Board of directors refuses advice to take a pay cut

Tufts Health Plan’s board of directors will not follow the advice of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to stop taking five-figure annual payments at a time of surging health care costs.

The nonprofit insurer said earlier this month that its directors would again review the issue after Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts suspended payments to its board, at least through this year, as it considers changing its legal structure.

Spokeswoman Patti Embry-Tautenhan said Wednesday that Tufts’ board elected to continue the practice because, “unlike the directors of other nonprofits, they are subject to distinct regulatory considerations.”

Tufts says compensation for time, commitment and skill of top talent would encourage directors who could bolster its efforts to provide better services.

 

Zipcar, investors to sell 8 million shares in IPO

Car-sharing service Zipcar Inc. and some of its investors will sell 8.33 million shares of stock for $14 to $16 each in an initial public offering.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based service that’s popular in large cities and on college campuses said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it would sell roughly 6.67 million shares, while investors would sell about 1.67 million more.

 

Rolls-Royce whistleblower suit adds second worker

A second person has joined a lawsuit alleging Rolls-Royce Corp. concealed repeated defects at an Indianapolis aircraft engine plant and fired workers for reporting problems.

Lawyers representing the workers say in a release they filed an amended whistleblower complaint Wednesday in Indianapolis federal court. A former senior quality engineer named Keith Ramsey joined quality manager Thomas McArtor in the suit unsealed by a judge in December.

The suit says the company used parts with defects in engines and concealed defects. It also alleges the company bypassed critical safety tests to save money and speed engine production.

Law firm Loevy & Loevy says two helicopter makers have widened probes of Rolls-Royce’s manufacturing practices after two engines failed and caused crashes.

 

Berkline furniture closing, more than 550 jobs lost

Furniture manufacturer Berkline is closing, liquidating its assets and eliminating more than 550 jobs in Morristown, Tenn., the company announced Wednesday.

Berkline BenchCraft LLC said it was a victim of the Great Recession. The company opened a plant in the city in 1938 and moved all manufacturing from its original Springfield, Mass., factory in 1941.

 

Mortgage applications down as interest rates rise

Mortgage applications fell last week by the most since the period ended Feb. 11 as higher interest rates discouraged home buying and refinancing.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of loan applications decreased 7.5 percent in the week ended Friday. The group’s refinancing measure dropped by 10 percent, while the gauge of purchases fell 1.7 percent.

 

Traffic slump leads airline to stop some Japan flights

American Airlines is suspending two of its six daily flights to Japan next week due to a slump in traffic since the big earthquake and tsunami.

The move by AMR Corp.’s American Airlines follows Delta Air Lines Inc.’s decision last week to suspend service to Haneda, although Delta continues flying to Narita.

 

Murdoch’s son continues to move up at News Corp.

James Murdoch has moved one step closer to the top spot at News Corp., the media giant run by his father, Rupert Murdoch.

News Corp. on Wednesday named the younger Murdoch deputy chief operating officer of the company and chairman and chief executive of its international operations. He will continue to report to Chase Carey, News Corp.’s deputy chairman and president.

As part of his new duties, Murdoch will relocate from the company’s U.K. offices to its New York headquarters to be closer to his father and Carey.

 

CEO takes big cut in pay as Bank of America falters

Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America Corp., received compensation valued at $1.25 million in 2010, a drop of 79 percent from 2009, according to an Associated Press analysis of regulatory filings.

It was Moynihan’s first year at the helm. Bank of America reported a loss of $3.6 billion for 2010.

Moynihan received a salary of $950,000, and no stock or cash bonus for 2010.

His 2009 compensation totaled $6.06 million and included a $5.2 million stock bonus.