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Entries in CEO (53)

Saturday
Jun152013

Lululemon Uses Job Posting to Search for New CEO

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lululemon is on the hunt for a new CEO to take charge of its "fun and irreverent brand," but its cheeky job posting may prove to be a tall order for those who aren't fluent in Sanskrit or define work-life balance with downing wheatgrass and tequila shots on Fridays.

The high-end yoga and active apparel company took to posting help wanted ads in storefronts around the country and on Facebook for a new chief executive officer after it announced that CEO Christine Day would step down when a successor was named.

"You report to no one, you are the CEO (duh). You are passionate about doing chief executive officer type stuff like making decisions, having a vision and being the head boss person," the company's job posting states.

Additional qualities desired for a new company-wide boss include being able to hold a headstand for at least 10 minutes, serious yoga proficiency and having celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey on speed dial.

The company "love(s) that our stores and social media teams are not afraid to spark a conversation in our communities," Lululemon said in a statement.

Since the company announced Day's departure on Monday, the Canadian company's stock plummeted approximately 20 percent.

Under Day, Lululemon suffered a public relations nightmare that forced them to pull their $100 a pair yoga pants from shelves for being too sheer when wearers bent over.

The March recall cost Lululemon approximately $60 million in lost sales and threatened the brand's reputation for quality apparel. The company has started to restock its shelves with a re-engineered version of their Luon pant that spawned so many devotees in the first place.

Day, 51, joined Lululemon in January 2008 and oversaw the company as its annual revenue quintupled to $1.37 billion.

"This was a personal decision of mine," Day said during the question-and-answer portion of a conference call with investors Monday about its first quarter earnings. "And, look, it's never a perfect time to leave a company you love. I've had a great run."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May282013

Papa John's CEO Apologizes for Delivery Man's Racist Voicemail

Photo by Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- Papa John's Chairman and CEO John Schnatter apologized to a customer in Sanford, Fla., on Tuesday for a racist rant a Papa John's delivery man inadvertently left on the customer's voicemail.

After he delivered a pizza to the Sanford customer and his wife Sunday evening, the delivery man "butt dialed" the customer and left a voicemail message laden with racial slurs as he complained about his tip.

The customer posted a video on YouTube in which he showed the pizza delivery receipt, explaining he and his wife tipped 21 percent, "as usual."

In the voicemail message, which lasts about four minutes, the Papa John's employee complains to another Papa John's employee about the $5 tip and uses the N-word and other racial expletives, which he also incorporated into a song about the customer.

"I guess that's the only requirement for being a [N-word] in Sanford," a city still reeling from racial tensions after the shooting of Trayvon Martin last year.

"Yeah, they give me five bucks there -- fine outstanding African-American gentleman of the community," the delivery man can be heard saying in the call.

His fellow co-worker laughed in response.

Schnatter posted an apology on Papa John's Facebook page on Monday afternoon.

"Friends, I am extremely concerned to learn about the reprehensible language used by two former employees in one of our restaurants," the Facebook post stated. "Their thinking and actions defy both my personal and the company's values, and everything for which this company stands."

Schnatter said the employees "responsible for this absolutely unacceptable behavior were immediately terminated."

"My heartfelt apology goes out to the customer involved, his family and our community at large. I am very sorry that anyone would be exposed to these hurtful and painful words by any person involved in any way with our company," Schnatter said.

A call to Papa John's by ABC News for further comment was not immediately returned.

Many Facebook users who commented in response to Schnatter's post applauded his public apology.

One Facebook user said Schnatter is "a CEO that actually takes responsibility for the actions of his employees. You can't control employees, but you can take appropriate action."

In January 2012, a customer was described on a paper receipt as "Lady Chink Eyes" by a Papa John's employee in New York City.

Last month, a CVS customer in New Jersey filed a million-dollar lawsuit against CVS for being called, "Lee, Ching Chong".

