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Alice In Alphabetland


In Business This Week: HEADLINER: ALICE LUSK

ALICE IN ALPHABETLAND

At buttoned-down Electronic Data Systems, Alice Lusk stood out. A Netherlands native who dresses stylishly, she rose quickly to become EDS' first female vice-president. Now, she's making a splash at NCR. The AT&T computer unit, set to be spun off by yearend, named Lusk its first female senior vice-president on Sept. 9. Lusk will head both NCR's worldwide professional-services group and its internal information-systems operation, reporting directly to CEO Lars Nyberg.

Lusk, who joined EDS in 1975 as a systems engineer, ran health-care and insurance units when she left late last year. Former colleagues say she was under pressure for failing to meet business plans. EDS won't comment, and Lusk says the decision for her to leave was "mutual." At NCR, she takes over a services unit that was a rare bright spot amid 1995's $2.3 billion loss. "Where I've been most effective is in the growth phase" of a business, Lusk says. Yankee Group Managing Director Howard Anderson is less upbeat: "Her skill set doesn't necessarily translate to what NCR is going to need."EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS By Wendy ZellnerReturn to top

APPLE'S PYRRHIC VICTORY

YOU'VE JUST ELIMINATED your biggest competitor. Good news, right? Not necessarily. On Sept. 6, Apple Computer agreed to a deal that, over time, will remove Hewlett-Packard from the market for Mac-only inkjet printers. HP will sell its inkjet-printer engines to Apple rather than under its own brand name, piggybacking on Apple's bigger share ef the Mac segment. That gives HP a graceful exit from a shrinking business. Apple will be left with up to 70% of the $800 million business, and it probably will pay less for the engines than it did under a previous deal with Canon. The price: HP's departure, say analysts, will send a profoundly negative signal to already-jittery Apple loyalists.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

WILL BIGGER MAKE PHAR-MOR BETTER?

IT'S ROBERT HAFT'S BIGGEST move since he left his father's troubled Dart Group retailing empire and took over troubled Phar-Mor. On Sept. 9, his drug chain revealed plans for a $560 million stock deal to link up with Shopko Stores. Together, the two units will operate 232 stores in 29 states, with sales of about $3.2 billion. Wall Street wasn't much impressed, driving Phar-Mor shares down 9.2%, to 7 3/8. Still, consolidation persists: The same day, Revco D.S. began a hostile $330 million takeover bid for Big B.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

WINDOWS GOES HANDHELD

THREE TIMES, MICROSOFT has tried to shrink its Windows software down for electronic devices smaller than personal computers. Three times, the effort has gone nowhere. On Sept. 16, the software giant will try again, announcing "Windows CE," new software for non-PC uses. The first Win CE products: Handheld gadgets to debut in November for carrying electronic Rolodex info and swapping data with PCs. Compaq Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Casio, NEC, and others will make the handhelds.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

PEROT PICKS A NAFTA-BASHER

BY CHOOSING ECONOMIST Pat Choate as his running mate, Presidential hopeful Ross Perot will refocus political debate on trade. Choate, 55, is an outspoken critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Bill Clinton and Bob Dole both backed. But some of Choate's dire predictions haven't materialized. The pact has not jeopardized millions of U.S. jobs. And a $15 billion trade deficit with Mexico has emerged, but that was more a function of the peso crisis. Choate was, however, among the first economists to warn of fading U.S. competitiveness.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top


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