Pressure mounts for ouster of bank’s boss
Societe Generale’s CEO faced down mounting pressure for his resignation Wednesday over a trading scandal that cost billions, but his reprieve was swiftly followed by questions from the central bank about why operational “malfunctions” were ignored.
The company’s board rebuffed calls by President Nicolas Sarkozy for top executives to face the “consequences” of the huge losses resulting from the unauthorized trading, giving Chairman and CEO Daniel Bouton and co-Chief Executive Philippe Citerne its universal backing.
Bouton had offered to resign as the trading crisis unfolded last week, when the bank said it had lost 4.82 billion euros (U.S. $7.09 billion) in unwinding trades by 31-year-old futures trader Jerome Kerviel. The board refused his offer.
Transport Workers starts gaming division
The Transport Workers Union of America has established a separate gaming division within its structure to oversee the organizing and obtaining of contracts for casino dealers, the union announced Wednesday.
Las Vegas Dealers Local 721 operated as an affiliate of the union before the creation of the new division.
The announcement was made by officers of the New York City-based union during a special union meeting of Las Vegas dealers.
Union President James Little led the meeting.
Transport Workers Union international organizer Joseph Carbon, who led recent organizing efforts at the Wynn Las Vegas and Caesars Palace, will head the new division.
The Transport Workers Union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and represents 130,000 workers across the country in mass transportation, airlines, railroads, utilities, higher education and municipalities.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich.
Pulte Homes reports wider quarterly loss
Home builder Pulte Homes on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter loss widened dramatically as the housing market worsened.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, net income fell to $874.7 million, or $3.46 per share, compared with a loss of $8.4 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier.
The most recent quarter included $543.3 million of charges for inventory, land and goodwill impairment.
Revenue fell 3.4 percent to $2.9 billion from $4.39 billion.
Isuzu will stop selling cars in North America
The company that developed one of the first mid-sized sport utility vehicles and brought you an ad campaign with a fibbing salesman says it will stop selling new passenger vehicles in North America.
Isuzu Motors Ltd. said Wednesday it will end distribution of its sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks starting Jan. 31, 2009.
The Japanese company blamed the move on General Motors Corp. ceasing production for Isuzu of the Ascender sport utility vehicle and i-290 and i-370 pickup trucks.
Isuzu spokesman Chip Letzgus would give no more details about the decision Wednesday.
At investors’ behest, Altria to spin off unit
Altria Group, the world’s largest tobacco company, will spin off its overseas unit on March 28, bowing to U.S. investors demanding higher dividends and share buybacks.
Shareholders will get one Philip Morris International share for each Altria share, the New York-based company said Wednesday in a statement. The company also reported that fourth-quarter profit from continuing operations fell 9.1 percent because of falling U.S. cigarette shipments and a year-earlier gain.
Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri will take charge of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based overseas division
After Fed rate cut, Treasurys finish lower
Treasurys reversed losses in after-hours trading Wednesday as the stock market gave back a big advance prompted by the Federal Reserve’s widely expected interest rate cut.
During regular trading, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 0.75 points to 104 with a yield of 3.76 percent, up from 3.68 percent late Tuesday, according to BGCantor Market Data. Prices and yields move in opposite directions.