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GM to chase Ford, Rivian with a $105,000 electric Silverado pickup

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General Motors Co’s $35 billion electric vehicle strategy will face its biggest test in 2023 when it launches an electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup with a six-figure price tag, more than a year after rivals Ford Motor Co and Rivian Automotive.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra on Wednesday told the annual CES technology conference via video that the electric Silverado will launch in two stages in 2023, starting in the second quarter with a $39,900 WT work truck that will be delivered to a limited group of commercial fleets. In the fall of 2023, GM plans to start delivering a consumer, outdoor adventure-oriented model that will start at $105,000 – more than an electric Mercedes EQS sedan.

Retail customers will see less expensive versions of the electric Silverado roll out in 2024 and beyond, Chevrolet officials said in briefings ahead of Barra’s CES speech. Barra was scheduled to make her speech online after GM pulled out of in-person attendance at CES due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The electric Silverado’s debut escalates a battle for sales and customer loyalty in a segment that includes some of the most profitable vehicles the Detroit automakers sell. Startup Rivian Automotive’s electric R1T pickup, first shown in 2018, and Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk’s polarizing vision for an all-electric pickup called the Cybertruck, spurred the Detroit Three to accelerate development of electric pickups.

The Cybertruck’s launch date remains uncertain. For now, the first lap of the electric pickup race is a contest among Ford, GM and Rivian, which began shipping the first of its $67,500 and up R1T models late last year.

The electric Silverado, built on the same architecture as the GMC Hummer EV, will enter the race for both fleet and consumer buyers a year or more behind the electric Ford F-150 Lightning. That gap reflects contrasting strategic choices by the long-time rivals.

Barra and GM President Mark Reuss are betting GM will win in the long run by first developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures and a vertically-integrated battery and motor production chain, then launching electric vehicle models in high volume during the middle and latter part of this decade. By then, GM executives expect the costs of the company’s proprietary Ultium battery technology will be lower than rivals, conferring a decisive advantage.

Ford took a different path. The F-150 Lightning due for delivery starting this spring is a modified version of the current, gasoline F-150 that is part of the best-selling vehicle line in the United States.

Ford’s approach was faster, and Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley last month said the company had to cap at 200,000 the number of reservations it will take from consumers for the truck.

Farley is pushing aggressively to build as many Lightnings as possible before GM’s Silverado and other rivals hit the market. On Tuesday, Ford said it planned to double capacity for building Lightnings at its Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan. to 150,000 vehicles a year. Ford last September said it was increasing Lightning capacity to 80,000 from 40,000 vehicles.

Ford also is starting work with battery partner, SK Innovation, on an $11.4 billion network of vehicle assembly and battery-making plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Ford and GM both are targeting commercial fleet customers with electric pickups priced just below $40,000.

GM said the WT, or work truck, version of the Silverado EV will have a 400-mile driving range and will first go to a select group of fleet customers under deals already negotiated. GM expects to deliver “tens of thousands” of electric work trucks, said Steve Carlisle, head of GM’s North American operations.

Ford and GM are taking different paths to winning retail customers. The F-150 Lightning for retail customers has a 300-mile range, a 400-liter capacity front trunk that can function as a drink cooler and an option that enables the truck to power a house during a blackout. It can carry 1,800 pounds of stuff. The consumer Lightning had a starting price of $52,974, excluding tax breaks, before Ford capped orders.

The electric Silverado RST for retail buyers has a 400-mile range, a “mid-gate” in the back of the cab that can accommodate kayaks and surfboards, but carries less cargo and will not have backup generator capability when it launches.

Carlisle said the generator function is “very much on the radar.” A Chevrolet spokeswoman said bi-directional charging to power a home will be available within the first year of production.

GM executives said they will emphasize the Silverado’s superior range in advertising that will start this year.

GM’s decision to charge European luxury car prices for the first Silverado RSTs mirrors the strategy for the first Hummer EVs, which started at over $110,000 and are now available for starting prices of $99,995 – more than double the average transaction price for a GM vehicle.

 

(Reporting By Joe White in Detroit; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Canada’s First Quantum agrees to higher payments at Panama copper mine

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The Panamanian unit of Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals has agreed with Panama’s government to increase royalty payments at its flagship copper mine, the company and the government said on Monday.

Minera Panama, which is majority owned by First Quantum Minerals, has agreed to pay $375 million a year to state coffers from the Cobre Panama mine, which it says is one of world’s largest copper producers.

“We accept the proposal of the national Government, while requesting that the necessary protections be provided in order to safeguard the continuity of the operation,” Minera Panama said in a statement.

The company did not immediately respond to a question about the size of the increase in royalty payments

Panama‘s government said President Laurentino Cortizo would give details of the agreement on Tuesday.

The company began negotiating a new contract with officials in September, after Cortizo promised to seek a fairer deal with better public benefits.

Toronto-based First Quantum began commercial operations at Cobre Panama, about 120 km (75 miles) west of Panama City, in 2019.

The mine contributes 3.5% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to government figures, and at full capacity can produce more than 300,000 tonnes of copper per year.

 

(Reporting by Elida Moreno, writing by Daina Beth Solomon, editing by Richard Pullin)

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U.N. chief urges business to help poor nations in ‘hour of need’

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to business leaders on Monday to support developing countries “in their hour of need” with access to COVID-19 vaccines, help to combat the climate crisis and reform of the global financial system.

Speaking virtually to the World Economic Forum, Guterres said: “Across all three of these areas, we need the support, the ideas, the financing and the voice of the global business community.”

He said there has been a “global inability to support developing countries in their hour of need” and warned that without immediate action inequalities and poverty would deepen, fueling more social unrest and more violence.

