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Business news briefs — Jan. 9


New Goodyear director

Goodyear’s newest director is ­Michael J. Morell, retired deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a Cuyahoga Falls native. The Akron tire maker on Thursday announced that Morell has become the 13th member of its board of directors.

Morell, 55, was CIA deputy director from May 2010 to August 2013; he was a career officer who joined the CIA in 1980 and whose senior leadership positions included serving twice as acting CIA director. He also was deputy director at the National Counterterrorism Center.

Morell is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a counselor at Beacon Global Strategies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University.

Investment in Arhaus

Freeman Spogli & Co., a private equity investment firm with offices in Los Angeles and New York, has made a minority investment in furniture retailer Arhaus LLC. Terms were not disclosed. Arhaus, currently headquartered in Walton Hills, recently announced plans to break ground in late spring or early summer on a new headquarters and distribution center at the site of the former Boston Mills Country Club in Boston Heights.

Arhaus, founded in 1986 by CEO John Reed and his father, Jack Reed, operates 46 stores in 18 states. Freeman Spogli says it manages three investment funds totaling $2.7 billion in “committed capital.” It says it has investments in 13 companies, including the FirstWatch restaurant chain, appliance retailer hhgregg and kitchen and dinnerware store Sur La Table, with total sales of more that $8 billion.


Trucking suit settled

A Nashville trucking firm has settled its lawsuit over rebate fraud by the Pilot Flying J truck stop company owned by the family of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Western Express has withdrawn its lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court in Louisiana that alleged the company had lost more than $75 million over rebates withheld by Pilot, including $68 million in expenses related to additional debt obligations it was forced to take on.

Paul Wieck, the president of Western Express, told the newspaper Thursday that the lawsuit had been settled, but declined to disclose terms of the deal. Western Express was among several companies that declined to participate in Pilot’s $85 million class-action settlement with 5,500 customers in November.


Interest rates hold

Average interest rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan edged up to 3.56 percent from 3.55 percent. Mortgage rates have risen more than a full percentage point since hitting record lows a year ago. The increase was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. The rise in mortgage rates has slowed home sales, which have fallen for three straight months.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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