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General Electric: The Envelope, Please

In Business This Week: Headliner

General Electric: The Envelope, Please

The next Jack Welch? General Electric couldn't have said more plainly that soon--likely by summer's end, observers say--Jeffrey Immelt, James McNerney, or Robert Nardelli will be tapped for Welch's job.

The closely watched succession story took another turn on June 5 when the Fairfield (Conn.) conglomerate deepened its bench and named seconds-in-command to the contenders for the CEO post. Filling the newly created posts of chief operating officer on July 3 will be Joseph Hogan, medical systems; David Calhoun, aircraft engines; and John Rice, power systems.

So who gets the job when Welch retires next April? To paraphrase Welch, it's someone who can think bigger than big, as he told analysts recently. By many accounts, that's Immelt, 44. Still, analysts say it's too early to count out Nardelli, 52, who's winning praise for power systems' runup in turbine orders, and McNerney, 50, who has had his pick of CEO jobs outside GE--but stayed to manage the giant aircraft engines division.By Pamela L. Moore in Greenwich, Conn.; Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top

As Goes Nasdaq, So Goes the NYSE?

Is the big board about to get really big? The New York Stock Exchange is in talks with seven other exchanges in Europe and Asia to form a 24-hour stock market that could handle 60% of the world's total market value. Partners include the Tokyo exchange, the major Mexican and Brazilian exchanges, and Euronext, which consists of the Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam bourses. Some say the NYSE is playing catch-up with Nasdaq, which is teaming up with the London and Frankfurt exchanges to trade European and U.S. tech stocks in Europe. And Nasdaq Japan, a venture with Softbank, is set to launch on June 19. "With Nasdaq making headway globally, it clearly spurs the NYSE into action," says Salomon Smith Barney analyst Guy Moszkowski.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top

G-Men Check Out E-Fraud on eBay

Don't look for a TV show called the E-Files anytime soon, but the FBI is chasing crooks deeper into cyberspace. eBay confirms the FBI is probing whether certain sellers on the online auction site have committed fraud by joining to bid up each other's auctions. The probe into so-called shill bidding was prompted by a recent flap on eBay over a California lawyer who bid on a painting he was selling. Its price soared amid rumors it was by well-known artist Richard Diebenkorn. eBay says it's cooperating with the FBI and has warned several sellers suspected of being shill bidders.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top

A Costly Call for WorldCom

Can't recall switching your long-distance service? Maybe you aren't losing your mind: On June 6, WorldCom agreed to pay an unprecedented $3.5 million fine to settle a probe by the Federal Communications Commission that it had engaged in widespread "slamming," or making unauthorized switches in long-distance service. WorldCom agreed to reforms aimed at preventing any future complaints and vows to reimburse customers who were found to have been slammed.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top

The Pentagon's Palpable Hit

For the Pentagon and its Israeli partners, it's sci-fi come true. On June 6, they jointly tested a TRW laser system and knocked a rocket out of the skies over a New Mexico testing site. The Tactical High-Energy Laser program--aimed at halting short-range missile attacks near Israel's northern border--isn't as well known as the Theater High Altitude Area Defense and the Patriot, which use missiles to shoot down missiles. Although delayed and overbudget, the programs all are notching some successes.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top

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