"They made a fortune off of my last year...You barely heard the show, they ran so many commercials ." -- Howard Stern, to the Drudge Report, protesting a CBS lawsuit claiming he misused airtime to promote his upcoming Sirius gig
Eyebrows lifted all over Wall Street last summer when word got out that Morgan Stanley (MS) was paying former CEO Philip Purcell $44 million to go away. But the incidentals of his exit package, as noted in Morgan's proxy and flagged by Footnoted.org, are even more interesting.
For the rest of his life, Purcell, now 62, will get $250,000 a year to cover benefits "that otherwise would have been available to him following his termination." The active philanthropist, whose causes include children's hospitals and inner-city music programs, gets an equal amount to fund favorite charities. Morgan pegs the present value of those benefits and donations at a combined $6.1 million.
Purcell also gets a secretary for life, at an initial salary of $115,000. With 3.5% raises, the cost comes to an estimated $1.9 million. Purcell received half his $44 million "bonus" in January. The rest is scheduled for January, 2007.
A spokesman for Purcell says the package is in line with that of other top Morgan execs and that he more than matches what the company pays toward his charities. Morgan declined to comment beyond the proxy.
Lawyers and consultants have long lent their time, pro bono, to those in need. Why not computer engineers? Last fall, Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit Web site that connects teachers in need of supplies with individual donors, called Yahoo! (YHOO) with an unusual request: Could the Web powerhouse please loan him six of its most talented techies for three months at a time to help redesign his site? Yahoo co-founder David Filo immediately signed on. The first group of volunteers is six weeks into the program.
Yahoo sees the contribution not just as philanthropy but as a tool in the red-hot tech talent wars. Its community relations director, Meg Garlinghouse, describes most of the company's hires as "predisposed to care for the community." A Peace Corps veteran herself, Garlinghouse thinks this will help Yahoo entice the most gifted geeks. They should help DonorsChoose's 19 employees catch up with the escalating demand for its services. Says Best: "Our current platform is still built around the Web site I commissioned four years ago, when we had no idea we'd grow beyond the Bronx." His goal is to make DonorsChoose available to every public school teacher in the nation by fall 2007.
Students at Belmont Abbey College may have a head start in the race for postgraduation jobs -- at least jobs that go vroom! Starting this fall, the 1,000-student school outside Charlotte, N.C., will offer the nation's first four-year bachelor's degree in Motorsports Management. Students will study such topics as sports marketing and racing management. "The program will be NASCAR-focused but will have a broad application to all portions of the motor sports industry," says Philip Bayster, chair of the school's business department.
The idea originated with H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of racetrack owner Speedway Motorsports. (TRK) He saw a need to boost management talent in the booming race-car business. Charlotte, the NASCAR epicenter, is home to about 250 racing teams and 25 specialized media and marketing firms.
Pay is anything but the pits: A 2005 study by two University of North Carolina-Charlotte professors found that annual salaries for the region's 14,000 motor sports jobs, not including drivers, averaged $72,000. Gentlemen, turn your tassels.
They've fought in toy aisles and in court. Now Barbie and Bratz are battling over bragging rights. MGA Entertainment boasted in early February that its Bratz had become the "No. 1 doll property" in the U.S. CEO Isaac Larian took some license, comparing different-size Bratz lines to Barbie, which offers mainly an 11.5-inch version. Mattel fired back, saying Barbie "continues to be the No. 1 girls' brand" -- true, if you include all branded merchandise -- and that Barbie.com was the top Web site for girls, with 51 million monthly visits. Oops. It meant to say that all Barbie-related sites generated that much traffic. Larian pounced in a Feb. 23 statement: "We were all confused by the 'statistics' that were being quoted. Now we know why they sounded wrong....They were."
WHY READ IT
For a global perspective on services for cell phones and mobile devices, with an emphasis on text messaging, ring tones, photos, and video.
"In Italy a new SMS service started for fresh-produce consumers last week called SMS Consumatori, that lets consumers know the average prices of fruit and vegetables by text messaging, is a success beyond every expectation, reports FreshPlaza. One million SMS [messages] have been exchanged."
What's in a name? A lot, if it's your own. Lloyd Noble II's grandfather founded what would ultimately become two large, publicly traded energy companies, Noble Corp. (NE) and Noble Energy Inc. This annual- meeting season, Lloyd Noble, who has never worked at either company but is a shareholder of both, is sponsoring proposals to split the chairman and chief executive's job at the two companies. He believes one person in both positions is too much concentration of power.
But shareholders may have a hard time figuring out who is behind the proposals. So far Noble Energy, a $2.2 billion oil and gas exploration company whose chairman and CEO is Charles Davidson, has agreed to include Lloyd Noble's proposal but it won't mention his name as a sponsor, according to correspondence he received. The company did not return BusinessWeek's calls for comment. Noble Corp. Chairman and CEO James Day said through an assistant that his company, a $1.4 billion drilling rig operator, will reveal its position when it files a proxy statement.
Securities & Exchange Commission rules don't force companies to disclose the sponsor of a shareholder proposal. But most of them do, says Patrick McGurn, executive vice-president at proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. The exception, McGurn says, is if it's a proposal the company opposes and it thinks the sponsor's name will carry clout with shareholders. "Some shareholder needs to step to the plate," says Lloyd Noble. Just don't look for his name on the batting lineup.
Brokeback Mountain headed into the Academy Awards as a favorite to win Best Picture. But can Alberta cash in? Although set in Wyoming, the movie was shot in the western Canadian province. Now Alberta officials are betting that fans captivated by the backdrop of soaring peaks and pristine rivers will want to see it up close. On Feb. 24 the province's tourism arm, Travel Alberta, sent cowboys to Manhattan to publicize its new Web site (inadvertently bringing to mind the 1969 Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy). The province also is backing a big-screen Times Square promotion featuring the Canadian Rockies. "We are going out of our way to make sure people know where that gorgeous scenery is," says Travel Alberta's Don Boynton.
Tourism already is a $5 billion-a-year industry for Alberta. But Boynton is holding off on comparisons with Lord of the Rings, whose breathtaking cinematography sparked a tourism boom in New Zealand. "That was a trilogy with a much bigger marketing budget. Our expectations are tempered."
Colleges need a crash course in protecting data. Hundreds of thousands of names and personal data have been hacked in the past year -- sometimes repeatedly. Schools that were struck include Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford, says Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. On Jan. 23 hackers nabbed Social Security numbers, credit-card information, and check images of University of Notre Dame donors. At Kent State University in Ohio, cybercrooks accessed a database containing names and Social Security numbers of 19,000 applicants. And in December, credit-card data and 5,500 Social Security numbers were stolen from Iowa State University's system.
Typically, data ends up with overseas organized-crime groups, often in Eastern Europe, says research firm Gartner. They are sold to counterfeiters over the Internet or used directly for financial fraud. Student IDs that use embedded chips for purchases are also a target.
Why are universities so vulnerable? Their systems, from academic to administra-tive, often operate independent of one another, with fewer layers of security. Former Microsoft (MSFT) security expert Howard Schmidt, a professor at Georgia Tech, estimates that only 25% of colleges pass the data-protection test.