Posts by Lisa Scherzer
- Yahoo Finance2 hrs ago
It’s been a year of CEO walkouts…and push-outs. Whether they retired, stepped down or were ousted, more exited their companies in the past 11 months compared with the same period last year. There were 1,147 CEO changes so far this year, 3.2% more than the 1,111 departures announced in the first 11 months of 2012, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Some of these executive exits were expected, while others took investors by surprise – Men’s Wearhouse chairman George Zimmer and Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, most notably. Here we highlight some of the most headline-grabbing chief executive and chairman moves of the year. 1. Louis D'Ambrosio — Sears Holdings (SHLD) Sears announced in January that D'Ambrosio, CEO since February 2011, would step down because of “health issues” involving his family. He was replaced by company chairman and main shareholder, Edward Lampert on Feb. 1. Weighed down by operating losses and falling sales, Sears said last week it would spin off its Lands' End clothing business, adding to assets the company is shedding to bolster its balance sheet. Last year Sears split off its smaller-format Hometown and Outlet stores to raise $446 million. Total compensation 2012: $1.29 million 2. Andrew Mason — Groupon (GRPN) Mason, founder of the online deals company, was fired in February amid increasing concerns around the stock performance and long-term viability of the business. Shortly after the news broke he published a goodbye note to his employees, saying they "deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I'm getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance." Groupon named co-founder Eric Lefkofsky permanent CEO last month. The Chicago company reported a 7% increase in revenue for the second quarter. Mason left with a headline-worthy severance package: $378.36. According to regulatory filings, Mason was due six months’ salary plus health care coverage if he left the company (or was fired). Mason's base annual salary was just $756.72 in 2012, but he holds about 46.6 million shares in Groupon, worth approximately $292 million. The former CEO, often described as “quirky,” has been exploring new career options; this summer he released a seven-song album called “Hardly Workin’.” Total compensation 2012: $5,291, base salary $757 [2011 compensation: $7,943] 3. Joe Kennedy — Pandora Media (SHLD0) In March the Internet radio company said Kennedy, who led the company as chairman and CEO since 2004, SHLD1 at the same time as announcing stronger-than-expected quarterly sales. The company went public in 2011, and Kennedy helped grow Pandora to a platform that has more than 67 million monthly active listeners, despite increasing competition from online music services such as Spotify and iTunes radio. On Sept. 11 Pandora named former head of digital advertising company aQuantive, SHLD2, as its new CEO. Total compensation 2012: $732,425 4. John Riccitiello — Electronic Arts (SHLD3) The videogame
- Yahoo Finance5 days ago
Is no password hacker-proof anymore? Researchers at cybersecurity firm Trustwave said this week they found a stash of about two million passwords to major sites, including Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (which operates Yahoo Finance). The database included stolen information from some 320,000 email accounts, 318,000 Facebook accounts, and 21,000 Twitter users, nearly 60,000 Yahoo accounts, more than 8,000 LinkedIn accounts, and 70,000 Gmail, Google+ and YouTube accounts, Trustwave said. Two Russian social-networking sites, vk.com and odnoklassniki.ru, were also targeted, as well as 8,000 accounts at ADP, the payroll service provider, according to Trustwave. "We don't have evidence they logged into these accounts, but they probably did," John Miller, a security research manager at Trustwave, told CNNMoney. You have ‘terrible’ passwords Trustwave’s researchers combed through the data to analyze users’ password selection habits – and they weren’t impressed. More than 15,000 of the affected users had “123456” as their password, followed by “123456789,” “1234” and “password.” The firm said only 5% of the passwords were considered “excellent,” which means they used all four character types (uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters), and 17% were “good.” Passwords with four or fewer characters of only one type are considered “terrible” – and there were more terrible passwords -- 6% -- than excellent ones. Every year or so, a report comes out that highlights how vulnerable our passwords are to hackers and identity thieves. And a different list from 2011, for instance, shows the most common passwords are nearly identical to the ones found in Trustwave’s trove. In short, they’re way too simple. Protect yourself We asked Nick Berry, data scientist at Facebook, for guidance on how users should go about creating passwords to their myriad email, social networking, banking and other accounts they want to remain private. “I can confirm from my research that people really are staggeringly unimaginative in their selection of passwords,” says Berry, who founded technology consulting firm Data Genetics and has done extensive research on password security. Check out FB0 about the subject.
- Lisa Scherzer at Yahoo Finance15 days ago
It should come as no surprise that the troubles bedeviling Obamacare’s exchanges have sunk the law’s popularity. But according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Friday, the gap between positive and negative views of the law is almost the largest it’s been since Kaiser began tracking consumer sentiment about Obamacare in April 2010. Nearly half (49%) of Americans have an unfavorable view of the law and a third have a favorable view, a 16-percentage-point difference. The only time it was bigger (17 points) was in October 2011 – in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign – when Republican candidates amped up their critique of the law. What’s more, favorable views of Obamacare dropped most among Democrats, after rebounding in September and October. The past few weeks have brought a mix of news as the Obama administration works to fix HealthCare.gov’s technical snags in time for the promised end-of-November deadline. The administration said Friday it would give consumers until Dec. 23 – an additional eight days – to sign up for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1. The move allows more time for people to compare and shop for plans on the notoriously glitch-filled federally run exchange.
