Navistar CEO retires; ex-Textron exec is interim CEO

LISLE, Ill. Mon Aug 27, 2012 – Navistar International Corp. CEO Daniel Ustian is retiring, and former Textron Inc. executive Lewis Campbell will replace him immediately as interim CEO, the truck and engine maker said on Monday.

The company, which is struggling to win U.S. regulatory approval for a new generation of diesel engines, also named Troy Clarke as president and chief operating officer. Clarke is currently Navistar’s president of truck and engine operations.

Shares of Navistar, which had shed nearly half of their value in the last six months, rose 3.6 percent to $23.81 in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.

“Lewis Campbell is a high-caliber executive who brings to Navistar deep and broad strategic, technical and operational skills and a proven track record of leadership with global industrial companies,” said Michael Hammes, Navistar’s independent lead director.

Campbell, 66, was Textron’s CEO from 1998 to 2009. He previously spent 24 years at General Motors Co. in various executive roles.

For much of the past year, Navistar has been trying to win approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a new diesel engine technology that would lower emissions of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant linked to asthma, without using urea.

P&G CEO’s pay down 6.1 percent after tough year

CINCINNATI, Fri Aug 24, 2012 – Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman and CEO Bob McDonald took home a little less last year after disappointing results that he is trying to reverse with a major overhaul.

McDonald, the leader of the world’s largest household products company since 2009, earned nearly $15.2 million in the year ended in June, down 6.1 percent from $16.19 million in fiscal 2011, according to a filing P&G made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

P&G, whose brands include Pampers, Gillette and Tide, is in the midst of a $10 billion restructuring. On top of that, activist investor William Ackman bought roughly $1.8 billion worth of its stock this summer. While Ackman has not yet pushed for any changes at the company, P&G’s board came out in July in support of McDonald and his turnaround plan.

In June, P&G took the blame for a lack of big new products and not cutting costs fast enough as demand slows in some major markets. McDonald said it would take time to reverse the negative trends and that he expected little improvement in fiscal 2013, which began on July 1.

McDonald’s salary was flat in fiscal 2012 at $1.6 million. With 89 percent of his total pay tied to the company’s performance, his overall payout declined as P&G’s results came in below target. His bonus fell by $200,000, to $2.43 million.

Most of McDonald’s compensation comes in stock and option awards. Their combined value fell 8 percent to $10.85 million.

Shares of P&G were down 0.3 percent at $66.49 in early trading. The shares fell 3.6 percent to $61.25 during fiscal 2012.

Is BlackRock planning for life after Laurence CEO Fink?

NEW YORK, Thu Jul 5, 2012 – After two decades of growth by acquisition, BlackRock Inc. stands unrivaled in size and breadth among asset management firms.
But as CEO Laurence Fink shifts the company’s focus from being an acquirer to operating its businesses, some industry executives, analysts and even employees say BlackRock lacks a clear strategy. Fink has said the firm is done with large acquisitions for now, but has offered little on how it will improve its funds’ middling performance.
A recent spate of high-level departures, one tinged with controversy, and rumors that Fink may leave to take the post of U.S. Treasury Secretary if it is offered to him, have only increased concern about BlackRock’s direction and who will lead it.
More changes in the senior ranks are in the works, including possible new departures, according to people familiar with the situation. The board also is discussing succession planning in case Fink leaves, the sources said.
“I would assume that there is a plan internally, but it is hard to see what it is from the outside,” said Geoff Bobroff, a fund consultant based in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.
BlackRock declined to make any executives available for comment for this article. The firm would not comment on its business or talk in detail about its succession plans, but said its board is always focused on talent.
BlackRock’s business is hardly in trouble. It manages $3.68 trillion in assets and dominates much of the investment industry. It is the world’s largest provider of exchange-traded funds, and among the biggest asset managers globally. Many on Wall Street profess faith in Fink, who helped found the firm in 1988 and is its controlling force.

BlackRock also has a number of seasoned executives under Fink. President Robert Kapito is Fink’s heir apparent, according to three people familiar with the situation.
BlackRock is so large that U.S. regulators are considering whether it should be deemed too big to fail, like its rival PIMCO, and receive tighter regulatory oversight.

Goldman’s Blankfein: No plans to relinquish duties

CHICAGO,| Wed Jun 13, 2012 – The chief executive and chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said on Wednesday he has no plans to relinquish his duties running the bank.

Speaking to reporters after a breakfast appearance in Chicago, Lloyd Blankfein quipped: “I’m 57. What am I going to do with the other 60 years of my life?”

Blankfein, who has become a post-bailout lightning rod for critics of Wall Street, said five of his six predecessors left Goldman to accept jobs with the U.S. government, and six died while still heading the firm.

Given his unpopularity on Main Street, Blankfein said, “I’d say the government probably isn’t going to call me … so that leaves staying forever and dying at my desk.”

Blankfein added that leaving the job would be difficult because when it is going well “it’s the best job in the world and you wouldn’t want to leave.”

When it’s going poorly, “You can’t leave because your sense of responsibility won’t let you,” he added.

Best Buy picks headhunter Spencer Stuart to run CEO search

NEW YORK, Mon May 21, 2012 – Best Buy Co. Inc., the world’s largest consumer electronics chain, said it has selected headhunter Spencer Stuart Inc. to conduct the search for a new chief executive.

The news came almost six weeks after Brian Dunn resigned as CEO. Following his departure, the company said an internal probe found that Dunn had an improper relationship with a female employee.

