Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2012 06:13 PM
Think Sergio Marchionne doesn't thank the American taxpayer every day in his heart that his Fiat was able to pick up Chrysler for a song three years ago? As the Fiat part of his company sinks ever lower into the morasse of the European auto market, Chrysler has revived under Marchionne's leadership to become the financial workhorse of the merged entity.
Now, the CEO of Fiat (who was recently profiled on 60 Minutes) is executing the next phase of his company's ever-increasing dependency on Chrysler, with plans to use Chrysler engineers, plants and dealers to help relaunch Fiat's sporty Alfa Romeo brand in the United States in 2014.
Marchionne plans to give the brand some of its own engines and a spicey Italian identity with American consumers even as he economizes by having one of the first new Alfa Romeo models, for example, built in the same Chrysler Illinois plant that now assembles the Dodge Dart.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2012 03:20 PM
Tesco CEO Philip Clarke told the World Retail Congress in London today that the "tectonic plates are shifting" in retail and residual from financial woes in the euro zone is requiring companies to adopt new technologies or lose their competitive edge.
"We are in the first downturn of the digital age," Clarke stated, adding "consumption is weakening" in China, Thailand and South Korea, regions previously earmarked for growth but reeling from economic turmoil in Europe. "[These economies] are vulnerable to the crisis in the euro zone, as well as inflation caused by high commodity prices.
"Digital technology gives us the opportunity for a warmer, more meaningful conversation with our customers, local communities, our colleagues and the suppliers we work with.” That's why Clarke, who started as Tesco CEO in March 2011, has just launched a corporate blog, Talking Shop, in an effort to build trust and, as he puts it, "explain what we are thinking and how we see the world."
He's not much of a tweeter, though he likes writing bylined op-ed pieces (such as this week's FT column). So why blog?Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 19, 2012 02:08 PM
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer only been running the company since the middle of July but she’s got plenty of items ticked off on her to-do list: Bringing In Cash, Doling Out Phones, Changing Logo.
First off, her company just pulled in $4.3 billion after taxes from its “deal to sell part of its stake in Alibaba back to the Chinese Internet giant,” according to Wired. That’s pretty sweet, considering the company has been struggling financially for the last year. Instead of using it make acquisitions and build a big nest egg, though, Yahoo! is handing out $3.65 billion of it to its once-suffering investors, and hanging onto just $646 million. And what can you get for that?
The company will also now be saving a little bit of dough every time it prints something out on letterhead. Mayer also approved removing the registered trademark symbol from the company’s logo. Mayer posted an image of a deposed ® to her Instagram feed on Monday. It looks like it is waiting to gather with its R brethren to be put off in the backyard, like the Russians did with the fallen statues of its former heroes.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 19, 2012 10:17 AM
Get ready to be nostalgic for Restoration Hardware. The retailer that once scarily commodified the products of an entire generation’s youth as it grew through the ’80s and ’90s is reinventing itself to forget about the nostalgia and pay more attention to high-end furniture, the Associated Press reports.
The rebrand will include simplifying the name of the place to RH. "RH enhances our identity and moves us beyond our hardware store beginnings," CEO Carlos Alberini said in a statement. "It enables us to leverage our core capabilities of innovation, curation and integration of new ideas and businesses."
This is the next step for a chain that has been changing since Stephen Gordon launched it in 1980 and severed ties in 2005, through to when Sears acquired a stake in 2007 and the company was sold back in 2008 to a private-equity firm.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2012 12:53 PM
Just in case things get dicey once Mark Fields, Ford's presumptive next CEO, takes the reigns, Ford's board reportedly is considering keeping current CEO Alan Mulally around past his retirement as the non-executive chairman.
As skilled as is Fields, the 51-year-old head of Ford's Americas operations, you can't blame Ford's directors for not wanting to let Mulally go completely once he ends his tenure as CEO, with a rumored target for departure around the end of next year. The 67-year-old former chief of Boeing has worked wonders at the auto manufacturer since he took the helm in 2006, seeing it through the global financial collapse and Great Recession without a U.S.-government bailout, supervising the launch of a fleet of worthy new products, and guiding Ford into leadership positions in infotainment technology and fuel economy.
And though Fields may be champing at the bit, Mulally is hardly ready to ride into the sunset just yet. He's got Ford moving on a number of important ongoing and new initiatives. They include:Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 11, 2012 06:01 PM
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a rare appearance today, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in a "fireside chat," marking his first public remarks since his company's disappointing IPO in May. In a bid for transparency and humility, Zuckerberg said he's "ready to double down" on the company's future. He also admitted making mistakes, including betting too much on HTML5, and talked up his focus on mobile and advertising as a way to bolster revenue and FB's stock price. He also denied rumors of a Facebook phone being in the works while confirming new product development including a search engine. He even gave a shout-out to other tech brands he thinks are "killing it" right now: Spotify, Airbnbn, Nike+ and Runkeeper. Read more on TechCrunch.
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 11, 2012 05:36 PM
"Has Coca Cola ceased to be a mere brand and evolved into a historically important cultural artifact?" That question was tweeted by Duncan Jones, David Bowie's son who is better known these days as an award-winning filmmaker. Jones included a link to a BBC story on this week's historic return of the Coke brand to Myanmar, making its first delivery in more than 60 years.
"The Coca-Cola Company has been a part of the community fabric in countries around the world for decades," stated Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "In every nation and city where we do business, our employees strive to create economic value and build sustainable communities. We are privileged to once again have the opportunity to play a role in building a better future with the people of Myanmar."
In addition to referencing the Coca-Cola brand's position as the #1 brand in Interbrand's 2011 Best Global Brands report, the BBC notes that there are now "only two countries where Coca-Cola is not officially bought or sold - Cuba and North Korea ... due to trade embargoes with the US."
PepsiCo, meanwhile, last month signed its own distribution agreement to distribute Pepsi and its other beverage brands in the former Burma, with CEO Indra Nooyi commenting, "Over time, we believe we can build a strong business in Myanmar and play a positive role in the country's continued development."
Whatever that future holds, Nooyi announced other news today that impacts her company's continued development and her own succession plans: the resignation of PepsiCo president John Compton.
He's being replaced by Geneva-based PepsiCo Europe CEO Zein Abdalla, who is relocating to company HQ in Purchase, NY, and in turn handing over his office and title to Enderson Guimaraes, the current President of PepsiCo's Global Nutrition Group.
brands under fire
Posted by Dale Buss on August 3, 2012 03:39 PM
The numbers were probably stacked against them from the start, but Friday's protest of Chick-fil-A by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) didn't turn out nearly as many participants in the planned LGBT "Kiss-in" as the chain was able to generate at former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee's nationwide "Appreciation Day" for the restaurant chain on Wednesday.
Or gauging by another measure, by mid-afternoon Friday, nearly 14,000 Facebook users had subscribed to GLAAD's "National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A" event, while some 630,000 subscribed to Wednesday's "appreciation day," according to a report by Politico.com.
And while Politico reported that the "kiss-ins appear to have occurred without incident" in Chick-fil-A restaurants, there was one ugly scene: The exterior of a Chick-fil-A in Torrance, Calif., was defaced with graffiti reading, "Tastes Like Hate."Continue reading...