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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs

Category : Business

While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted up

On approaching his 60th birthday this year, long-serving Tullow Oil boss Aidan Heavey told staff he felt “like two 30-year-olds”. A handful of recent shock departures by 50-something chief executives at European blue chip companies – none of them under any obvious pressure to quit – suggest some of his peers either lack that vigour, or want to channel it elsewhere.

Peter Voser is giving up one of the world’s most challenging chief executive roles at Royal Dutch Shell next year, before his 55th birthday, in pursuit of a “lifestyle change”. Swiss engineering group ABB’s 55-year-old boss Joe Hogan is also going, for “private reasons”. Pierre-Olivier Beckers, 53, is walking out on Belgian retailer Delhaize, and Paul Walsh, 57, is waving goodbye to drinks multinational Diageo. All four are about average European CEO age.

While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted up in recent years, and not just because of the tough economic times.

“The reality is it’s gruelling. It’s really tough, and there comes a point where you don’t want to do it any more,” said Ian Butcher, who headhunts board-level and senior executives for MWM Consulting.

“The quarterly reporting, the governance, the regulatory aspects, it just becomes very wearing – the level of scrutiny, the pace at which things are moving, the short-term nature of how people look at any given situation. Even over the past five years these things have made CEO a tougher position to hold, and the travel that people have to undertake in these jobs – it’s just something they run out of steam on.”

Some recent early retirees, while still well short of traditional retirement age, also got to the top spot early. “They’re still in their early fifties, with energy and a desire to do something, but they want to do something different, something quite significantly different sometimes,” says Butcher.

Voser fits that bill. He has no plans to collect well-paid chairmanships and non-executive directorships, as many ex-CEOs have done in the past.

Former Tesco chief Sir Terry Leahy has also resisted that gravy train since he left two years ago.

As for the early starters, executive search industry professionals point at people like Andrew Witty, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, who took on the job aged 44 in 2008 and would have to stay in harness for another decade to reach 60 in the role.

Blue-chip bosses as young as Witty are still rare, but over a quarter of Europe’s current crop have less than two years in the job, and more than half have less than four, according to data from executive search specialists BoardEx.

The BoardEx data, collected for Reuters from 238 companies in the main stock indexes of Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, puts the median CEO age at 55. The longest serving of them is Martin Gilbert of the British fund Aberdeen Asset Management. Though younger, at 57, Gilbert pips the 28.3-year tenure of Tullow’s double 30-year-old Heavey, with 29.8 years at the helm.

There are 17 top European CEOs who have been in the job for less than six months, and the youngest of the 225 in the group for whom ages were available is Vitaly Nesis, 37, who runs Polymetal International, the London-listed Russian precious metals miner.

While the recent spate of quitters are looking for something else to do, there are still some who appear to want nothing but to stay.

In the BoardEx group there are four over 70, and the oldest by eight years is Albert Frère, CEO of Group Bruxelles Lambert. Perhaps some linger on for fear that the pension pot is still a little light. Frere will have put such qualms behind him long ago. At 87, he is Belgium’s richest man.

Summer’s Perfect Pasta Salads

Category : Stocks, World News

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 9, 2013) – (Family Features) It’s summer… time for carefree, fun-filled days and casual entertaining. So whether you’re picnic-bound, heading to a bring-a-dish potluck, or simply dining al fresco on the deck, Antipasto Pasta Salad is the perfect choice.

See the article here: Summer’s Perfect Pasta Salads

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WPP: Big is beautiful at Sorrell’s marketing group – but for how long?

Category : Business

World’s largest marketing services group continues to grow, but questions remain what would happen if its chief left

This week MediaGuardian 25, our survey of Britain’s most important media companies, covering TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, music and digital, looks at WPP.

L’Oreal is one of the seemingly few global advertisers that Sir Martin Sorrell hasn’t managed to snare, yet after he pocketed almost £18m for running WPP last year some investors have been left muttering a version of the beauty brand’s famous strapline: “Is it really because he’s worth it?”