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr182013

CEO Gives Away Bonus to Employees

Courtesy Next Media(LONDON) -- "Good Lord!" says the headline in a British newspaper, praising business leader Lord Wolfson, for having been uncommonly generous.

Wolfson, CEO of Next, the U.K.'s biggest department store chain, gave his entire annual bonus — $3.6 million — to his employees.

How uncommon was his gesture?

ABC News could not find another example of a CEO of a public company who has done the same in recent years, either in the U.K. or in the U.S.

The closest we found was from academia: Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, who last year gave her $100,000 annual retention bonus back to MSU, according to the Lansing State Journal.

A few U.S. CEOs have donated their bonuses to charity. John Mackey, head of Whole Foods, donated his 2009 bonus of nearly $380,000 to the Global Animal Partnership, according to Philanthropy Today.

But in the U.S. no CEO of a public company, so far as we could find, has recently given his bonus back to his employees. That's not to say some CEOs haven't foregone what's due them. Just last week a judge nixed a $20 million severance deal for Tom Horton, CEO of American Airlines.

Nor has any CEO in the U.K, other than Wolfson, according to Alistair Mackinnon-Munson, a spokesperson for Next. "It's the first time that any chief executive has ever done anything like this," he confirms. "All our staff of 19,400 will share in it as a cash bonus. It works out to about 1 percent of their basic salary."

The reaction from Next employees has been positive. "We've gotten tweets from staff," he tells ABC News.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Wolfson sent an email to Next employees in which he explained his action. The Telegraph quotes Wolfson as saying that his donation of his bonus was "a gesture of thanks and appreciation...for the hard work and commitment you have given to Next over the past three years and through some very tough times." He said, too, "I remain very grateful for the way in which everyone has helped to navigate our business through this recession."

In the U.K., public reaction to Wolfson's gesture has been positive -- so much so that commentators have speculated there now will be pressure on other English CEOs to do likewise.

How do unions view Wolfson's act? Next's spokesman says the unions representing Next workers have been silent.

As for U.S. unions, the one that represents the most department store workers will not be sending Wolfson a bouquet.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), tells ABC News he couldn't care less that Wolfson has donated his bonus. He likens it to John D. Rockefeller's having handed out dimes to strangers, to curry public favor.

"Working people," says Appelbaum, "do not want charity. They need guaranteed wages and benefits -- the kind that come with a union contract. They shouldn't be forced to hope that their employer will have a momentary impulse -- a munificent impulse -- to share his massive wealth."

The RWDSU represents Macy's workers, among others. Says Appelbaum, "We don't need the head of Macy's to turn over his bonus to his employees. We want him to recognize that his employees need to be treated with dignity."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar022013

CEO's Severance Will Include iPads, iPhone, No Cash

Courtesy of Apple(NEW YORK) -- The former CEO of insurer Marsh & McLennan will receive an unusual severance package that included his company-issued iPads, iPhone and Blackberry, but no cash.

Brian Duperreault, 65, announced in September that, after five years as CEO and one month as chief financial officer, he will retire at the end of the year. The financial documents investigative website, Footnoted, found the details in an exhibit of the 312-page document Marsh & McLennan filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

His most recent employment agreement indicates that he won’t receive any severance in the form of cash, however, spokeswoman for the company confirmed that Duperreault will not receive any cash severance.

According to the 10-K document, after retirement, Duperreault will have access to to a Bloomberg terminal subscription, which is worth about $1,500 a month through Feb. 2014, says Footnoted.

“As a courtesy, MMC did agree to provide Mr. Duperreault with post-retirement transitional support in the form of administrative support, an office at the Company’s office where he is domiciled and access to his existing technology support for one year,” she said.

But don’t feel bad for Duperreault. He will get an office and administrative support at the company’s offices in Bermuda through the end of the year and his third tranche of 400,000 stock options granted in 2008, which Footnoted points out are trading at about the same price today as when they were granted.

Shares of Marsh & McLennan closed at $37.24 on Friday, up 0.27 percent.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb282013

Groupon Ousts CEO Andrew Mason

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Online coupon site Groupon, after a series of losses and missteps, said Thursday that it is replacing CEO Andrew Mason.

Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis have been appointed to the newly created Office of the Chief Executive, effective immediately, replacing Mason, the company said in a statement.

Lefkofsky and Leonsis will serve in this role on an interim basis while the board searches for a new CEO.

Groupon shares plunged 24 percent to $4.53 Thursday in New York trading after it said Wednesday that first-quarter revenue will be just $560 million to $610 million, less than analyst forecasts of $647 million.

Demand for online discounts has waned as competitors flooded the market. Mason tried to lessen the company’s reliance on coupons, but the firm’s first year as a public company has been a disaster, with the shares down three-quarters from the IPO price of $20.50.

The fourth-quarter net loss widened to $81.1 million.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec062012

Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘Intense Interest’ in Improving TV

Apple(NEW YORK) -- Steve Jobs said it many times: Apple TV, the company’s small TV add-on, was a hobby. Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, has used the same term over the last couple of months.  But despite that, Apple TV has long been rumored to be more than a hobby — an actual HDTV or TV set with deeper features.

Now appears that the “hobby” has turned into an “intense interest” for the company. In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Tim Cook has spoken a little bit more about the company’s TV plans — or at least implied that there are plans.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

That’s the most we’ve heard yet from Apple about its future plans for the TV space.

Cook didn’t elaborate, but perhaps Steve Jobs’ words give us the best idea of what Apple might be working on.

“The only way this is going to change is if you start from scratch, tear up the box, redesign and get it to the consumer in a way that they want to buy it,” Jobs said in 2008 at the AllThingsD conference.

And then from Walter Issacson’s biography of Jobs: “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec052012

American Apparel Worker Says CEO Rubbed Dirt on Face

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A former American Apparel store manager is suing CEO Dov Charney, saying he was verbally and physically abusive to the point of rubbing dirt in his face and now the company is trying to muzzle him.

Michael Bumblis, 24, of Inglewood, Calif., said he was hired in March 2009 and rose up the ranks, eventually becoming store manager over an American Apparel retail store in Malibu before being fired on July 24 "and not given a reason."

"No employee deserves to be treated in this manner," said Bumblis' attorney, Illan Heimanson.  "Mr. Charney has abused his position and power, and in doing so, he has flaunted employment laws established to protect employees like Mr. Bumblis."

He is alleging assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of civil rights, discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and religious affiliation and wrongful termination.

Bumblis claims he became "increasingly agitated and anxious at work, was unable to fully concentrate and was increasingly absent from work due to his anxiety and distress."

Peter Schey, attorney for Charney and American Apparel, said Bumblis "was recently terminated by American Apparel for reasons fully consistent with company policy.  To protect the rights of former employees, we do not comment publicly on the reasons for terminations."

Schey said the allegations in the lawsuit are "false."

According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 29, Bumblis said Charney would "periodically" visit the store, "usually on an hour's notice," and he would "occasionally" see Charney at managers' meetings at the company's headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

One of the first encounters in which Bumblis said he felt "threatened" by Charney began at a Las Vegas convention in February.  Bumblis said Charney greeted him when he was standing with an unnamed woman.

Later in April, Bumblis said Charney called him and "launched into an expletive ridden diatribe," asking if he was "banging that girl you were with in Vegas" and berated him for having "negative same store sales."

Bumblis claims Charney said, "You should have been f****** fired months ago," and called him slurs related to being Jewish and gay, though Bumblis says he is neither.

On one occasion when Charney came to inspect construction work on the store Bumblis managed, the CEO went to a second-story make-shift stock room that was not completed.  After an alleged argument about the store's new inventory system, Bumblis said Charney "dove" at him, "grabbed" his throat with both hands "and began to forcibly squeeze [Bumblis'] throat in an attempt to choke or strangle" him, according to the suit.

Later during that visit, the suit states, Charney noticed dirt in a narrow space between a fitting room wall and the store wall and called to Bumblis saying, "Come here!  Look how disgusting you are."

