Intel CEO Paul Ottelini to step down in May

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Mon Nov 19, 2012 – Intel Corp. said on Monday that CEO Paul Ottelini would retire in May, stepping down from the world’s leading chipmaker at time when it is grappling with weak PC demand as the industry shifts towards mobile computing.

Intel’s board said it would consider internal and external candidates for the CEO position. It said in a statement that it expected the “leadership transition” to last six months.

The company said it would promote three executives to be executive vice presidents. They are Renee James, who is in charge of Intel software; Brian Krzanich, who is COO and also oversees manufacturing; and Stacy Smith, the CFO and director of corporate strategy.

Ottelini, 62, was the fifth CEO of the company, stepping into the post in the second quarter of 2005.

Intel was accustomed to being king of the personal computer market, particularly through its historic “Wintel” alliance with Microsoft Corp, which led to breathtakingly high profit margins and an 80 percent market share.

But in the fast-growing and cut-throat mobile world, Intel is struggling. Its market share is less than 1 percent of smartphones, trailing Qualcomm Inc,. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., ARM Holdings Plc and others.

That leads some investors, who are already concerned about a lackluster global economy, to ask if Intel’s invincibility has come to an end and whether the company’s potential for profit and revenue growth may come back down to earth.

Shares of Intel were halted early on Monday.

RadioShack CEO steps down as company tries to hasten revival

FORT WORTH, Texas, Wed Sep 26, 2012 – U.S. consumer electronics chain RadioShack Corp. said CEO James Gooch will step down effective immediately, as the company seeks to revive its flagging fortunes.

“The board decided that the timing was right,” said company spokesman Eric Bruner.

“Moving forward with the decision sooner rather than later will help establish the right leadership to address the company’s challenges,” Bruner said.

The change comes at a time when RadioShack is struggling with low margins and vacancies in key executive positions.

The company, whose shares were up 2 percent in pre-market trading, reported an unexpected loss for the second quarter and suspended its dividend to help pay down debt.

RadioShack, once famous as a source of parts and tools for radio and electronics enthusiasts, has been increasingly focusing on selling low-margin phone calling plans and smartphones, particularly the Apple Inc. iPhone.

The company, which has a market value of about $255 million, was bumped off the S&P MidCap 400 index this week as its market capitalization was too small for it to be included in the S&P 1500. The shares have lost nearly three quarters of their value this year.

RadioShack said its board was conducting a search for a successor and would not rule out internal candidates. CFO Dorvin Lively will be the acting CEO.

Gooch, 44, joined RadioShack as CFO in 2006 and became CEO in May 2011.

RadioShack’s stock was up 2 percent at $2.61 in premarket trading.

WellPoint CEO Braly steps down, Cannon named interim CEO

INDIANAPOLIS, Wed Aug 29, 2012 – WellPoint Inc. CEO Angela Braly abruptly stepped down from her post on Tuesday following growing investor dissatisfaction with the health insurer’s financial performance.

WellPoint, the No. 2 U.S. health insurer, said it will look at both internal and external candidates for a replacement. Shares in the company rose more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.

John Cannon, the company’s executive vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief public affairs officer, will serve as interim president and CEO, WellPoint said. Lead director Jackie Ward was named non-executive chair.

“We thought the board would provide Ms. Braly with some more time to right this ship but view the executive change as a step in the right direction,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Dave Shove said in a note to clients.

WellPoint still has an uphill battle ahead, with fierce competition among health plans in states like California and Virginia that may not be resolved by year’s end, Shove said.

“Regardless of who is at the helm, we need to see a quarter of clean operations before we get constructive,” he said. “We believe a change at the top is positive, but new leadership will not grow earnings on its own.”

As CEO since 2007, Braly has shepherded WellPoint as the U.S. healthcare system faces one of the biggest transitions in its history, including a new law that will extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and the expansion of private management of government-run health plans Medicare and Medicaid.

More recently, Braly helped orchestrate the company’s planned purchase of Amerigroup Corp. for $4.46 billion, a deal that will nearly double its Medicaid business, managing the U.S. government’s health plan for the poor.

But the company has also made missteps in its expansion, including a proposed rate increase in California that made headlines in early 2010 at the height of a Congressional fight over the healthcare overhaul. Surprising losses from its Medicare plans in northern California weighed on financial results last year.

In its most recent quarterly report, the company cut its full-year profit forecast, saying it was trying to maintain its pricing levels even with greater competitive pressure from rival health plans. Since then, it has been meeting with investors to lay out its strategy for improving performance and the board recently issued a statement in support of the direction taken by management.

“Our Board continues to believe that time will prove the wisdom of potentially transformative actions taken under Angela’s leadership,” Ward said in a statement. “But now is the right time for a leadership change.”

Cannon will help oversee the integration of Amerigroup, whose shareholders have sued over accusations that its advisers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had a “hopelessly conflicted” role in the company’s sale. Goldman, according to the lawsuit, pushed Amerigroup toward a quick deal with WellPoint over a more lucrative merger with another unnamed company.

Best Buy CEO Dunn steps down as shoppers move online

RICHFIELD, Minn., Tue Apr 10, 2012 – Best Buy Co. CEO Brian Dunn has left the world’s largest consumer electronics chain, which has struggled against stepped-up competition from internet retailers and discounters.

Under Dunn’s tenure, which lasted less than three years, critics have complained that Best Buy became a showroom for Amazon.com and other Internet retailers, with consumers going to Best Buy stores to sample electronics like high-definition televisions, but then buying them elsewhere at lower prices.

The company, seen as a bellwether in the consumer electronics industry, reported declines in same-store sales in six of the past seven quarters, including during the 2010 holiday season, when it made a bad bet on technology like 3D television that consumers did not embrace.

Despite offering bigger discounts and free shipping to lure shoppers in the 2011 holiday season, same-store sales fell 2.4 percent in the latest quarter, including a 2.2 percent decline at U.S. stores open at least 14 months.

“I hate to be rude, but I think he (Dunn) was doing a terrible job. This is a company that had a sales guy in charge, and I just don’t think they are well-positioned to deal with the onslaught from the Internet,” said Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities.

“They have a big disadvantage to the Internet retailers because they have a big cost structure. So they need a guy who can fix that rather than trying to sell more stuff.”