Category Archives: News

Adidas Leading Sportswear Industry with Significant Yearly Growth

Adidas recently revealed a 31% increase in yearly sales in North America, while its competitors have reported losses of up to 3%.  According to Nike and Under Armour, the athletic market is becoming more difficult to navigate, but Adidas’ gains indicate that that isn’t the case.

Mark King, head of Adidas North America, explained that the company’s successful strategy is not complicated. “We’re focusing on what the consumer wants,” he said.

It’s all about timing: getting the right product out at the right time. One example is the brand’s athletic-styled lifestyle running sneakers, which are proving more popular than the basketball and other sport-centered shoes that competitors have built their businesses on. According to Business Insider, some of Adidas’s trendiest shoes include Ultra Boost, Alpha Boost, Pure Boost and the Stan Smith. King has confirmed that the brand’s running category has doubled its market share.

He has also revealed that Adidas works hard to keep up with their customer trends, following the scene online and spending significant resources on ecommerce.

Staying Up To Date on Environmental Issues

It’s always important to stay up to date with environmental issues in the area in which you live. One of these issues is about landfills and how people are taking care of potentially threatening issues with them. In a recent opinion piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri State Senator Bill Eigel wrote a thought-provoking piece. He explained to the public how the West Lake Landfill does not have the same situation as a location like Coldwater Creek.

He explains that, “It is important to note that the two sites are not the same, although some protesters and politicians have used photos, illnesses and data from the effects of Coldwater Creek and said they were from the West Lake Landfill. Again, no local, state or federal agencies have found that the landfill has had a negative effect on the health of area residents.”

He continued to say, “Disturbing the soil at West Lake Landfill is actually more dangerous to our local communities than leaving it where it is.”

He continued by explaining that a permanent cap is the safest and fastest solution. The idea of a cap would be something that could be started immediately and the cost of excavation would be more than $600 million to taxpayers.

Certainly, State Senator Eigel offers many compelling arguments and it is in the best interest of the public to pay attention to these points and to formulate educated opinions about the issue.

General Motors Going All-Electric

As the transportation and auto industry evolves, many manufacturers are working to remain competitive. In a dramatic move, General Motors recently revealed its plans to shift into all-electric cars by 2023. Over the years they will launch at least 20 cars, both battery-electric and fuel-cell-electric vehicles.

“General Motors believes the future is all electric,” said Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President of Global Product Development for GM. “These aren’t just the words of a press release.”

Indeed, GM has been working on zero-emission and self-driving cars for a number of years, including its Chevy Bolt EV, its Maven brand and the acquisition of Cruise Automation. According to Reuss, GM will be releasing two more all-electric cars to follow the Bolt by 2018.

General Motors has also announced a new battery design which is aimed at providing additional design flexibility to car and truck manufacturers, adding that “getting to a zero emissions future will require more than just battery-electric technology.” As such, the company is launching a new vehicle platform called SURUS, which stands for Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. The new platform will be powered by fuel-cell and dual electric motors.

“With its capability and flexible architecture, SURUS could be used as a delivery vehicle, truck or even an ambulance- all emissions free,” GM said.

From Soldier to Asset Manager: Reade Griffith

In a recent entry for Institutional Investor’s new series War Stories Over Board Games, Polygon founder Reade Griffth discussed how his experiences as a soldier in the First Gulf War have contributed to his leadership skills and ability to perform within the often volatile global market.

Insurers Grapple with Economic Costs of Cyber Attacks

Lloyd’s of London partnered with risk-modeling firm Cyence to publish a report examining the potential economic losses which would be incurred from a major hack of a cloud service provider or a cyber-attack on computer operating systems which are used by business across the planet.

The report estimated that a major, global cyber-attack could result in an average of $53 billion in economic damage. That figure is on par with the cost of mega-disasters of the recent past, like Superstorm Sandy of 2012 and other unprecedented natural disasters.

“Because cyber is virtual, it is such a difficult task to understand how it will accumulate in a big event,” Lloyd’s of London chief executive Inga Beale stated.

