February 23, 2014 |
Few entrepreneurs have grasped as clearly as Richard Branson the importance of public relations in modern business. Over the past 25 years, the tycoon has assembled an empire by trading access to the likable image that he and his Virgin brand project in return for hard assets and stakes in enterprises. Behind the happy-go-lucky exterior is a carefully contrived pose. This portrays Branson - in fact a vastly rich, private-jet-toting tax exile - as a combination of hippie and buccaneer, a scrappy outsider taking on complacent and anticompetitive giants of big business.
February 21, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Seventy-two years after Nazis began deporting French Jews to concentration camps, the French government is negotiating to pay reparations for the first time to several hundred Holocaust survivors now living in the U.S. who survived unspeakable conditions while being transported in government-owned rail cars and in the death camps at the end of the line. Stuart Eizenstat, a Washington lawyer who advises the State Department on Holocaust issues, said in an interview Friday that the French government entered into formal talks Feb. 6 and appeared to be intent on wrapping up negotiations by the end of the year.
February 20, 2014 |
One of the nation's largest private equity firms is scheduled to announce Friday that it is giving $3.5 million to create a joint entrepreneurship program at USC, UCLA and UC Irvine. The donation from the charitable arm of New York-based Blackstone Group will pay for hands-on entrepreneurial training for students interested in launching their own companies. The program is open to students majoring in any academic subject. The goal is to spur job creation in today's slow-growth economy, said Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone's chairman and chief executive.
February 19, 2014 |
GREELEY, Colo. - In this parched farming region, where the land flattens out and every drop of water is precious, another player has lined up at the spigot. On a recent sunny afternoon, a huge cylindrical tanker truck rolled up to a red city fire hydrant and driver Jose Ofornio hopped out. With well-practiced efficiency he hooked hose to hydrant and began to fill. And fill. "It's really bad in the mornings," Ofornio said, noting that trucks often have to wait in line for their turn.
February 17, 2014 |
Ding-dong, Cap One calling. Credit card issuer Capital One isn't shy about getting into customers' faces. The company recently sent a contract update to cardholders that makes clear it can drop by any time it pleases. The update specifies that "we may contact you in any manner we choose" and that such contacts can include calls, emails, texts, faxes or a "personal visit. " As if that weren't creepy enough, Cap One says these visits can be "at your home and at your place of employment.
February 17, 2014 |
Tiny Sherman Oaks Buckley is 27-0 and seeded No. 1 in the Southern Section Division 4AA boys' basketball playoffs. The Griffins, which returned 10 players from last season's team, are one of what appears to be at least four unbeaten teams in the state. Santa Ana Mater Dei (27-0), Chula Vista Sweetwater (23-0) and Bakersfield Northwest Christian are also unbeaten. Buckley's best wins this season are over San Diego Parker, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Woodland Hills Taft. Junior Austin Butler is averaging 15 points a game.
February 16, 2014 |
How to get big - without getting bloated - is one of the greatest challenges facing growing businesses. Start-ups want to know how they can expand without adding layers of deadening process. At the same time, large companies want to know how to replicate the creativity and innovative prowess of start-ups without triggering an anarchic free-for-all. Drawing on the authors' own and others' insights, "Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less" promises many answers to those pressing questions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2014 |
The Culver City Ice Arena, which closed earlier this month after losing its lease, might reopen after the rock-climbing company that had planned to take over the space revealed last week that it would not. But City Manager John Nachbar said the city and the rink employees would first have to resolve many issues, including whether the facility's refrigeration system was safe. The unexpected news of Planet Granite's lease cancellation was a relief to the Takahashi family, longtime employees of the rink who hope to operate it for at least six months.
February 14, 2014 |
Occidental Petroleum is ending a nearly century-long run as a storied Los Angeles energy company and moving its headquarters to Houston as part of a corporate overhaul. The nation's fourth-largest oil firm also announced plans Friday to spin off its California assets into a separate publicly traded company based in the Southland. Occidental will continue to employ about 8,000 employees and contractors in the state. The company's split signals the end of an era for Occidental, which was founded in 1920 and led for many years by oil industry legend Armand Hammer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 14, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- Two Assembly panels will convene next week to examine consumer data safety, but lawmakers won't be hearing from two companies that have been hit with recent high-profile security breaches. Lawmakers invited representatives of Target and Neiman Marcus to testify at Tuesday's joint hearing of the Judiciary and Banking and Finance committees, after the retailers experienced massive security breaches that compromised millions of consumers' personal data. But the two companies declined to participate, said the legislators chairing the hearing.