"Rub it on your face," Charney allegedly said, then "proceeded to scoop up the dirt and forcibly attempt to rub the dirt on plaintiff's face," the suit states.

"The allegations in this lawsuit are false and Mr. Bumblis and his lawyers know that any complaints the company may have against Mr. Bumblis, or complaints he may have against the company, are to be addressed in binding arbitration, not in the media or the courts," Schey said in a statement.  "In addition to the conduct that led to his termination, Mr. Bumblis has also violated his written agreement to arbitrate any disputes with the company.  We will shortly initiate arbitration against Mr. Bumblis and have no doubt that the court will require that he join the arbitration proceedings where we expect the company's claims against him will be upheld."

Bumblis acknowledges in his suit that he signed as a condition of employment a "Mandatory Arbitration and Mediation Agreement" and an "At Will Employment Confidentiality Agreement."  The suit states that the latter contains a provision of liquidated damages of $1 million "chargeable against any employee that reveals virtually any detail of their employment."

The suit states that these agreements "bar employees from voicing grievances, filing complaints and exercising their rights to protected speech."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov092012

Waffle House Chairman Accused of Requiring Sex Acts

Jim Stratford/ Bloomberg News(ATLANTA) -- A Georgia woman is accusing the chairman of Waffle House, her employer, of demanding that she perform sex acts on him as part of her job's duties over a period of nearly 10 years.

The woman, who ABC News is not identifying due to the sexual harassment allegations, filed an incident report with the Atlanta Police Department that detailed the alleged abuse.

She accused Joseph Rogers Jr. of forcing her to perform "various sexual acts on him as a condition of her employment," according to the police report.

The police report identified Rogers as "a man in his early sixties, who is very wealthy and has extensive holdings in restaurant enterprises and related entities valued at approximately $400 million."

"As part of and as a condition of [victim's] employment, and against [victim's] will, Rogers willfully, repeatedly and with specific intent to harm and oppress [victim] required [victim] to perform sexual services," the police report said.

The report was posted online by hyperlocal news website Patch.com's Acworth branch. The Atlanta Police Department confirmed the report to ABC News.

The woman alleged that she was a personal assistant to Rogers from 2003-2012. She said that in addition to being forced to perform sexual acts, she was required to purchase pornography, lingerie and sex toys for him. She said he touched her inappropriately and made sexual comments to her.

"Rogers treated [victim] as subservient and required [victim] to perform these various sexual acts on him as a condition of her employment," according to the report. "Rogers' conduct toward [victim] was outrageous and offensive and caused [victim] to suffer humiliation, fear, embarrassment and severe emotional distress."

She identified herself as a 43-year-old single mother with a high school education and technical college degree in cosmetology who "managed many of the day-to-day operations of Rogers' estate."

She said that she needed to keep the job to support herself and her son and could not find a job that paid a comparable salary.

The woman said she quit her job this year as soon as her son was financially secure with a full college scholarship.

"On June 29, 2012 she sent Rogers a resignation letter informing him that she could no longer suffer the indignities and dehumanization of his actions," the report said. "She placed the resignation letter in Defendant's sock drawer in an effort to spare Rogers' wife from pain and humiliation."

Neither the woman nor her attorney responded to phone and email requests for comment.

Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner told ABC News that the woman was Roger's former housekeeper and was not employed by Waffle House Inc. Warner also said that earlier this year, Rogers transitioned from Waffle House chairman and CEO to just chairman. He directed further questions to Roger's attorney Robert Ingram who did not respond to request for comment.

"This is a private matter for Joe Rogers and his family and doesn't involve Waffle House," Warner said.

No charges have been filed against Rogers and police are investigating the matter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Lawsuit Outlines Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO Michael Jeffries' Rules on Company Jet

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- A lawsuit and documents filed in a case against clothier Abercrombie & Fitch lays out the details of CEO Michael Jeffries' meticulous instructions for those serving him on the company's private jet, which includes well-shaved, boxer-clad models wearing color-specific hand gloves, a Phil Collins song playing during boarding and specific seating arrangements for his dogs.