WPP’s chief executive took a rare blow on the chin last week, bowing to shareholders’ outrage at the scale of his pay packet, accepting a £150,000 salary cut, a 20% reduction in bonus and a significantly reduced long-term incentive programme.

Investors will get a chance to have their say at WPP’s annual meeting in June, with some complaining the board is too quick to kowtow to the company founder’s will. “WPP will probably trot out ‘oh but he formed this company from scratch …’, and he has sold [people] that [line] over and over again,” says one City source. “Entrepreneurs only tend to get paid out once when they float their company. Sorrell likes to be paid like an investment banker.”

It has been 28 years since he took the gamble on Wire and Plastic Products, a stockmarket-listed manufacturer of wire baskets, which he has used as a vehicle to create the world’s largest marketing services company. Last year WPP made more than £1bn in pre-tax profits and £10bn in revenues. It has a market capitalisation of more than £13bn.

“WPP is doing incredibly well, I think Martin is a force of nature and has built an amazing company,” says a senior advertising executive who once worked with Sorrell. “It is the most successful communications group in the world and Martin has led it brilliantly.” But some wonder whether the sprawling juggernaut – which employs 165,000 staff globally – is getting beyond the control of even the indefatigable Sorrell.

“It is too big, it is a bit like the Roman empire and is held together by one man’s force of will,” says the senior adman. “Therein lies the danger, there is something Napoleonic about it all. WPP is so big, it is almost unmanageable.”

Maybe so, but City analysts love the company – last year WPP’s share price rose 31% from 675p to 888p: “It will take more than another fat pay cheque to Sir Martin to spook the shareholders into selling,” says Anthony de Larrinaga, managing director at financial research company WYT.

Although there is an ongoing debate about whether Sorrell, who hates to see a prize asset go to a rival, overpaid in deals such as the £1.1bn purchase of research firm TNS, WPP is ticking the right boxes. “WPP is well-postioned from the three key angles of geography, clients and devices/product mix,” says Johnathan Barrett at Singer Capital Markets.

WPP’s engine is fuelled by its massive media buying capability: its Group M division uses its advertising buying power to get the best deals for clients across media including TV, press, radio and online. The advertising and media buying operation made £4.2bn in revenues last year, almost 42% of the total, and operating profits of £755m, just under half of WPP’s total.

The growth rate of WPP’s media buying operation alone, which is well over double the size of any rival in the UK, was a storming 7.4% in 2013′s first quarter. Group M controls about £1.2bn of UK TV ad spend, 30% of the market, and is almost as strong in other media. Potentially most concerning is that in most cases the closest rival media agency group is lucky to hold a market share of about half that of WPP.

“It has reached a stage that [media owners] can’t say no to Group M,” says a senior executive at a rival agency. “Their clout is unmanageable.” An example is Group M’s highly-publicised move to pull its £300m annual TV ad spend from Channel 4, close to a third of the £1bn the broadcaster takes in ad revenue annually, in a bid to drive down prices on commercials for WPP clients.

“[The outcome] was a draw, of sorts,” says one TV industry insider. “Group M didn’t come out looking so good reputation-wise, the publicity and the boycott turned out to be an uncomfortable place to be.” WPP would counter that such views are rivals’ sour grapes.; that other media groups have pulled client ad spend to get better deals, and that Channel 4 is perhaps not the force it was in terms of value for money Rival Aegis Media once boycotted Channel 5 for the best part of nine months, and more recently there was a spat with News International over the value it delivers for advertisers.

“Dominance and market leadership are two different things,” says a spokesman for WPP. “There is no lack of competition in the market. Group M is a strong leader in this highly competitive market, and benefits of leverage accrue to the clients.”

ITV’s family of channels has a 46% share of the TV advertising market, Channel 4 about 28%, Global Radio almost 60% of the radio advertising market and News International’s newspapers 25% share of press advertising. They are big enough to handle forceful negotiations, some say, adding that if you want to look at market dominance focus on Google’s 92% share of the UK search market.

“ITV and Associated [owner of the Daily Mail] may be able to withstand Group M, but most others are bullied and fall over,” says the senior media industry executive. But for how long will WPP still have that kind of power? What happens when Sorrell steps back is the question WPP-watchers describe as the elephant in the corner of the room.

