Philanthropist David Rockefeller Dies

Banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller died on Monday at ripe old age of 101. He died in his home at Pocantio Hills in New York. Rockefeller died due to congestive heart failure. Rockefeller was known to be a champion and advocate of American capitalism.

Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah said, “The world has lost a great man and philanthropist.” Former President Bill Clinton described Rockefeller as “a consummate businessman and a great humanitarian.”

David Rockefeller is the last grandchild of the legendary John D. Rockefeller who co-founded Standard Oil and was America’s first billionaire. David Rockefeller is the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr. who was known for developing the Rockefeller Center in New York.

The current leaders in Oil, ExxonMobil and Chevron are evolutions of Standard Oil.

David Rockefeller is a billionaire and the former head of Chase Manhattan Bank. He started at Chase National Bank as an assistant manager in 1946 until he became chief executive. He retired from the Bank in 1981.

Forbes estimates David’s wealth at $3.3 billion. In 2006, David Rockefeller gave $225 to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund whose initiative is to promote social change globally. He also gave $100 million to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and another $100 million to Rockefeller University. In 2008, he donated $100 million to Harvard University.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “No individual has contributed more to the commercial and civic life of New York City over a longer period than David Rockefeller. During my time in City Hall, he was always there for the city when we called.”

Chase Manhattan is part of JPMorgan Chase, and during the 1960s and 1970s, David Rockefeller led the bank’s growth in operations in the Middle East, Japan, Russia and Latin America. During his career with the bank, he traveled to 103 countries and was at the forefront in meeting dignitaries such as kings, presidents, and prime ministers.

David Rockefeller was able to boost the number of Chase’s foreign branches from 11 to 73. Chase was also able to open branches in Beijing and Africa. He hired famed professor Peter Drucker to help create a marketing, human resource, and planning system for the bank.

Rockefeller graduated from Harvard in 1936 and got his doctorate in Economics at the University of Chicago. He served during World War II and was awarded by the French government with the Legion of Honor in 1945.

He got married to Margaret “Peggy” McGrath in 1940 and raised six children with her: two sons and four daughters.

David Rockefeller also played a significant role in developing the World Trade Center in the 1960s and 1970s with the help of his brother Nelson who became Vice President during Gerald Ford’s administration.

Ron Chernow who wrote “Titan” which is a biography of John D. Rockefeller said, “The range of David Rockefeller’s business and philanthropic and political connections is perhaps unequaled.”
David Rockefeller created many philanthropic associations such as the Americas Society and the New York City Partnership which targeted the city’s poor.

Amazon Reveals Ambitious Plan to Open its Own Air Cargo Hub Inc, the ecommerce and online retailer giant, has revealed ambitious plans to open its own air cargo hub tentatively at Cincinnati in Northern Kentucky Airport at Hebron.

The air cargo hub is part of the company’s eventual plan to haul and deliver its own packages without having to depend on conventional logistic companies.

Additionally, Amazon intends to be a hauler and deliverer for other retailers as well, a direct competition for two of the largest such companies, UPS and FedEx.

This move is expected to create over 2,000 jobs while reducing its dependence of traditional cargo carriers including FedEx and UPS both of which have large hubs close by.

In 2015, the company reported plans to having 20 cargo planes out of which 16 planes are already part of the company’s fleet. Amazon’s newly acquired 4,000 semi-trailers is an attempt to improve its trucking capacity. The company also has a dedicated set of Flex drivers who make deliveries for Amazon in major metro areas.

The air cargo hub plan closely follows Amazon’s recent debut into sea carriers wherein it directly handled shipment of its goods from China to its US warehouses. This activity was formerly managed by third-party freight transport companies.

The CEO of the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation, Dan Tobergte said that this ambitious requires about $1.5 billion in investments and over 2 million square feet of space. He said that he is trying to get Amazon a $40 million incentive for this project.

The hub will include an area to park cargo planes, multiple buildings, and other equipment for material handling.

Analysts opine that Amazon’s planned investment could lead to more incoming resources to build and strengthen infrastructure in air-cargo logistics. Analysts also said that Amazon could end up being a strong contender in the freight and logistics industry especially when it starts hauling and shipping deliveries and packages for third parties.

Despite the optimism, the current strength of Amazon transport network is very small compared to traditional carriers like FedEx and UPS.

To put this in perspective, UPS biggest air cargo hub is located in Louisville, Kentucky’s Worldport and this hub employs almost 10, 000 people. UPS’ Louisville 5.2 million square feet hub is capacitated to handle and sort 416,000 packages and parcels an hour. Moreover, UPS’ air fleet consists of over 500 air cargo planes.

Hence, analysts are of the opinion that the short-term goal of Amazon is to be ready to manage its own packages without having to depend on traditional carriers especially during busy and peak times such as holidays.

