New York — A few days ago, Takeshi Niinami, CEO of Suntory, the Japanese drinks group, joined a virtual Financial Times conference with other corporate leaders to discuss environmental issues. As I watched him talk about single-use plastics and water recycling, I had a nagging feeling that something looked odd on my computer screen. Finally, I worked it out: Niinami was ­wearing a tie.

Once, that would have been unremarkable; after all, the necktie was a defining symbol of 20th century business culture. But one consequence of the Covid-19 lockdown is that it seems to have largely killed off ties...

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