Monthly Archives: May 2017

Mark Fields Receiving $51.1 Million to Step Down

After three years as CEO at the Ford Motor Company, Mark Fields, age 56, will be leaving the company with a compensation package valued a $51.1 million. The pay-off will be in a combination of cash, stock awards, and pensions.

During his tenure as CEO Fields made historic profits for the company. Now, however, the stock price has eroded by 40 percent due to slipping confidence by investors in the future of the company.

Fields’ compensation package was calculated by the executive compensation tracking firm Equilar for the benefit of the Associated Press.

He will be eligible for $22.1 million in stock awards, will receive about $17.5 million in pension benefits, and could earn an additional $3.6 million bonus, as long as he is not hired by one of Ford’s competitors.

The former CEO also has $7.9 million in vested stock options. However, other stock options have no value at the moment since the company’s stock price crashed.

World’s Largest Private Equity Fund Investing in Technology

Softbank Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity fund, recently said that it has raised over $93 billion to invest in technology. As they said in a statement, “The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale, long-term investment.”

The fund is backed by Japan’s Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund. Other investors in the group include Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, Apple Inc., Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan’s Sharp Corp.

Learn about more of the details here.

Senior Homes: Being Proactive

With the baby boomers coming into their post-retirement years, the advancement of medicine and enhanced quality of life extended, the need to take care of seniors has never been greater. There are many different choices available, but for the ultimate peace of mind, nursing homes seem to be the way forward.

It can be very lonely when the kids move out and one becomes an empty nester. Thus people often choose to live with or close to others in the same stage of life as them. That means for the elderly that they are often left quite isolated. And if there is another option available, why not take it?

The thought of moving into a residential senior home such as the Dry Harbor Nursing Home in Queens can initially seem daunting. But, studies have shown that taking your life to the next stage – and moving to a place where others understand you and are encountering the same experiences – is actually an incredibly positive, proactive move.

It makes much more sense for those who are caring for their elderly relatives to find a nursing home before the situation becomes detrimental. So often people push this off because they are apprehensive or think they can cope. But why not take action earlier to prevent a hospital visit that could occur without adequate supervision?

Truthfully, emotionally, physically and even financially it makes much more sense to move into the nursing home before disaster strikes. Make the most of it; reap the benefits while you still can and enjoy the summer years of your life side-by-side with other like-minded individuals.


China Wants US to Take Some Responsibility for WannaCry Cyber Attack

The recent global cyber-attack known as WannaCry infected over 300,000 computers around the world, with China among the hardest hit. As of Saturday, about 30,000 Chinese organizations were infected with a “ransomware” virus that takes advantage of weaknesses in Microsoft Corp systems.

China lashed out against the United States in the wake of the damage, demanding that the US shoulder some of the blame for the attack, referring to the US National Security Agency as especially responsible.

“Concerted efforts to tackle cybercrimes have been hindered by the actions of the United States,” the China Daily said. They added that the US has “no credible evidence” to support bans on tech firms from China after the attack.

The attack began on Friday and was linked to other attacks launched by North Korean-run hacking entities. Researchers say that the malware attack used a tool that the NSA built that was leaked online last month, Microsoft stated.

The attack also came just as China readies to enforce a broad cyber security law opposed by US business groups. The groups claim that the law will make it more difficult for foreign companies in China to do business due to strict requirements concerning data storage and surveillance.

Alexium Takes the Prize

The premier business awards program in the United States announced its winners of the 15th annual prize. The Alexium International Group took a prize, which will be presented in New York in June.

The CEO and executive director of Alexium, Nicholas Clark, was awarded the Silver Stevie Award for Executive of the Year in the chemicals division.

Australia-based Alexium is the patent holder for cutting-edge technologies designed to provide flame resistance to a broad spectrum of materials. Many industries can, and will, benefit from the use of the company’s environmentally friendly flame retardants. The materials can also be customized.

The company also has other products such as water repellents, antimicrobials, and phase-change materials; and can combine these into uniquely useful products.

Multi-Tasking with Garbage Trucks

Talk about multi-tasking. MIT’s Senseable City Lab, which tries to find ways to better understand modern cities, has a great new program called City Scanner. They are taking single-purpose garbage trucks and turning them into multi-tasking centers. There are currently five trucks in Cambridge, Massachusetts that are measuring many variables including air pollution, traffic status, landfill use and infrastructure decay. They have managed to identify energy leaks in buildings, potholes that need repairs and much more.

Data they collect is transferred to Wi-Fi hotspots and MIT is considering this a living experiment. They are also hoping, at MIT, to reduce the size of the kit they have created so that they could get similar information from smaller vehicles including school buses.

At the moment, the kits cost $1000 each. But Carlo Ratti, the MIT Senseable City Lab Director points out that with just a few sensors you can scan the whole city on a regular basis.

Certainly, this is a creative idea and for companies that have landfills like the Bridgeton, this could allow for interesting partnerships and a real way to multi-task while offering waste management services.

Economy Dragging in Q1 2017

Steven Mnuchin’s Official Portrait as the 77th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

First Quarter figures are in, and they are not pretty. The country’s GDP grew at a three-year low rate of only 0.7 percent during the first three months of 2017, the slowest growth since January-March 2014.

The news of the poor economic performance comes in stark contrast to the great expectations held by newly elected President Donald Trump who campaigned on the promise of raising the growth rate to 4 percent.

In an attempt to make good on that promise the White House announced last week that it would like to cut corporate taxes.

President Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin released the administration’s tax plan, which includes a proposal to cut business tax to 15 percent, down from the current 35 percent. The plan also includes tax incentives for companies to return their overseas investments to the mainland, and cut the tax rate for individuals.

Reassuringly for the new administration, there has been a trend in recent years for the Q1 figures to be lower than the rest of the year.

“US GDP figures are typically weaker in the first quarter, so this reading is in line with the seasonal trend,” said Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management.
“We haven’t yet had the expected fiscal stimulus from Trump, the effects of which may not be seen until the end of this year or the start of 2018.”