Amazon’s choice of location also will make it a neighbor to DHL which is a presently one of the main providers of international shipment services to the ecommerce behemoth. DHL has a large hub at Cincinnati and could potentially facilitate shipment transfers between planes which would further decrease Amazon’s dependence on FedEx and UPS.

Currently Amazon already has 11 fulfillment centers in Kentucky. Transportation analysts also viewed the location choice positively as they believed that the chosen place is only a two-day drive for most of the population in the US.

U.K. Economy Continues Steady Growth as Big Roadblocks Lie Ahead

The U.K. economy continued to defy the critics who predicted a derailed expansion in the wake of Brexit. The first official estimate of the fourth quarter GDP showed that the economy grew by over 0.6% in the third quarter, slightly higher than the 0.5% median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

However, all is not well with Europe’s second largest economy. The growth has been steadily declining. The economy, which had registered a growth of 3.1% in 2014 and 2.2% in 2015, has grown by a mere 2% in 2016. The growth, which is further expected to decline to just 1.4% this year, the weakest since 2009, could act as a curtain-raiser for an economic slowdown. This could prompt the government to increase the borrowings to over $70 billion over the next five years.

Furthermore, December, which has traditionally been a strong month for sales, witnessed a slight fall in retail spending. Experts have attributed this to the dark clouds of uncertainty that loom large over Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU, which has led to some big banks saying that they will “start moving thousands of jobs away from London”.

“Every major sector of the economy grew last year, which is further evidence of the fundamental strength and resilience of the U.K. economy,” said Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. “There may be uncertainty ahead as we adjust to a new relationship with Europe, but we are ready to seize the opportunities to create a competitive economy that works for all.”

The British economy has fared better than what was predicted in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union in June last year. However, latest data points to its over-reliance on one sector. The declining value of the pound, which is still 15% down against the dollar vis-à-vis the referendum day, is expected to push up inflation, thereby squeezing real income and weakening consumer support. The decreasing value of the pound has been working as a double-edged sword, boosting British exporters on the one hand and hurting consumers back home on the other. Prices of consumer goods are going up as a result.

Prime Minister Theresa May intends to start the formal talks on leaving the EU by March-end. Economists are skeptical about the effects of this decision as they believe that it will hurt trade in the long run.

May is meeting President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday, and hopes to start the discussions concerning a future trade deal between the two allies. For his part, Trump has promised to give the U.K. a preferential treatment for a trade deal. However, the experts have warned that a deal will take years to materialize, assuming that there is one.

BOE Governor Mark Carney, although positive about a bright short term, has also expressed his concerns about an economic meltdown in 2017. He has, however, hinted at the BOE raising its forecasts in February at its next policy decision.

Trump Hotels May Increase by Over Threefold

Barely a week after Donald Trump took the oath of office, the chief executive of his hotel business has kicked a controversy by hinting at plans of an ambitious expansion across the U.S. amid calls urging Trump to divest his business holdings.

Eric Danziger, the head of Trump’s hotel-management company, has outlined his desire to expand Trump Hotels from its eight existing hotels in seven cities to 26 metropolitan areas across the U.S. It is noteworthy that Trump International hotels are also operating in Canada, Ireland, Panama and Scotland.

“There are 26 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. and we’re in five,” Danziger said after a panel discussion at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be in all of them eventually.”

Danziger expressed his hope of more than tripling the number of Trump hotels in the States by saying that Trump Hotels is “considering” opening luxury properties in Dallas, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco.

The hotel chain organization has also revealed its plans to launch a new, lower-priced brand called Scion, which would target young travelers who are looking for a hotel with a “strong sense of community”. The Scion properties would operate in smaller cities, Danziger said during the panel discussion. He went on to say that the first Scion hotel will open this year, though a location is yet to be announced for the same.

Trump has come in for a lot of flak from ethics experts and critics for not having divested his holdings entirely, which include his interests in the hotel business he launched in 2007. Instead of divesting the same, Trump has put his two elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, at the helm of the Trump Organization besides pledging no new foreign deals during his term as the country’s President.

“Even if his business activities are considered legal, they certainly heighten the perceived conflict,” said Wendy Patrick, a teacher of business ethics at the San Diego State University.

“Although he is now officially the leader of the free world, Donald Trump remains both a businessman and a brand,” Patrick was reported to have said in an e-mail. “The fact that the hotel chain that bears his name is seeking to expand within the United States raises questions of both law and ethics.”

Danziger’s comments come only a day after an ethics group had filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing him of acting in violation of the Constitution if his businesses, including his hotels, receive revenues from a foreign government.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, and one of the several legal experts working on behalf of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that “there is no doubt” that Trump has been violating the Constitution since he took office. According to him, the lawsuit aims to reaffirm that “no person, not even the president, is above the law”.

Did a Payday Loan Company Hire Hackers to Attack a Consumer Website

In recent years, it has become apparent that consumer websites are not big fans of the payday loan industry. Due to the high-interest rates, excessive fees, and other exorbitant charges, consumer websites often give the big thumbs down to payday loan stores, whether they are in North America or Europe.