Best Buy is under pressure to find a replacement for Dunn soon. At least two brokerages have downgraded the company this month citing lack of leadership.

“Best Buy does not plan to name a replacement anytime soon, which likely means the company will not have established leadership heading into the crucial 2012 holiday selling season,” said BB&T Capital Markets analyst Anthony Chukumba, who downgraded the retailer to “hold” from “buy.”

“Without knowing who will be leading the company and what their plan will be, we think the shares will likely be at best dead money for awhile,” Chukumba said on Monday, ahead of the company’s earnings report on Tuesday.

Best Buy is in the midst of what it expects to be a six- to nine-month search for a successor to Dunn. Board member G. Mike Mikan is acting as interim CEO. The company said it will consider internal and external candidates for the job.

On Monday, Best Buy also revealed the terms of its contract with Mikan, 41, who was appointed interim CEO on April 10.

Boeing CEO McNerney: Demand for commercial planes growing

CHICAGO, Tue May 15, 2012 – Global airlines are fundamentally healthy, and demand for new airplanes is growing, Boeing Co. CEO Jim McNerney said on Tuesday.

The planemaker is raking in orders from airlines around the world as they expand their fleets or upgrade to more fuel-efficient jets.

Speaking on a webcast of the company’s annual investor conference, McNerney said Boeing was on track to build 10 787 Dreamliners per month by the end of next year.

Some experts doubt the company can hit its production rate target for the light-weight, carbon-composite airplane that came to market last year after three years of development delays.

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace and defense company, turned in a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit last month as it pulled in orders while accelerating production on all its commercial airplane programs.

Dow Chemical stockholders reject independent chair

NEW YORK, Thu May 10, 2012 – Dow Chemical Co. shareholders declined to split the roles of chairman and chief executive at their annual meeting on Thursday, opting to keep the reins of the largest U.S. chemical maker closely held.

The proposal to split the roles, which, if approved, would have gone into effect after current Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris retired, received only 36 percent of votes cast.

The recent trend among corporate governance experts to recommend splicing the two roles has produced results among large banks, including Bank of America and Citigroup, but industrial manufacturers, like DuPont  and General Electric mostly have kept their CEO and chair roles combined.

Dow shareholders also approved Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris’ $19.3 million compensation package for 2011, an employee stock purchase plan and an executive stock compensation plan.

Shareholders rejected a plan that would have let them vote by written consent – without meeting in person – on various proposals. That plan received only 39 percent of votes cast.

The compensation vote, required as part of 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act in the United States, was nonbinding.

Shares of Midland, Mich.-based Dow rose 20 cents to $32.33 in morning trading.

Yahoo CEO apologizes in memo, board meets: source

SAN FRANCISCO, Tue May 8, 2012 – Yahoo Inc.’s board convened on Monday afternoon to discuss the mounting upset surrounding Chief Executive Scott Thompson, who has apologized to employees after being accused last week by activist investor Daniel Loeb of padding his resume, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the board meeting was expected to address aspects of an internal review, including which board members would participate.

Thompson issued an apology for the fallout from disclosures about his academic credentials in an emailed memo to Yahoo employees on Monday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

The memo came hours after Loeb, chief executive of hedge fund Third Point, which holds 5.8 percent of Yahoo’s shares, formally demanded in a letter that the Internet company turn over all records related to Thompson’s hiring.

“I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you,” Thompson wrote in his first extended memo to employees since the disclosures emerged on May 3. “We have all been working very hard to move the company forward and this has had the opposite effect. For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you.”

Thompson added that he would “respect” the board’s plans to conduct a thorough and independent review.

“I am hopeful that this matter will be concluded promptly,” he wrote. “But, in the meantime, we have a lot of work to do.”

Yahoo, whose revenue slid by more than a fifth last year, brought in Thompson, former president of eBay Inc. subsidiary PayPal, as chief executive in January, five months after Carol Bartz was fired.

Yahoo board to review CEO’s education records

SAN FRANCISCO, Fri May 4, 2012 – Yahoo Inc.’s board of directors will review a discrepancy in the educational record of its chief executive, Scott Thompson, a spokesman told Reuters, after activist hedge fund Third Point accused Thompson of padding his academic credentials.

Yahoo will also make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders when the review is complete, the spokesman said.

On Thursday, Third Point’s founder and chief executive, Dan Loeb, wrote in a letter to Yahoo’s board that Thompson claims to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston, but said Thompson “embellished his academic credentials” because the CEO’s degree is in accounting only.

Third Point owns 5.81 percent of Yahoo’s shares and has been fighting to gain seats on the company’s board.

Early on Thursday, a Yahoo spokesman called the discrepancy an “inadvertent error.”

“Scott Thompson received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Stonehill college,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement. “There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science,” he added.

Best Buy names search committee to replace former CEO Brian Dunn

RICHFIELD, Minn., Fri Apr 20, 2012  – Best Buy Co. Inc. on Friday named the board members that will search for the electronics retailer’s next chief executive.

Kathy Higgins Victor, who is also on the retailer’s compensation and human resources committee, will chair the search committee. Board members Lisa Caputo, Ronald James and Sanjay Khosla will also be on the search committee.

The company said it will announce which executive search firm it retains in the next few weeks.

Best Buy’s board last week said it expected to take six to nine months to find a permanent replacement for CEO Brian Dunn, who resigned abruptly last week. Mike Mikan was named interim CEO when Dunn abruptly resigned amid a probe into allegations of personal misconduct.