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Jacques Nasser: Ford's Passing Fancy


In Business This Week: Headliner

Jacques Nasser: Ford's Passing Fancy

Ford Motor's new CEO, Jacques Nasser, can't keep from speeding. Since Jan. 1, Nasser has put the pedal to the metal to make the No. 2 auto maker No. 1. On Mar. 1 he raided DaimlerChrysler for two execs who helped engineer Chrysler's rebirth. Crows Nasser: "People just want to be part of a winning team."

Nasser, say insiders, has a road map--what some call "Jac's 100-day plan." He is making bold moves that signal how Ford is changing, hiring executives from Whirlpool and General Electric. He is also wooing former BMW car czar Wolfgang Reitzle, a "close friend." Analysts are praising Nasser for landing DaimlerChrysler's Chris Theodore, 48, to be vice-president of large and luxury car development, and Shamel Rushwin, 51, as vice-president of advanced manufacturing engineering.

Nasser is scooping up more than employees. On Mar. 8, Volvo shareholders are expected to approve Ford's $6.5 billion deal for the car division. With $17.4 billion in cash remaining, Nasser is eyeing BMW, as well as Asian carmakers. "Hold onto your hats" with Nasser at the wheel, says one insider.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top

IBM and Dell's Giant Handshake

FOR YEARS, IBM HAS BEEN QUIETLY SELLING COMPONENT TECHNOLOGY TO RIVALS. But on Mar. 3, Big Blue cut its biggest deal yet with one of its toughest competitors. Dell Computer is signing a seven-year, $16 billion deal. What does it get? IBM is a leader in storage products, flat-panel displays, and chips; Dell will buy networking products and memory chips. Dell plans to use IBM's recent breakthroughs in chip technology that speed performance and reduce power consumption. IBM may be doing better selling technology than full-blown PCs. Analysts believe IBM's $13 billion PC business lost nearly $1 billion in 1998.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top

RJR Nabisco Seeks an Overseas Suitor

RJR NABISCO IS CLOSE TO SHEDDING ITS INTERNATIONAL TOBACCO DIVISION, say people close to the company. Earnings of the division declined 30%, to $468 million, in 1998; a sale would help lower the $9.5 billion debt load of the No. 2 U.S. cigarette maker. Salomon Smith Barney analyst Martin Feldman estimates the parcel would fetch $6.6 billion. Sources say several rivals have talked to RJR about buying either a part or all of it. Philip Morris is interested but fears the Western European operation would risk an antitrust challenge, sources say. Japan Tobacco is eyeing RJR's Asia business. France's SEITA and Spain's Tabacalera are also keen. The potential suitors couldn't be reached or declined comment.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top

Goldman Shines Up Its IPO Again

GOLDMAN SACHS IS TRYING TO GO PUBLIC AGAIN after last fall's effort was postponed when the market sagged. Management has said O.K.; the partners likely will, too. Goldman plans to file with the SEC the week of Mar. 15, and by early summer it aims to sell 10% to 15% of the firm. Co-chairmen Jon Corzine and Henry Paulson Jr. said the goal is to secure permanent capital, diversify ownership, and finance future buys.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top


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