Business Briefs: Hardee's parent picks Puzder replacement

Business Briefs: Hardee's parent picks Puzder replacement

March 22nd, 2017 by Wire Service in Business Around the Region

Hardee's parent picks Puzder replacement

The parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's has named a new CEO to replace Andy Puzder, who last month withdrew his nomination to be Labor secretary under President Donald Trump.

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. said Puzder will be replaced in April by Jason Marker, who most recently was president of Yum Brands Inc.'s Kentucky Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Puzder withdrew his nomination to be Labor secretary in February after Senate Republicans became troubled about his acknowledgement that he belatedly paid taxes on a former housekeeper who was not authorized to work in the United States.

Puzder, who has been CEO of CKE since 2000, said in a statement issued by CKE that he had expressed his desire to have the company plan for succession about a year ago.

Porche negotiating deal to buy VW's Piech stock

The Porsche and Piech families are looking to strike a swift deal to buy shares in Porsche SE from Volkswagen's former chairman, Ferdinand Piech, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters news service.

"The negotiations are serious," the person told Reuters.

Porsche SE, the holding company which controls 52 percent of VW's shares, said on Friday that the families were in negotiations to buy a substantial part of Ferdinand Piech's 14.7 percent stake in Porsche SE, which is worth $1.2 billion, based on current market prices.

The German newspaper Handelsblatt cited sources as saying that any deal, which could come within days, was likely to shift the balance of power at Porsche SE more toward the Porsche side of the clan.

Piech, who turns 80 next month, transformed VW from a regional volume manufacturer into a global powerhouse, which owns the Bentley, Bugatti, Skoda, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Audi brands.

Wells Fargo to upgrade 13,000 ATM machines

Wells Fargo plans to upgrade all 13,000 of its ATMs next week to allow customers to access their funds using their cellphones instead of traditional bank cards.

The announcement was made by Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan on Tuesday at an employee town hall in Orlando.

While banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have announced similar upgrades to their ATMs, those are still being rolled out. Wells would be the first to upgrade all of its ATMs with that feature across the United States.

To access their money, customers would get unique eight-digit codes from their Wells Fargo smartphone app, and enter the code into the ATM along with their PIN number. The machines will still accept debit cards as well.

"Whether a customer happens to have a card on them or not, (the upgrade) provides another simple and secure way to withdraw cash at any of our ATMs," said Adam Vancini, head of virtual channel operations at Wells Fargo.

One limitation of the one-time code, though, is that it won't work on the secure doors that many branches have for non-business hours that require a customer to swipe an ATM or debit card to gain entry. Wells Fargo said those secure doors are found at a small percentage of branches, mostly in major metropolitan areas like New York City or Chicago.

Wal-Mart launches incubator laboratory

Wal-Mart is launching an incubator lab focused on projects in robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence as it aims to compete more aggressively with Amazon.

The so-called Store No. 8 will be located in Silicon Valley and marks the latest attempt by the company's new head of e-commerce operations, Marc Lore, to speed up innovation at the company. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., brought over Lore, the founder of, when the discounter bought the online retailer last year for more than $3 billion. Wal-Mart has been on an acquisition binge since then, snapping up ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and ModCloth.

The incubator lab's mission will be to house new startups that will run independently from the company. It will hatch, invest in and team up with entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists to create proprietary technology. Wal-Mart says these startups "will be ring-fenced from the broader organization, so they have the room to grow and develop."

Store No. 8 is named after an early store where Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton used to test different ideas that could be rolled out.

Rich New Yorkers ask state to raise their taxes

Some of the wealthiest New Yorkers are asking the state to raise their taxes.

Eighty people including George Soros, Steven Rockefeller and Abigail Disney wrote to lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying they and other top earners should pay more to support schools, roads, bridges and programs to help poor and homeless residents of the state.

"Now is the time to invest in the long-term economic viability of New York," the letter reads.

New York already has some of the highest tax rates in the country. Raising taxes even higher on the wealthiest earners could force more to leave the state, or prevent others from moving here, according to Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.