- Lisa Scherzer at The Exchange1 mth ago
At long last, Congress reached a deal Wednesday to reopen the government after 16 days of impasse, letting the American public exhale a bit and bringing a modicum of stability to the weakened economy.
The compromise, which President Obama signed off on last night, funds the government through Jan. 15, 2014, and suspends the debt limit until Feb. 7 (so get ready for another go-round then).
But what about the present? For a handful of major companies that rely on a confident U.S. consumer to bolster the bottom line, the government logjam is being blamed for potentially weaker sales in the upcoming critical holiday season.
Indeed, a Goldman Sachs report published this week said that, at least partially because of the government shutdown, 40% of consumers surveyed have curbed their spending. Those with household income under $35,000 were particularly impacted, with 47% indicating they were, compared with only 32% of those earning more than $100,000.
- Lisa Scherzer at The Exchange1 mth ago
In a CNBC interview today, Warren Buffett likened the debt ceiling to a “political weapon of mass destruction” being used against the American public. Like poison gas and nuclear weapons, the debt ceiling is “too powerful” and Congress "shouldn't touch it," he said.
Buffett’s warnings add to the already-heated rhetoric around the debt ceiling debate that’s griped Congress in the days leading up to Oct. 17 – when the Treasury says the U.S. government will run out of cash to pay its bills.
As the Senate readies for a last-ditch attempt to end the stalemate, here's a rundown of what some of the nation's top lawmakers, CEOs, business leaders and pundits have said about the potential for a U.S. default.
Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in an interview with Fortune magazine:
Correction: A previous version of this article said it costs 7.8 cents to produce each $100 note. The correct amount is 12.5 cents.
The Federal Reserve on Tuesday will begin circulating a new $100 bill with a fresh design and smarter security features. And it’ll be more than two years after it was originally scheduled for release.
The new design for the $100 note was unveiled in 2010, but its actual release was pushed back because of production delays. In December 2010, a printing problem that caused the bills to crease and therefore become unusable meant the new bills couldn’t be released in 2011 as originally scheduled. The last redesign of the $100 note began circulating in March 1996.
A new, high-tech hundred
The well-known image of Benjamin Franklin will still be on the new design, but he won’t be surrounded by an oval. The new design is also supposed to make it harder for counterfeiters to copy and easier for the public – and store cashiers – to authenticate.
As with fashion, diet fads come back. The low-carb Atkins diet, which achieved peak popularity in the early 2000s, wants you to have some more steak – again.
Ad Age reported last week that Atkins hired a new ad agency, Interpublic's (IPG) Lowe Campbell Ewald, in a bid to boost its slowly growing market share. Detroit-based Lowe Campbell Ewald said in a statement on Sept. 13 that it was awarded “a substantial piece” of Atkins’ marketing business: “Scope of work for the brand includes strategy, creative development, and production of a multimillion dollar national campaign – slated to launch early next year – that will consist of TV and print,” the firm said.
Autumn is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: pumpkin fever.
You’ve got your Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks (SBUX) and your pumpkin beer. Now prepare your taste buds for pumpkin spice M&Ms, which are selling exclusively at Target (TGT) for $2.99 a package. The “exclusive” M&Ms are part of Target’s Halloween treats lineup, which also includes Bloody Bones Hard Candy and Archer Farms Pumpkin Spiced Bagged Coffee.
- Lisa Scherzer at The Exchange3 mths ago
Sure, you’d probably like to retire to Hawaii. But chances are you don’t really want to live in the U.S. state with the highest cost of living and the worst business climate — killer waves and majestic sunsets notwithstanding.
The average age Americans say they retired is 61, up from 57 in the early 1990s, according to a Gallup poll from May. And 37% of those not yet retired say they expect to after age 65, up sharply from 14% in 1995.
These days, even if you aim to make your office exit on the (relatively) early side, and are considering a move, you need to think not only about affordability but also opportunity. Retirement is getting longer as life spans continue to climb higher, raising the risk that people will outlive their savings. And four in 10 Americans underestimate their life expectancy by five or more years.
- Lisa Scherzer at The Exchange3 mths ago
Even the most disciplined, experienced investor can get it wrong. They sell at the wrong time, heed a stock tip from a friend that turns out to flop, or sit warily on the sidelines while others ride the market higher.
We asked Yahoo readers to share their most regret-worthy investments. And there was a deep pool of investments-gone-wrong to mine.
Often what was lamented the most was actually a missed opportunity – an action taken too soon or one not taken at all. “If only I hadn’t sold Priceline when I did…”
“If I'd just put that money into Apple…”