery that makes Victoria’s Secret the store it is. ‘Even if I walk into the Nordstrom section, I’m going to have a bad day, so you can imagine Victoria’s Secret.’”

Millennial Thanksgiving – How to solve the problem of wasting Turkey Day leftovers – smaller birds. The big bird is still perfect for extended families, but smaller occasions allows a new Millennial trend of eating tiny turkeys to gain traction. A 30-pound turkey also, while delicious, is not natural.

Instead of going for traditional male turkeys, the Department of Agriculture shows inventories for whole hens which are smaller, down eight percent, showing an increase in demand. Going with the trends, even Butterball now offers Lil’ Butterballs.

M&A – Member Greg Kopelman on Aprio’s acquisition of HPC, a real time, full-service cloud accounting firm: “HPC is the future state of accounting – providing real time financial information to Entrepreneurs and it gives this business owners their weekends back by ridding companies of data entry.”

From Zack Eller – Mercer Advisors acquired Financial & Investment Management Group, a wealth management firm. Our guess is that Mercer is trying to expand to a national powerhouse through acquisitions. They may not be able to keep up the weekly acquisition pace, but look for them to keep up the acquisitions. Our guess is somewhere between Dallas and Phoenix is next.

Resource Label Group acquired Best Label, a label manufacturer.

Sports – The Cleveland Browns are an organization to take notes on, with a customer base that is loyal beyond measure even with a terrible product, a QB turnover rate that makes them a punchline. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was rumored to have garnered interest from their front office for the head coaching job.

She worked on the College Football Playoff Committee from 2013 to 2016. She has no football coaching experience but, the Browns also went a half-season with a guy who led them to a previous 0-16 year. Rice has since refuted the reports, but the fascinating part of this story is that it was at all believable as Adam Schefter broke it. Headline belongs in The Onion.

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Economy – The unemployment rate in Austin has fallen below three percent: “‘It’s great news for workers,’ said Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. ‘More jobs were filled [in Austin last month] than there were new entrants to the workforce.’ Rodriguez said the strong demand for workers and the stretched labor market are likely to put pressure on local businesses to raise pay as they compete to hire.”

Hot – Nearly 100,000 pounds of ground beef from Swift Beef Company were recalled after inspectors found a possible contamination of E. coli. The beef was headed to California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon and Washington.

Bitcoin hit a 13-month low last week, falling 5.2 percent. Falls shortly after a smaller cryptocurrency split into two, making people worry about the destabilizing fallout.

Losses – Facebook shares slipped by three percent, worse can be said for Zuckerberg’s pockets. The Facebook Founder lost $17 billion over the past year with Congressional testimonies, data mining, Cambridge Analytica and users cooling to the platform.

IPO – Post Holdings, the maker of cereals such as Pebbles and Honey Bunches of Oats, is planning for an IPO of its active nutrition business.

Venture Capital – Automation Anywhere, a provider of robotic process automation, raised $300 million.

Airtable, a tool that allows creators to build their own software, raised $100 million.

Emerge, a provider of a platform that connects shippers and carriers, has raised $20 million.

Airspace Technologies, a provider of an ecosystem of software applications that lets users to quote, route and track shipments in real time, raised $20 million.

Apex.ai, a developer of an operating system for self-driving vehicles, raised $15.5 million.

SmartRent, a smart home automation platform company for property managers and renters, raised $5 million.

Ezra, a cancer screening startup, raised $4 million.

Well Data Labs, a business that helps companies manage, analyze and report frac data

Spotlight –

Back in 2011, Kris Maynard and his co-Founder at Atlanta-based Essential Ingredients started getting offers for the business, which distributes chemicals used in personal care and cleaning products. The offers, from competitors and PE firms, were enticing – but Maynard had one big concern: “I envisioned lying in my bed at night with a lot of money in my bank account and a lot of my people with no jobs.”

So Maynard and his co-Founder decided to sell 100 percent of the company to those employees. The employees were thrilled – and the company immediately plunged into the worst financial crisis of its life, a period he now refers to as “Death Valley.” On December 5 at Ray’s on the River, Maynard will join us at the Oxford Holiday Party to talk about what it’s like to be employee-owned and to tell us how Essential Ingredients – now a $100 million business and a Forbes Small Giant – survived. Don’t be late. Contact events@oxfordcenter.com for more info.

And that’s what’s ahead.

Please send comments and suggestions to mattg@oxfordcenter.com and lfeldman@oxfordcenter.com.

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