The details were revealed in a case filed in federal court in Philadelphia by corporate jet pilot Michael Stephen Bustin, 55, who claims he was fired in December 2009 because of his age. In the case Jeffries, 68, is being accused of age discrimination.

The suit filed against Abercrombie & Fitch and obtained by ABC News states that the company terminated Bustin's employment "with the express intention of hiring younger pilots who were more in keeping with the defendant's corporate image ... which emphasized a 'youthful, all-American style.'"

The suit says that a 47-page "aircraft standards" manual states that male flight crew members aboard the company's Gulfstream G550 jet must wear A&F polo shirts, boxer briefs, flip-flops and a "spritz" of the A&F cologne, Bloomberg News reported.

As passengers board the aircraft for return flights, the 1985 Phil Collins hit "Take Me Home" must be piped over the cabin PA, according to the manual, and the executive's three dogs -- named as Ruby, Trouble and Sammy -- had specific seats based on which was traveling, according to the manual, Bloomberg reported.

The rules for serving Jeffries also state that staff must wear black gloves when handling silverware and white gloves for setting the table. Flight crew members are also banned from wearing coats unless the temperature falls below 50 degrees, according to Bloomberg.

Airline crew must "not expose the toilet paper and do not fold the end square," according to the manual, and "when [passengers] make a request, respond by saying 'no problem.' This should be used in place of phrases like, 'Sure' or, 'Just a minute,'" Bloomberg News reported.

Pilots on the company's private jets are not employed by Abercrombie & Fitch, and cabin crew are provided by a modeling agency. Bustin was employed by several companies that were contracted out by A&F, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also cites a 2006 Salon.com interview with Jeffries, where he stated that the company "go[es] after the attractive all-American kid … a lot of people don't belong in our clothes and they can't belong," along with a Time interview where Jeffries states that he likes to hire employees as young as the college-aged customers he seeks to attract.

Jeffries also often made "disparaging or exclusionary comments about older individuals," the complaint states.

Calls placed by ABC News to Abercrombie & Fitch's General Counsel Ronald A. "Rocky" Robins, Jr. and the attorney listed as representing Bustin in the docket report were unanswered.

Though the court case was filed in 2010, documents filed since have highlighted Jeffries' meticulous control over the staff of his New Albany, Ohio-based company.

Last week, cashiers at Abercrombie & Fitch, started a petition with the labor group Retail Action Project on Change.org to request an end to "erratic scheduling" and "abusive on-call shifts" that leave workers waiting by the phone for work that sometimes does not come.

The details of the case also come at a time when the sales at the company whose marketing flaunts youth and beauty with scantily-clad models are slumping. After over a decade of continuous growth, since 2008 the company's revenue has slipped, and in its previous two fiscal quarters dropped 2.5 percent. The retailer announced this summer that it will shutter 180 U.S. locations through 2015.

The sales slump may be a symptom of the retailer's need for an image rebrand after a successful 13-year run, according to retail analyst Jennifer Black. In her second-quarter analysis of the retailer, she notes that the exiting of poorly performing stores along with better expense control will improve earnings.

"Mike [Jeffries] is a very talented merchant, but I feel like the stores -- the whole dark environment -- it's just not cool in the U.S. anymore," she told ABC News. "I do think they could turn it around if they downsize to productive stores in productive malls, while simultaneously changing the merchandise to inject more fashion so it doesn't look so much the same. "

Black said in her report that she thinks the brand could be poised for a comeback in the critical holiday season and throughout 2013.

In 2008, A&F renewed Jeffries' employment agreement until February 2014.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct052012

MySpace CEO: 'There is No Point to Compete with Facebook and Twitter'

MySpace(NEW YORK) -- Justin Timberlake unveiled the new MySpace last week with a tweet containing a link to a video preview of the new site. In addition to a very catchy song, the video revealed a beautiful website with a clean, Pinterest-esque design.

