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Business news briefs — Dec. 12

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LOCAL BUSINESS

RJF names chief executive

RJF International Corp., the Fairlawn-headquartered wall-covering manufacturer, has promoted Richard Runkel to chief executive officer. He replaces John Baechle, who will remain chairman of the board of directors.

Runkel began his career with RJF, fashioned from a division of the old B.F. Goodrich Co., in 1992. He became vice president of interior products at RJF in October 2007 and president and chief operating officer of the company in January 2009.

Runkel, along with RJF managers, is credited with the creation of the Koro­seal Architectural Products division and reorganizing the internal operations of the Interior Products Group. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a MBA from the University of Phoenix.

RJF International was formed by the late Richard Fasenmyer, who purchased the former fabricated polymers division of his longtime employer B.F. Goodrich in the late 1980s and renamed it RJF International.

RJF has about 775 employees, including 130 employees in Fairlawn.

MEDIA

Instagram adds new feature

Instagram has added a new feature that lets users share photos and videos with up to 15 people rather than everyone who follows them on the popular Facebook-owned photo-sharing app.

Called Instagram Direct, the feature is available for Apple and Android phones, CEO Kevin Systrom said. Users can choose up to 15 people who follow them on Instagram to share photos or videos. Previously, the only way to share content on Instagram was to post it to your feed, which can be either visible to everyone or locked so only people you approve can see it. The new tool comes as popularity of messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp is growing. On Tuesday, Twitter also updated its direct messaging tool to let users send photos and videos to one another for the first time.

REAL ESTATE

U.S. rates drop slightly

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages eased slightly this week, remaining near historically low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan declined to 4.42 percent from 4.46 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan dipped to 3.43 percent from 3.47 percent. Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August and have stabilized since September,

AUTO INDUSTRY

Ford outlines plans for 2014

Ford Motor Co. says 2014 will be its busiest year ever, with 23 new vehicles being introduced around the world. The company will support that growth with 5,000 new hires in the U.S. and 6,000 new jobs in Asia, where it’s opening two new plants. A new F-150 pickup and Mustang sports car are among the vehicles coming next year. Of the 23 new vehicles, 16 will be sold in the United States.

ECONOMY

Retail sales rise in November

Retail sales rose more than expected in November as purchases of cars surged and early holiday-season shoppers took advantage of Black Friday deals to load up on electronics and other goods. Clothing sales, however, suffered. The Department of Commerce said retail sales last month totaled $432.3 billion, up 0.7 percent from October and up 4.7 percent from November 2012. Several forecasts had called for a 0.6 percent month-to-month increase.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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