LeHere leaves incubator
The City of Akron announced Friday that Michael LeHere will step down as chief executive officer of the downtown business incubator on Dec. 31 after 29 years.
The city noted that the organization has grown in 2012 to house 50 technology companies that generated $46 million in revenues, attracted more than $35 million in outside investment and created 140 new jobs.
LeHere began working for the city in May 1983. The Akron Global Business Accelerator was first known as the Akron Industrial Incubator, located in the former O’Conner Steel Warehouse building on Lincoln Street. LeHere then took the program through moves to the former O’Neil’s retail building and to its current location in Canal Place, the former B.F. Goodrich factory complex on South Main.
The city said the program has had three expansions since moving to Canal Place in 1996.
LeHere will be succeeded by Dr. Anthony Margida, the city said.
Margida has 28 years’ experience in developing and commercializing new technologies, working with new companies in specialty chemical, advanced material, IT and medical device industries. He has been director of Entrepreneurial Services for the Akron Global Business Accelerator and had associated roles since 2007.
Firestone stays with Indy
Firestone will remain the sole tire supplier for IndyCar through the 2018 season.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC and IndyCar announced the decision Friday. Former series CEO Randy Bernard had discussions with Continental Tire of Germany about signing on as a series title sponsor and tire supplier, but drivers were unanimously opposed to a move away from Firestone.
Firestone has supplied tires to IndyCar since the series began in 1996. Firestone is expected to increase its investments in the series, though details were not disclosed.
The expanded agreement begins in 2014 and includes tires and technical support, investments in advertising, promotions, race title sponsorships and other programs. Title sponsorship and tire status for the Indy Lights series will run through 2013.
ConAgra beats estimates
ConAgra Foods Inc., the maker of Chef Boyardee and Healthy Choice meals, reported second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by its consumer foods business. Net income increased 17 percent to $211.6 million, or 51 cents a share, from $180.2 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said. Excluding some items, profit was 57 cents a share. The average of 13 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 55 cents.
Chief Executive Officer Gary Rodkin last month announced the acquisition of Ralcorp Holdings Inc., the maker of private-brand foods, for $5 billion. The deal will more than quadruple ConAgra’s private-label sales to $4.5 billion, creating a company with total sales of about $18 billion. Second-quarter revenue increased 8.9 percent to $3.74 billion. Analysts projected $3.7 billion, on average. The consumer foods unit, ConAgra’s largest, posted sales of $2.4 billion, an increase of 11 percent.
Hood problem at GM
General Motors is recalling nearly 119,000 pickup trucks in the U.S. because the hoods can fly open unexpectedly and block the driver’s vision.
The recall affects Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks from the 2010 through 2012 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says some of the trucks might not have a secondary hood latch. If the main latch isn’t fastened, the hood could open. GM found the problem after getting two complaints. Owners may check hoods for the secondary latch or take it to a dealer. If there’s no secondary latch, GM will replace the hoods free.
Hostess works on deals
Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Devil Dogs are likely to return to shelves in the coming months, but probably not under the same owners. Hostess Brands Inc. said in bankruptcy court Friday that it’s narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expects to sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyers. The testimony came from an investment banker for Hostess, which is in the process of liquidating.
A likely suitor has emerged for the namesake Hostess brand, which includes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, along with Dolly Madison cakes, which includes Coffee Cakes and Zingers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners. He said another viable bid was made for Drake’s cakes. That bidder also wants to buy the Drake’s plant in Wayne, N.J., which Scherer said is the country’s only kosher bakery plant.
Compiled from staff and wire reports