In Business This Week: HEADLINER
JAMES KILTS: THE SNACKS, JUST THE SNACKS
Is James Kilts the secret ingredient Nabisco needs? The new chief executive of the food subsidiary of RJR Nabisco is expected to make his mark quickly by shedding noncore products to focus on snack foods.
Divesting ancillary businesses and creating market synergies were Kilts's claim to fame at Philip Morris' Kraft Foods division. Kilts, 49, vastly expanded profits there before resigning in March to search for a corporation to run. He got his chance on Nov. 21, when Nabisco Chief John Greeniaus, 52, said he would leave Nabisco for health reasons. "Kilts has been perfectly groomed for the job," says Gary Stibel of New England Consulting Group.
Wall Street agrees. "Greeniaus was a marketing whiz," says Timothy Swanson of A.G. Edwards, "but this is the time when Nabisco needs to focus on what it does best." Now the question is: What next for Nabisco? Parent RJR Nabisco has said it wants to spin off the food subsidiary, and Kilts, a hands-on operator, apparently believes it will happen soon.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLAND By Jeanne DuganReturn to top
NEW HOPE FOR THE GUT-CHALLENGED
JUST IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING, there's good news for Americans battling obesity. On Nov. 24, the Food & Drug Administration approved Knoll Pharmaceuticals' Meridia, and it could hit the market in 1998. Meridia fills a void left earlier this year when American Home Products voluntarily withdrew obesity drugs Redux and Pondimin after some patients exhibited heart valve problems. Meridia has its own side effects, including higher blood pressure in some patients. The FDA recommends that Meridia patients check their blood pressure regularly. But Meridia does not seem to have the serious coronary and pulmonary side effects detected in some patients taking Redux.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
INTEL TINKERS WITH ITS INSIDES
INTEL IS REDRAWING ITS organizational chart to reflect changes in how it will develop and market microprocessors. It said on Nov. 24 that it will split marketing and product development across five business groups focused on customer segments. Research arm Intel Architecture Labs becomes a stand-alone organization, while sales and chip design remain centralized. It's all part of Intel's plan to push into markets that six months ago weren't on its radar: TV set-top boxes, network computers, and digital cameras. EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
SONY AND LIBERTY HABLAN ESPANOL
BETTING BIG ON SPANISH-LANGUAGE TV, a group including Apollo Management, Sony Pictures, and Liberty Media will buy Telemundo Group in a deal valued at $539 million. Sony and Liberty should give Telemundo a boost by providing fresh programming. Sony's hit shows, including The Nanny and The Young and the Restless, could be recast for Hispanic audiences. Liberty can provide sports programming through a deal with Fox SportsAmericas. Telemundo is currently a distant second to Univision, which has more than 80% of the market. EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
FROM RANDOM HOUSE TO MORT'S HOUSE
RANDOM HOUSE TRADE GROUP publisher Harold Evans, who brought us Primary Colors, is leaving his perch at Conde Nast. Evans will become editorial director of the publications owned by real estate developer Mortimer B. Zuckerman, including The New York Daily News, U.S. News and World Report, The Atlantic Monthly, and Fast Company. Says Evans: "Mort [has taken] a big and bold step in relinquishing the editorial control to a professional--which is what I call myself."EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top