The 68-year-old has ruled with an iron grip and there are those who believe that WPP will founder without him. “They’ll be fine until he goes,” says a senior advertising executive. “Then it’s a house of cards.”

Philip Lader, WPP chairman, said last week that there are twice-yearly discussions to prepare for Sorrell’s eventual departure – which could theoretically be abrupt, given his contract allows him to leave “at will” – and that the aim is not to “identify another Martin”.

“We earnestly endeavour to remain prepared for this inevitable transition,” Lader told shareholders. “That time, however, is not now. There’s no ‘elephant’ in the [WPP board] room.”

Contactless payments: which banks are in touch?

Category : Business

Retailers have readily embraced the ‘wave and pay’ revolution, but some banks have been slow off the mark

Starbucks is the latest big-name retailer to embrace contactless payments, but has the cash-free shopping revolution hit a roadblock?

Some of Britain’s banks have only issued contactless cards to a small proportion of customers and a survey published last week found many people are wary of the technology.

For several years, debit and credit cards displaying the contactless “wave” symbol have been hyped as the next big thing in banking and retail because they enable customers to pay for less costly items (£20 or less) without having to key in a pin number or scrabble around for cash. Instead, they simply scan their plastic over a reader at the till.

Since the first such cards were introduced by Barclaycard in 2007, a growing number of retailers have been offering this form of payment. Now Starbucks, after testing the technology in a few of its outlets, is rolling it out nationally. From this Friday, 10 May, all 570 Starbucks-owned branches in the UK will accept contactless payments and the company predicts that by the end of the year, they will make up around 10%-20% of all eligible transactions.

Ian Cranna, the UK marketing vice-president of Starbucks, which has come under fire recently for its UK tax arrangements, says: “More and more of our customers are using alternatives to cash and we want to offer them the quickest and most convenient way to pay – which is not only great news for them but also for other customers in the queue.”

Getting more household-name retailers on board will boost the scheme but shoppers can only make contactless payments if their bank or card company has given them one of the new-style cards. When Guardian Money rang round some of the main financial institutions, we found they have adopted varying approaches to the technology. Of the 31m-plus contactless credit and debit cards in circulation in the UK, almost 20m have been issued by Barclays or Barclaycard.

New research from price comparison site claims that only 6% of Britons have so far made a contactless payment using a credit or debit card. This was based on a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults carried out in March. The study also found that large numbers of Britons are wary of new payment technologies, with one in four saying they find the idea of contactless

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Creative Mother’s Day Crafts

Category : Stocks

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 2, 2013) – (Family Features) For Mother’s Day, celebrate the nurturing nature of mom with a specially painted flower pot that holds her favorite herbs or flowers.

The rest is here: Creative Mother’s Day Crafts

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Creative Mother’s Day Crafts

Category : Stocks, World News

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 2, 2013) – (Family Features) For Mother’s Day, celebrate the nurturing nature of mom with a specially painted flower pot that holds her favorite herbs or flowers.

Excerpt from: Creative Mother’s Day Crafts

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Grilling Goes Sweet and Savory

Category : World News

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 2, 2013) – (Family Features) When it comes to a great cookout, you want to keep things simple and tasting fantastic. And that starts with just the right recipes — like these.

Read this article: Grilling Goes Sweet and Savory

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Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Mom

Category : Stocks

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 2, 2013) – (Family Features) Mothers are incredible people. This year, make sure you properly thank her for all she has done for you by celebrating her with a day she’ll cherish forever.

Read the original here: Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Mom

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Sweet Celebrations

Category : Stocks

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 2, 2013) – (Family Features) Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or an everyday moment, ice cream treats are always welcome on the menu. These sweet recipes are sure to make any occasion a little more fun.

More: Sweet Celebrations

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Sweet Summertime Snack Ideas

Category : Stocks, World News

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – May 2, 2013) – (Family Features) In the warm summer months, nothing beats spending time together creating fun snacks that promote healthy eating and a little creativity.

See the original post: Sweet Summertime Snack Ideas

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