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In Business This Week: Headliner
Philip Marineau: Taking the Levi's Challenge
Philip Marineau is trading Pepsi Blue for the Levi 501 Blues. On Sept. 7, Pepsi announced that Marineau, 52, head of its Pepsi-Cola North America unit, was leaving to be CEO of beleaguered jeans maker Levi Strauss.
The departure is a blow to the perennial No.2 cola. Marineau says he left because he wanted to run his own show--something that was unlikely to happen anytime soon at PepsiCo under CEO Roger Enrico, 54. On Marineau's watch, Pepsi halted the market share advance of archrival Coca-Cola, partly through broadening the target market for Pepsi--now in blue cans--beyond its Gen X audience to a wider public. "Coke's no longer winning," says Marineau.
Levi's, on the other hand, needs to rebuild its following among teens and young adults. Marineau admits he has a lot to learn about the apparel business, but he intends to get up to speed by talking to retailers. Marineau is known for his stress on nuts-and-bolts marketing techniques. At Levi's, which saw sales skid 13% last year to $6 billion, all that marketing prowess is sorely needed. By Larry Light; Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top
The SEC Whacks Van Kampen
Hot IPOs have landed mutual-fund adviser Van Kampen Investment Advisory in hot water. On Sept. 8, the Securities & Exchange Commission hit Van Kampen, of Oak Brook, Ill., and its former chief investment officer with $125,000 in penalties for failing to disclose that a sizzling new fund had built its track record largely on gains from initial public offerings. As an "incubator" fund--one not yet on sale to the public--the Van Kampen Growth Fund posted a 62% return in 1996 on less than $400,000 invested. But more than half of those gains resulted from 31 IPOs--a fact, the SEC charges, that Van Kampen didn't disclose when the fund opened to investors in February, 1997. In just over a month, the Growth Fund skyrocketed to $110 million in assets--too big, the SEC says, to sustain its stellar returns.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top
Yahoo! Is Signing Up Net Bill-Payers
Today your home page, tomorrow your checkbook. On Sept. 8, Internet portal company Yahoo! unveiled Yahoo! Bill Pay, a new service that allows consumers to pay all their bills, from phone bills to mortgages, via the Internet. Through a partnership with CheckFree, for a monthly fee Yahoo! registered users will be able to create payee lists and select dates for when their bills should be paid. The money will then be deducted from a designated bank account. With its new service, Yahoo! will go up against many banks and online financial sites, as well as Intuit and Microsoft, which offer similar services.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top
Software Makers Go Undersea
Global Crossing is getting more global. On Sept. 8, the California-based company announced a joint venture with Microsoft and Japanese software maker Softbank to build a $1.3 billion undersea and terrestrial fiber-optic network in Asia that will connect Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Microsoft and Softbank will both invest $175 million and pledged to buy $200 million in network capacity over three years. Global Crossing will contribute a 58% share of its trans-Pacific network to the new venture, Asia Global Crossing.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top