With 27 years at Harvard Business School to his credit, Dean Kim Clark is ready for a change. After being recruited by Gordon Hinckley, head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Clark will become president of Brigham Young University-Idaho, a college run by the Mormon church, in August. Clark, a devout Mormon, told BusinessWeek: "It's an opportunity to do something quite different."
That's for sure. The Rexburg (Idaho) school only became a four-year university in 2001. But it's not off the beaten path in Mormon circles. The school's previous president, David Bednar, was tapped in October to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the church's second-highest ecclesiastical body. Still, Clark says his career change is not driven by the desire to move up the church ladder.
As for his business ties, Clark wouldn't say if he will remain on the boards at JetBlue Airways (JBLU) and Black & Decker (BDK). He says he'll decide later this summer after talking to church leaders.
America Online (TWX) will embark on a radical shift in strategy this summer when it unleashes a slew of broadband content and services for free on the newly refurbished aol.com Web site. Struggling with the continuing defection of its dial-up subscribers, the Time Warner (TWX) division is now focusing on building a big Web audience to capture a healthier slice of growing online ad spending. AOL is seeking a better balance between lower-margin subscription revenues and higher-margin ad sales, which brought in 15% of revenues in the first quarter.
Did investors get the wrong message from Sears Holdings' (SHLD) first-quarter numbers? Sears' stock price fell 9% on June 7, to $141.50, after the retailer reported a $9 million quarterly loss and continued weak sales at its Sears and Kmart divisions. The results were the first since investor Edward Lampert merged the two retailers in March. An analysis of the numbers shows that Lampert is taking the same tack at Sears that he did at Kmart -- namely, putting profits before sales growth. Excluding a $90 million charge related to an accounting change, Sears Holdings earned $81 million, beating analysts' estimates. While sales at Sears Div. stores open at least a year fell 3.1%, some of the decline was due to reduced discounting.
At the General Motors (GM) annual meeting on June 7, Chairman and CEO Richard Wagoner Jr. finally revealed the beginnings of a restructuring plan. Wagoner plans to cut 25,000 factory jobs -- almost 25% of GM's union workforce -- by the end of 2008. That should eventually save $2.5 billion a year, Wagoner said. Those numbers sound big, but this was hardly the major overhaul Wall Street was looking for. GM has the capacity to build 5.8 million vehicles annually in North America, but it will sell only about 5 million vehicles domestically in 2005. Analysts expect sales to fall further by 2008, especially among highly profitable SUVs. With GM's revenue under pressure, Wagoner may need to trim GM's workforce even more.
The European Union reached a deal on June 6 that allows Microsoft (MSFT) to avoid daily fines for failing to comply with its March, 2004, finding that the software giant violated anti-competition laws. But the deal, designed to give Microsoft's rivals access to technical details that will help their software work better with Windows, excludes developers who work on open-source programs such as Linux. European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes accepted Microsoft's argument that sharing technical data with open-source developers would expose Microsoft's intellectual property in a way that could not be undone later should Microsoft win on appeal. Those in Europe's open-source community vow to press Kroes to reconsider.
-- InterActiveCorp (IACI) sold its 5.4% stake in Vivendi Universal Entertainment (V) to parent NBC Universal for $3.4 billion.
-- Delta (DAL) and Northwest (NWAC) warned of bankruptcy unless Congress reforms pensions.
-- Third Avenue Management bid $307 million for Instinet (INGP).
Shares of ImClone Systems (IMCL) jumped more than 17% on June 8, to close at $35.27, after the company said an independent panel of experts verified that Erbitux, already approved for colon cancer, also controlled the spread of deadly head and neck tumors.