The economic costs of an attack on a cloud provider could make the $8 billion in damages of the “WannaCry” ransom attack look like peanuts. That attack, which occurred this past May, spread to 100 countries.

The economic costs typically include interruptions in business plus the cost of fixing computers damaged in the attacks.

The report from Lloyds comes on the heels of a US government warning to industrial companies to be aware of a hacking campaign which could target the nuclear and other energy sectors.

In June a virus labeled “NotPetya” spread from infected computers in Ukraine to businesses all over the world. It worked by encrypting data on infected computers, thus causing them to be unusable. The attack interfered with activity at ports, factories and law firms. “NotPetya cost the world $850 million in economic losses.

American Express Cuts Costs for Small Businesses

American Express has moved to expand its reach by reducing small business fees by as much as 1%. The company hopes the change will double the number of small businesses that accept the card over the next two years.

Until now, Amex payments have been known to be a more costly service than those of other cards, resulting in many shops and other small retailers placing higher credit card surcharges on the customers, or simply not accepting Amex cards at all. The Reserve Bank states that the average merchant pays Amex service fees of 1.58% for each transaction. MasterCard, Visa and Diner’s Club all have fees that range from 0.78-0.8%. Small businesses can be greatly affected by this discrepancy, especially because larger stores are charged less for accepting American Express cards.

“We want to make it a lot easier for merchants to accept American Express,” said Katrina Konstas, head of the small merchant’s business at Amex. “For some businesses, it will be a reduction of whole percentage point.”

As part of their recent efforts, Amex has signed a deal with the Commonwealth Bank that, to a certain extent, will enable small businesses to process Amex payments at the same cost as other credit cards.

Claire Roberts of CBA explained: “Consumers want flexibility in the way they pay for goods and services and by adding American Express we are now providing small businesses with card payment options at the same rate.”

Nestle Considering Sale of Its US Chocolate Arm

Picture credit: Steven Depolo.
Pile of Crunch, Butter Finger, Snickers, and Baby Ruth Candy Bars.

The new head of Nestle SA, Mark Schneider, is considering selling its US chocolate division due to sluggish sales and a move toward faster-growing businesses like health care and coffee.
Schneider became the CEO of the Swiss-based corporation in 2016 after working for many years in pharmaceuticals and medical products.

The US division is had revenue of about $923 million last year. Recently the food industry has come under increasing pressure to reduce costs. After Kraft Heinz made an unsuccessful bid to purchase Unilever at the beginning of 2017, even the largest companies are fearful that they could become targets of buyouts from rival companies. This is even more of a worry for candy companies as sales in the US of chocolate slow due to the American disavowal of sugar as a source of nutrition. Last year Hershey Co repelled a takeover bid by Mondelez International Inc, and just six months later, last March, Hershey announced its intention to reduce its workforce by 15%.

“This might seem small stuff, but in our view, it could be a significant step by new(ish) CEO Mark Schneider,” James Edwardes Jones, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note. “The possible disposal of the U.S. business is not everything we had hoped for, but might be the start of something bigger.”

Canine Flu on the Rise

Photo courtesy of Yoel Ben-Avraham.

Certain parts of the US are seeing a significant uptick in the number of pet dogs coming down with the flu. Although it is not contagious to people, or life-threatening to dogs, it is still a concern to pet owners in Arkansas, Florida and North and South Carolina, where the epidemic is at its worst.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association as much as 80% of dogs that are exposed to canine flu catch it themselves, making it hard to control once it is in the environment. Of course, the worst places are where dogs are kept close together, such as in shelters or boarding facilities.

Symptoms of dog flu are like that of human flu: sneezing, runny nose, and frequent coughing are probable signs your doggie is infected. Owners can expect their pets to recover within a few days to a week. Very rarely the illness turns life-threatening, and that is usually only in the severest cases or when another infection develops later.

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine advises owners to call the vet before taking your dog in for treatment if he exhibits any of the above symptoms. Your dog is still contagious, and bringing him unnecessarily to the vet’s office could expose otherwise healthy dogs to the flu. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests keeping your dog away from other dogs for at least three weeks until there is no chance of passing on the virus.

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.

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.