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Joe Mansueto: Top Of The Morningstar

In Business This Week: Headliner

Joe Mansueto: Top of the Morningstar

After a two-year hiatus, Joe Mansueto is back in the top job at Morningstar. "We need a different Internet business plan" that reflects the market, says Mansueto, the 44-year-old founder and majority owner of the Chicago-based fund researcher.

Mansueto, who started Morningstar from his living room in 1984, took time off to think more deeply about his business. He was chairman until Dec. 8, when he replaced Don Phillips, who was demoted from CEO to managing director. Under Phillips, Morningstar struggled to capitalize on the Net revolution and posted a loss last year. This year, Morningstar expects revenues of $69 million. Although just shy of its $71 million target, that's up about 26% from $51 million last year. Mansueto expects double-digit growth in 2001 and hopes to take a "path to profitability." He plans to slash the spending splurge that came after he sold a 20% stake to Tokyo-based Softbank for $91 million. Morningstar is expected to move aggressively on the Net with paid investment advice.By Pallavi Gogoi; Edited by Monica RomanReturn to top

Enron Rewards Its Change Agent

While putting to rest the rumors that he'll be joining a Bush Cabinet, Kenneth L. Lay on Dec. 13 announced his successor as CEO at energy trading giant Enron in Houston. President and COO Jeffrey K. Skilling will take the helm on Feb. 12, while Lay remains as chairman. "The best time for succession is when the successor is ready and when the company is well positioned for the future," said Lay, 58. Skilling, 47, joined Enron in 1990 from McKinsey's energy and chemical consulting practices. He has pushed Enron into online trading of electricity, gas, and other commodities. He has also brought Enron's trading and risk management skills to new markets, including high-speed communications.Edited by Monica RomanReturn to top

McDonald's Sales Are Cowed

McDonald's likes to bill itself as the world's biggest burger chain, but beef is one thing that fewer Europeans are eating these days as fears of contracting mad cow disease spread across the Continent. McDonald's reported on Dec. 11 that November sales at its 5,200 outlets in Europe were off 11% from a year earlier, even though the company hasn't been linked to the spread of the illness or to infected meat. Still, analysts at J.P. Morgan and Salomon Smith Barney trimmed their forecasts for McDonald's profits by $27 million each year for 2000 and 2001.Edited by Monica RomanReturn to top

At Microsoft, a Consolation Prize

After losing a series of legal battles, Microsoft has settled a class action filed by temporary workers eight years ago. The software giant agreed to hand over $97 million to settle claims that it treated thousands of temps as full-time employees in every regard but compensation. So-called permatemps worked for years at Microsoft but did not participate in the company's employee stock purchase plan in which workers can buy Microsoft stock at a discount. The law firm representing the temps has asked the court to award it $27 million in fees. If approved, the remaining $70 million would be split among an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 eligible temporary workers. That comes to an average of $7,000 per temp, much less than they would have received if they had been allowed to invest in the employee stock plan.Edited by Monica RomanReturn to top

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