Wachovia board members force CEO to retire
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Less than a month after losing his chairman post, and more than two years after an ill-timed acquisition of California mortgage lender Golden West Financial Corp., Wachovia Corp. said yesterday that board members have forced CEO Ken Thompson to retire from the nation's fourth-largest bank.
The board of the Charlotte-based bank said it asked Thompson to leave a few days ago, and acted Sunday to replace him on an interim basis with Chairman Lanty Smith.
Smith replaced Thompson as chairman last month in a move the bank said "strengthens independent leadership" at the company.
WEB SITES LAUNCH REAL-TIME QUOTES
NEW YORK — The average investor will no longer have to wait 15 or 20 minutes to find out what stocks are doing as multiple financial Web sites launch free real-time quote services.
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. yesterday began a six-month pilot program to provide real-time stock quotes for Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange and American Exchange listings.
CNBC, Google Inc., The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and Xignite are the four companies taking part in the pilot program.
Last Wednesday, Yahoo Inc. launched real-time quotes on its financial site for NYSE- and Nasdaq-listed companies as well. Yahoo receives quotes from BATS Trading Inc., not from an exchange operator.
MARRIOTT PREDICTS U.S. MARKET DRAG
NEW YORK — Marriott said yesterday that weakness in the U.S. market will likely drag on what has been a strong performance by hotels worldwide.
Chairman and Chief Executive J.W. Marriott Jr. said he would be surprised if anything changed in the second half of the year.
The lodging industry, along with many sectors, has been squeezed as consumers tighten spending due to the continued housing slowdown, eroding credit, rising food and gas costs and recession worries.
Revenue per available room, also known as revpar, is a key gauge of a lodging company's performance.
Marriott, speaking at events related to the New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, said the company now anticipates North American revpar growth of about 2 percent, down from its prior forecast for growth between approximately 3 percent and 5 percent.
TATA BUYS LAND ROVER, JAGUAR
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. officially unloaded its storied Jaguar and Land Rover businesses yesterday — netting the cash-strapped automaker a $1.7 billion boost that's a mere third of what it paid for the two luxury brands.
India's Tata Motors Ltd. said it had completed the purchase of the brands in a deal first announced March 26.
Tata is paying about $2.3 billion for the British brands, but Ford is paying about $600 million into the Jaguar-Land Rover pension fund.
Ford bought Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.7 billion in 2000.
"This is a momentous time for all of us at Tata Motors," Tata Chairman Ratan N. Tata said in a statement.
"Jaguar and Land Rover are two iconic British brands with worldwide growth prospects."
FIRM'S CO-FOUNDER GETS 30 MONTHS
LOS ANGELES — Melvyn Weiss, the co-founder of a law firm known for securities class-action suits, was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in prison for his role in a lucrative lawsuit kickback scheme targeting some of the largest corporations in the nation.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter also ordered Weiss, 72, to pay $9.7 million in forfeitures and $250,000 in fines. Weiss pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in April as part of an agreement with prosecutors.