Inside these posts: CEOs

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Deere & Co. to double size of Russian factory

A John Deere combine being worked on in Hampshire, Ill. Moline-based Deere hopes to expand its product line in Russia. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. will double the manufacturing space at a factory near Moscow and start its own leasing company in Russia, the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment said Thursday.

The announcement was made as Deere Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen joined other CEOs and Vice President Joe Biden at an investment conference in Russia.

The investment at the Domodedovo factory will help the company expand its product line in Russia, adding new equipment such as log forwarders, which load and haul logs and are widely used in the Russian forestry industry, Deere said in a statement. Get the full story »

Allstate CEO Tom Wilson sees compensation fall

Allstate CEO Tom Wilson. (2010 handout photo)

Allstate Corp. cut compensation for Chief Executive Tom Wilson by 11 percent to $9.3 million for 2010 as the insurer paid nothing under a bonus plan that measures performance over a three-year period.

The company also missed seven of 12 targets set up to gauge executive performance last year, and a separate one-year bonus was less than the target amount set by the compensation committee of Allstate’s board of directors. Still, the one-year bonus rose 12 percent from the year-earlier payout as results improved at Allstate’s life insurance operation. Get the full story »

Baxter CEO’s compensation falls 20% in 2010

Baxter International Inc. Chief Executive Robert L. Parkinson Jr. received compensation valued at $11.5 million in 2010, down 20 percent from the prior year amid a sharp reduction in his annual bonus and a tumultuous year for the medical-products company. Get the full story »

Hospira taps Allergan president as new CEO

F. Michael (Mike) Ball.

Hospira Inc. has named F. Michael Ball, president of Botox maker Allergan Inc., as its next top executive, succeeding the only CEO the Lake Forest-based maker of generic injectable drugs has had since it was spun off from Abbott Laboratories.

Ball, 55, will Hospira become chief executive March 28, replacing Christopher Begley, who will retire after nearly seven years in the top job, the company announced late Monday. Hospira was spun off as a public company from North Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories in 2004. Get the full story »

Melissa Bean to be CEO of Executives’ Club

Melissa Bean. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)

By Becky Yerak and Melissa Harris | Melissa Bean, the Barrington Democrat recently ousted from her U.S. House seat after three terms, has been hired as the new chief executive of the Executives’ Club of Chicago.

Before entering the world of politics, Bean worked in sales and management for high-tech companies, including a Motorola unit, Nortel and Arrow Electronics. She later started her own consulting firm to the tech industry, advising clients that included Anixter, Intel and Microsoft. She was elected to Congress in 2004.

Bean replaces Kaarina Koskenalusta, who resigned from the business forum last October after 25 years at the helm. Get the full story »

Chrysler CEO receives no salary for 2010

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Chrysler Group LLC, did not receive a cash salary from Chrysler in 2010, the automaker managed by Fiat SpA revealed on Friday in a detailed filing with U.S. regulators.

Marchionne, who is also CEO of Italy’s Fiat, did receive a $600,000 stock grant for his services as a director on the company’s board from June 2009 until June 2010. Get the full story »

Steve Jobs to attend meeting with Obama

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs will attend a meeting in California on Thursday with U.S. President Barack Obama, a source familiar with the meeting said. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt, Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt will also attend the meeting, the source told Reuters. Get the full story »

Lawsuit questions value of Playboy Mansion

So how much is Hugh Hefner’s iconic Playboy Mansion really worth?

The issue has arisen in a lawsuit accusing the 84-year-old media mogul of trying to take Playboy Enterprises Inc, the publisher known for nude centerfolds, private in a sweetheart deal at other shareholders’ expense.

In an amended complaint filed February 4 in Delaware Chancery Court, shareholders complained that an October 2010 appraisal valued the 29-room Los Angeles mansion at $54 million, 45 times higher than the $1.2 million shown on Playboy’s books. Get the full story »

Moody’s gives Playboy corporate debt a B2 rating

The corporate debt rating for Playboy Enterprises Inc. was set Friday at “B2″, a speculative or junk rating, by Moody’s Investors Service.

The same rating was placed on $195 million worth of senior secured credit facilities. A “B3″ probability of default rating was issued.

The ratings were established in connection with the buyout of the Chicago company by a partnership headed by founder Hugh Hefner. Get the full story »

Allstate rates rise; patience with execs runs thin

Allstate CEO Tom Wilson in 2008. (Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune)

The average homeowners’ premium for Allstate Corp. customers rose by 7.1 percent in 2010, and Chief Executive Tom Wilson said Thursday that “you should expect to see it go up” in 2011 as well.

Wilson made the remark during an hour-long conference call with analysts and investors. He discussed the Northbrook-based auto and home insurer’s fourth-quarter results, which fell short of expectations. On a day when the wider markets were basically flat, Allstate stock closed down 3.6 percent to $31.20 a share, making it the day’s worst local stock performer.

Some analysts are becoming increasingly frustrated with Allstate’s management. Get the full story »

Exelon CEO’s pay rises 14%

Exelon CEO John Rowe saw his total compensation for 2010 rise 14 percent to $7.2 million, according to documents filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, an increase largely tied to a change in the theoretical value of his pension.

Rowe had the opportunity to earn stock performance awards worth $1.1 million — compensation that is directly tied to the performance of Exelon stock. But the company’s shares performed in the negative direction in 2010 and Rowe received no equity for performance.

At the same time, stock options worth $1.15 million were underwater at the end of 2010. Get the full story »

Sara Lee announces plans to split in 2; stock drops

Sara Lee desserts in a grocer's freezer. (AP)

Downers Grove-based food maker Sara Lee announced Friday that it will divide itself two publicly-traded companies. The plan, which has been approved by Sara Lee’s board, divides the company into North American and European divisions. One company will focus on North American grocery and supplying products to the restaurant industry, and the other on European coffee, tea and bread.

In a call with investors, Marcel Smits, the company’s newly-appointed CEO, acknowledged that Sara Lee had received “unsolicited interest” in buying the company. He said that after a rigorous review, the company’s board determined that splitting the company was in shareholders’ best interest, adding that the individual companies are likely to do better on their own.

Sara Lee will issue a $3 special dividend to shareholders as part of the split. Get the full story »

Baxter profit falls 26% amid turnaround, quality issues

Baxter International Inc.’s stock lost nearly 4 percent of its value today after the company said fourth-quarter profits fell 26 percent as the company works its way through a turnaround plan and escalating product quality issues.

The Deerfield-based medical product giant’s earnings were negatively impacted by $227 million in charges. The biggest cost was a $164 million charge for what it called a “business optimization” initiative, which included paying severances, shutting down certain product lines and executing an undisclosed number of job cuts. Get the full story »

Nearly 1,100 apply for 50 open jobs in Joliet

Nearly 1,100 people turned out to apply for the 50 full-time jobs available at a Joliet distribution center. The jobs with Central Grocers drew long lines of applicants interested in the positions, which are union jobs and pay benefits. Get the full story »

Obama austerity drive gets mixed CEO reaction

Business leaders in Davos gave a mixed reaction on Wednesday to the austerity steps proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama in his State of the Union speech, with some questioning whether they go far enough.

In a speech on Tuesday outlining a more bipartisan political agenda, Obama offered corporate tax cuts and a five-year partial federal spending freeze that he said would cut $400 billion from budget deficits over a decade. Get the full story »