Would a payday loan company go as far as hiring hackers to attack one of these consumer websites?

A London court had presided over a case that alleged the owner of a small loan company hired a group of computer hackers to attempt to sabotage a consumer rights web portal after it published customers’ complaints about the lender. Moreover, that is just the beginning of the marvelous payday loan tale.

According to several reports, James Frazer-Mann, owner of Elite Loans, was accused of hiring hackers in the United States to launch a full-fledged attack against a website for Consumer Action Group (CAG), which enables consumers to talk about their rights in the United Kingdom open marketplace. It was also discovered by an FBI investigation that the defendant also paid the American hackers to go after websites of several other payday loan businesses that were competing against Elite Loans.

The hackers had ostensibly used a method known as a denial of service. This hacking technique floods the website with numerous requests to overload the system and prevents others from accessing it.

Frazer-Mann, who is located in South Wales, was sentenced to four months in prison – it was reported that it was reduced by 12 months. The payday lender is also mandated to serve 180 hours of unpaid work and pay close to $1,000 in costs after admitting to the five charges brought against him.

“The effects of such attacks are significant as the companies are so reliant on their websites to generate business,” said James Davies for the prosecution. “He claims his company had initially been targeted by other companies. It is an area of business which is highly competitive, and some use unethical practices. He said he lost £1,000 a day when his website was targeted.”

What was the culprit’s defense? Ben Douglas-Jones, speaking on behalf of the defense, explained that the UK forum had published personal information about Frazer-Mann and the website had encouraged users to harass him and his family.

“There’s a low risk of him committing further offenses of this nature. He is now working as a carpet cleaner,” Douglas-Jones said.

Meanwhile, Marc Gander, the founder of CAG, stated that this is evidence to showcase how far some payday loan companies are willing to go in an effort “silence their critics.” Gander added that he was willing to hire American hackers to perform “a very stupid thing to do.”

Since the end of the case, Elite Loans is no longer in operation in the marketplace. Also, Frazer-Mann is employed as a carpet cleaner.

The payday loan industry in Great Britain has certainly become a very interesting place.

Craig Forman Appointed CEO of McClatchy Co.

McClatchy Co. appointed Craig Forman as its new president and chief executive officer on Wednesday amid huge losses owing to the decline of print media. The company has struggled to make inroads into digital media despite its investments in digital products.

Forman, who has served as the executive at industry heavyweights such as Yahoo and EarthLink, is expected to turn the tide for the beleaguered print media company which reported a net loss of $37 million on revenue of $714.9 million for the first nine months of the last year. A fall of 7 percent in the revenue has summed up the nosedive in McClatchy’s fortunes ever since the online news providers came into the limelight.

Prior to his appointment, Craig Forman was a private investor and a McClatchy board member. He has also served as a reporter and bureau chief at Wall Street Journal, besides having held executive positions at companies like Dow Jones and Time Warner.

The 55-year-old has succeeded Patrick Talamantes, who was at the helm of the company’s affairs since May 2012. The decision is said to have been taken with an eye on the heavy losses suffered by the Sacramento-based company which operates 29 daily newspapers in as many as 14 states.

Forman’s appointment ends Patrick Talamantes’ four-year tenure as the Company’s CEO. Talamantes, who had joined McClatchy as CFO in April 2001, couldn’t be reached for his comments.

Under Talamantes’ leadership, McClatchy was unable to keep a check on the fall in revenue and profit even as it invested in digital media products. The growth in McClatchy’s digital revenue hasn’t been enough to offset continued declines in its print media operations. The matters haven’t been helped by the substantial debt load from the print media company’s takeover of Knight Ridder in 2006. The takeover move under the leadership of Talamantes’ predecessor, Gary Pruitt, has left the company reeling at a $906-million debt at the end of the third quarter of 2016.

“Pat led our company through turbulent times and, because of his great efforts, we are coming off a year of strong growth in audience and digital advertising revenue,” said McClatchy Chairman Kevin McClatchy in a press release. “Pat has well positioned the company for the future and was specifically instrumental in preparing for this next chapter.”

He also called Forman a “clear-eyed realist, but also an optimist” and lauded his “energy” to take the company forward. “I’ve worked closely with Craig on the board, and he has played an instrumental role in guiding the board and focusing on our digital transformation.”

In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Forman praised the headway made by McClatchy in its digital media operations while also underlining the need to move more quickly.
“We’ve already transitioned in many respects to the foundations of that digital future,” said Forman. “My goal here is collaborating in accelerating that transformation. … The thing we have to work on is our pace.”

Forman stressed the importance of print business while also talking about the allocation of the company’s resources. “I don’t see a world, and I don’t think we see a world, where the (print) industry … doesn’t exist. But I think we have to recognize that growth there hasn’t occurred for many years, and we have to be very mindful of our allocation of resources.”