“We cannot afford this kind of instability,” said Guterres, who began a second five-year term as U.N. chief on Jan. 1.

He has long been pushing for more global action to address COVID-19 vaccine inequity and climate change and for reform of the global financial system.

“We need a global financial system that is fit-for-purpose. This means urgent debt restructuring and reforms of the long-term debt architecture,” Guterres said.

The World Health Organization last year set targets for 40% of people in all countries to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by the middle of this year.

“We are nowhere near these targets. Vaccination rates in high-income countries are — shamefully — seven times higher than in African countries. We need vaccine equity, now,” Guterres said.

He also warned of a lopsided recovery from the pandemic with low-income countries at a huge disadvantage.

“They’re experiencing their slowest growth in a generation,” Guterres said. “The burdens of record inflation, shrinking fiscal space, high interest rates and soaring energy and food prices are hitting every corner of the world and blocking recovery — especially in low- and some middle-income countries.”

 

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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'I'm out of gas:' Leadership burnout on the rise as pandemic takes mental health toll – CTV News

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Workers turn to them for support, clients rely on them for answers, companies lean on them in times of crisis.

Yet as the pandemic stretches inexorably on, experts say the never-ending demands on business leaders are pushing some to the brink of burnout.

Stress, uncertainty and long hours are causing malaise among many managers. It’s a condition that — if left unchecked long enough — can manifest as exhaustion, disengagement, depression and burnout, they say.

“Leaders are under tremendous strain,” says Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice-president of research and total well-being at LifeWorks.

“When the pandemic first started, we saw the adrenalin kick in, decisions were made fast and work got done,” she says. “But it’s been relentless. Leaders are exhausted.”

It’s not just people in charge hitting a wall 22 months, five waves and multiple variants into the COVID-19 pandemic.

New research has found an extreme level of exhaustion among many Canadian workers from the bottom to the top. Many say they’re more stressed now than during initial lockdowns.

Essential front-line workers from nurses to grocery store clerks have faced innumerable risks of infection. Others face precarious employment without sick days or benefits. Some have lost their jobs altogether and struggle to pay rent and buy food.

In comparison to these hardships, some might be quick to dismiss the challenges of leaders.

Yet many have reported an increase in exhaustion and mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic.

Supervisors, low-level managers, small business owners and senior executives are grappling with increasing demands and surging work volumes.

Many are putting in extra hours to keep things running while also providing support and encouragement to workers.

“Business leaders are supposed to be cheerleaders,” says Mike Johnston, president and CEO of Halifax software company Redspace.

“But we’ve been trying to hustle and pivot and get through this for so long now. I’m out of gas.”

For some managers, the inability to offer more certainty and support to workers is what keeps them up at night.

“When you’re the leader of a group of people you want to have all the answers,” says Barry Taylor, director of operations for The Ballroom, a large entertainment venue in downtown Toronto.

“But you don’t and you just feel helpless and burnt out.”

Experts say late-stage pandemic fatigue is taking a toll on many managers, with some veering towards burnout.

The symptoms can include emotional exhaustion, detachment, loss of motivation and reduced efficiency — all of which can have a ripple effect throughout an entire workplace, they say.

“It’s exhausted leaders leading exhausted teams,” says Jennifer Moss, a Waterloo, Ont.-based workplace consultant and author of The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and How We Can Fix It.

“Managers are trying to be stoic and demonstrate strength and certainty for their employees when many don’t feel that themselves.”

Pandemic burnout isn’t unique to leaders, but she says there are particular stressors facing those in charge.

“It can be more isolating at the top,” Moss says. “Senior leaders and managers can sometimes feel very alone.”

There’s also a perception that because people in management positions “earn the big bucks” they should be prepared to cope with the additional responsibility and stress, she says.

“We sometimes forget there’s a human behind that role and regardless of how much they’re being paid, how much they earn, it doesn’t fix the grief and the pain and the stress that they’re dealing with,” Moss says.

The perception that managers should demonstrate unwavering leadership and steadfast support of their workers can increase fears of seeking help, experts say.

“There’s a definite stigma,” says Chantal Hervieux, associate professor of strategy at Saint Mary’s University’s Sobey School of Business and director of the school’s MBA program and Centre for Leadership Excellence.

“There’s less acceptance for leaders to talk about mental health issues.”

Leaders are expected to be in control, have the answers and be supportive of their team members, she says.

Despite the near constant uncertainty and upheaval of the pandemic, those expectations have remained the same — or increased, Hervieux says.

“Canadian business leaders are working hard to keep things going but some are suffering,” she says. “They’re paying a mental health price and we need to talk about it.”

The challenge of trying to lead during the pandemic is backed up by research.

A survey by LifeWorks and Deloitte Canada released last summer found 82 per cent of senior leaders reported feeling exhausted.

The poll found the top two stressors were an increase in work volume compared to pre-pandemic levels, and the desire to provide adequate support for the well-being of staff.

More than half of those polled said they were considering leaving their roles.

“I’ve been chatting with other CEOs and there seems to be a shift,” Johnston with Redspace says. “There’s a number of founders looking to get out, to exit. The fun of the chase isn’t balanced against the stress of it.”

Still, despite some of the unique pressures facing leaders, burnout appears to be impacting all workers.

A new Bromwich+Smith poll conducted by Angus Reid found more than 70 per cent of people surveyed are worried about their physical and mental health, including sleep issues, fear of COVID-19 and burnout.

Another study by Canada Life found a high level of burnout among Canadian workers. The survey conducted by Mental Health Research Canada found more than a third of all working Canadians are feeling burned out.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2022.

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