The site, it turns out, doesn't only look entirely different from what you might picture when you think of one of the original social networks, it's also going to be an entirely different type of network. It is a website for connecting artists -- music artists, to start -- with their fans.

Timberlake first planted the seed at MySpace when he became part owner of Specific Media, the company that bought MySpace from News Corp. in 2011. And the Hollywood jack-of-all-trade's fingerprints are all over the future new MySpace. It's a completely new product; it will live separately from the classic MySpace, and will be rolling out to a wider audience and those who have requested invites before the end of the year.

Those are just a couple of things learned when ABC News caught up with the brothers running MySpace -- Tim Vanderhook, the CEO of Specific Media, and Chris Vanderhook, the COO. Here's what they said:

What is the new MySpace? How is it different from the classic MySpace?
Tim: We tried to build a social network for the creative community to connect to their fans and for fans to have a great experience as well to explore and find out more about the artists they love.

You can use other social networks to log onto it, right?
Tim: No one wants to manage another social network. We think it is unique and distinct, it integrates with Facebook and Twitter to be able to pull over your social graph and pull over your identity of who you are. We think Facebook is the uber social network that is supposed to be there. We think we built a great social network for artists. Similar to how LinkedIn built one for business, we think there is a huge gap that we wanted to fulfill. There is no point to compete with Facebook and Twitter.

What is the site called? Will there be two sites now?
Chris: It's referred to right now as the new MySpace. The point is to show a difference between the MySpace classic and the new MySpace.
Tim: There will be a separate section for our consumer base using the classic MySpace. We are going to leave it up for quite awhile. We will make a decision at a later date if we will ever take down the old property.

What inspired the design that is shown in the video?
Chris: My Space started originally back in 2003 and their platform was built on a code base from 2003. Even up to today, the MySpace classic site is built on 2003 code. The world is a much different place, now we have tablets, smartphones, connected TVs. We wanted to build for today and for the future. A lot of the elements from the design is built for widescreen formats for tablets and smartphones. We had the great ability to just build for the future and not compensate for the past.

When will the new MySpace launch?
Chris: You won't see a traditional launch out of us, you'll see it on a rolling basis. We are in a beta period now with artists, managers, DJs, tastemakers. Our employees, which is a little over 700, have been on the site for a few months now. The next to get the invites will the MySpace loyalists and we will continue to roll out invites for the foreseeable future.

So, there won't be a hard launch?
Tim: You're not going to see a moment in time launch from MySpace. We will open up huge swaths of invites as we roll out.
Chris: Another note on the reason we are doing the rolling launch versus the traditional launch: We know we are the underdog. For us it is a little too presumptuous to do a big huge, bang, Steve Jobs launch. That's not our brand and its not right for MySpace. We want to be able to prove everything that we want to do.

How involved has Justin Timberlake been in the project?
Tim: Justin is really involved. He invested in the company and is a part owner of it and has assisted in the development of what the new Myspace is all about. He has instituted a creative team here where we have injected artists as part of the company as well. We work with his creative team. Chris and I were just on the phone with him yesterday. We talk to him on a constant basis. The seed of what we have built stemmed from his vision of what MySpace should be.

Will the site go beyond being a place just for music artists to connect with fans?
Tim: It's for all artists. We think there is an opportunity for all artists, whether you are a filmmaker, producer or a recording artist. We think the idea to create something unique and drive a connection with a fan base has a lot of equity.

Do you have a plan for apps?
Chris: We connected and built the design to live across different devices. You will definitely see those offerings from us.

You sure you don't want to tell me when the site will launch to the public that has been signing up for invites?
Chris: There are consumers we are thinking of opening it up to. There are 5 million artists who use the platform and we need to make sure we serve them well. After we go through that, we will go right to consumers. I believe consumers who are making the requests will be on in due time.

Before the end of the year?
Tim: Yes, before the end of the year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio