Saturday, February 16, 2002

Business Digest

Revlon head Nugent out

        Revlon Inc. chief executive officer Jeffrey Nugent resigned after failing to stem 12 straight quarterly losses and a stock-price decline. He may be replaced by Jack Stahl, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

        Revlon has dropped to third from first in the U.S. cosmetics business, hurt by increased competition and $1.8 billion in debt mostly left from financier Ronald Perelman's 1985 takeover. Mr. Stahl will have a tough job in a market where L'Oreal SA and Procter & Gamble's Cover Girl lines are increasing sales, analysts said.

United, mechanics talk

        United Airlines and the union representing its 13,000 mechanics and aircraft cleaners began urgent contract talks in Chicago on Friday, hoping to avert a strike next week. The machinists, aiming to end a two-year dispute, have a strike deadline of 11 p.m. Tuesday CST.

        United has informed its employees that flights will be grounded if mechanics walk off the job — an action they authorized by an 86-percent majority.

Sprint cuts 3,000 jobs

        Wireless carrier Sprint PCS said Friday it will close five of its customer-service centers, putting an estimated 3,000 people out of work. The cuts represent about 9 percent of PCS' work force and follow the layoffs of 6,000 employees and 1,500 contract workers in recent months. Sprint will keep eight PCS call centers open.

        Centers in Atlanta, Tallahassee, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla., Lawrence, Kan., and Irvine, Calif., will close.

Nvidia investors wary

        Nvidia Corp.'s shares fell nearly 8 percent Friday as investors ignored a strong earnings report and focused on a probe into the chip maker's accounting practices. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said it was contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 14 during a separate investigation into insider-trading.

        At issue are the recording of reserves in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000 and the first quarter of 2001 as well as the possibility that $3.6 million in product costs were recorded in the wrong quarter.

Verizon shifts jobs

        Verizon Wireless Inc., the biggest U.S. mobile-phone company, said it will fire 1,000 employees, or less than 2 percent of its workforce, as the company repositions staff. The cuts will take place across the U.S. in departments such as finance, legal, human resources and marketing. Bedminster, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless has more than 40,000 workers.

Stallone sues

        Sylvester Stallone sued his former business manager, claiming that his financial advice led the actor to lose as much as $10 million on the stock of Planet Hollywood International Inc., a theme-restaurant chain. Mr. Stallone claims Kenneth Starr of Starr & Co. was biased because he also advised Keith Barish, a Planet Hollywood board member and a large shareholder.


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