Archive for May, 2009

Nardelli to Iacocca: Sorry, Chrysler is cutting your pension

This is too good to be true for a business blogger.

Former Chrysler chief Lee Iacocca stands to lose much of his pension and his company car due to the automaker’s bankruptcy, Reuters is reporting.

Perhaps, current Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, who enjoyed a $200 million-plus severance package when he left Home Depot’s top job, could give him a ride.

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Power Breakfast: Home Depot, Delta, UPS

We’re adding a new morning feature, Power Breakfast, that will try to keep you abreast of major business developments in Atlanta and elsewhere. Look for about a half-dozen Web links to information you may be interested in.

In the AJC:

In other media:

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Home Depot shareholders still not over Nardelli

His spirit was at Home Depot’s annual meeting today — even though his name was never mentioned.

No, not Bernie or Arthur. But Bob.

One shareholder called former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli “Chrysler’s loss,” a reference to his current role as head of the bankrupt carmaker.

Another shareholder said “Mr. Chrysler” ruined Home Depot during his tenure at the No. 1 home-improvement retailer.

Shareholders, still bitter at Nardelli’s leadership they believe hurt customer service, employee morale and the stock price, could not utter his name during the meeting at the Cobb Galleria.

At the same time, shareholders clearly held generally positive feelings for his successor, Frank Blake. “You are our gain,” one shareholder told Blake.

Blake had mixed news to deliver, including declines in revenue and profits. But, he added, “the worst is behind us.” He expects the economy and housing market to be close to the bottom.

Read the AJC story Photo …

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Home Depot shareholders’ meeting today in Cobb

I’m on my way to the Home Depot annual meeting at the Cobb Galleria. I’ll post an update in a few hours.

Continue reading Home Depot shareholders’ meeting today in Cobb »

New state program could help some job seekers

It’s not a panacea, but it may be able to help some job seekers become a little more competitive in this tough market.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced a new program, financed by the federal government’s stimulus money, to help improve core job skills for the unemployed.

Here’s the news release with the details:

Governor Perdue Launches Be Work Ready Program
Earning a Work Ready Certificate, Improving Core Skills Can Help Fund Job Search

ATLANTA – In tough economic times, it is more important than ever for unemployed Georgians to embrace life-long learning opportunities and improve their core job skills. Governor Sonny Perdue today announced the launch of Be Work Ready, a program designed to help unemployed Georgians jump start their job search, develop confidence and gain a competitive advantage in the job market.

Be Work Ready is a one-of-a-kind initiative providing unemployed Georgians a monetary incentive for either earning a Work Ready Certificate or improving their skills …

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Timber controversy at Home Depot annual meeting Thursday

There could be a little fireworks at Home Depot’s annual shareholders’ meeting Thursday morning at the Cobb Galleria.

Nothing, of course, can match the time when Bob Nardelli was running the company and its meetings. You might remember when the board of directors intentionally failed to show up — unbelievable — and Nardelli treated shareholders in attendance with disrespect, to say the least. (It’s a new blog, so I’m trying to start out by being nice.)

Current CEO Frank Blake appears to be a class act. But he may be tested a little bit tomorrow because a group called International Rivers is organizing what it bills as a “highly visible action” against the company. The group is protesting Home Depot’s purchase of timber from companies they say are threatening Chile’s rivers and forests.

Stay tuned.

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Conflicting signs on metro Atlanta home prices

Conflicting economic signals make for confusion. But confusion is better than what we’ve been experiencing for much of the past two years — one piece of negative news followed by another and another.

Today, an important real estate index said average metro Atlanta home prices dropped about 1 percent in March from the previous month. During the past year, average prices fell 16 percent, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index.

But two local industry veterans say conditions are improving.

Real estate agent Julie Sadlier, who’s been in the business for 30 years, swears she’s considerably busier now than last year — her worst in at least 15 years.

“I think the confidence level is up with buyers,” said Sadlier, who works for RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Intown. But, she added, many prospective buyers are looking for super deals on foreclosed property.

Steve Palm, president of SmartNumbers, a real estate research firm in Marietta, told AJC reporter Michelle Shaw that the …

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Coke gives lessons in recovery

Neville Isdell

Sagging sales in key markets. Two failed CEOs in a row. Horrible employee morale and a class-action, racial-discrimination case.

Those are just some of the problems that plagued Atlanta’s most famous company long before the current financial crisis.

How companies like Coca-Cola overcame tough times can offer key lessons to others going through them now.

I talked with Neville Isdell, who is credited with straightening out the mess that was Coke, on the day last month when he gave up his position as chairman of the board to return to retirement in Barbados.

What did he do that worked?

Three actions, in particular, helped turn around the company.

For starters, Isdell did something revolutionary. He listened.

Publicly, Isdell kept his mouth shut for three months when he first got the top job five years ago, so he could travel the globe listening to employees, managers, bottlers and retailers. Coke operates in more than 200 countries.

“You can’t sit in the …

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Welcome Readers to New Atlanta Business Blog

Hi. This is my first day blogging and I’d like to know what you’re interested in. I’m not new to business reporting, but a Web blog is not something I would have pictured for myself — at least not in this lifetime. You never know.

My tentative plan is to update you on important local biz developments. I also won’t ignore big national news if I think you may not be aware of something.

I’m hoping to offer some perspective and context for understanding the news.

And I’ll try to make this a spot that you’ll want to check regularly. So please let me know what you care about.

Thanks in advance.

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