February 26, 2010

Briefcase

— Ex-newspaper editor to lead the Bangor Region Chamber

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Staff Photo by John Ewing, Tuesday, April 13, 2004: Editorial Page editor John Porter.....for column sig.

The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that it has hired a South Portland man as president and chief executive officer.

John Porter is the former editorial page editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He left the newspapers in June when they were sold to MaineToday Media.

He starts his new position Jan. 25, according to a news release. The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce has nearly 800 members in its service area of 21 communities.

''John possesses the key attributes that the board wanted in its new president,'' said John Diamond, chair of the chamber's board of directors.

''He understands and has been a high-profile advocate for business and economic development and for collaborative efforts to advance those mutually dependent interests. He has been a strong and effective leader and manager of people and budgets.

''He knows Maine, and he recognizes the great potential of both our region and our organization.''

Porter joined the Portland papers in 1990 as a business reporter. In 1997 he became a columnist and editorial writer, and in 1999 he was named editorial page editor.

On leaving the paper, he founded John Porter Public Strategies, a communications and government relations consulting firm. According to the press release, he, his wife and two children will be relocating to the Bangor area.

Macy's decides to shutter five underperforming stores

Department store giant Macy's Inc. said Tuesday that it would shut five underperforming stores this year.

The affected stores are in Boise, Idaho; Waterford, Mich.; St. Ann, Mo.; Missoula, Mont.; and Burlington, N.J.

The closures will leave Macy's with 809 namesake locations, including a store at the Maine Mall in South Portland, and 40 Bloomingdale's stores.

The closures will affect more than 300 employees. They will be offered jobs in nearby stores where possible, the Cincinnati chain said.

Macy's lost $35 million for the three months ending Oct. 31, even after slashing 7,000 jobs and closing 11 underperforming stores last year.

Kraft's largest shareholder fights purchase of Cadbury

Kraft Foods Inc.'s hostile bid for Cadbury PLC grew more contentious Tuesday, as Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway sternly warned against the deal, even as Kraft sweetened its offer.

Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft plans to sell its North American frozen pizza business, whose brands include Tombstone and DiGiorno, to Nestle SA for $3.7 billion. It plans to use the proceeds to raise the cash share of its bid for British candy maker Cadbury.

Berkshire Hathaway, Kraft's largest shareholder, said later Tuesday that it voted against Kraft's proposal to issue shares to finance part of the $16.5 billion bid, saying it was worried it gave Kraft a ''blank check'' to raise the bid even higher. Buffett previously has said Kraft's prior offers were adequate for Cadbury.

Kraft has until Jan. 19 to further raise its bid.

Lawyer accused of scheme to plead guilty, attorney says

Disbarred South Florida lawyer Scott Rothstein is negotiating a guilty plea with federal prosecutors on charges of orchestrating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme using faked legal settlements, his attorney says.

''I can tell you that there will be a change of plea to guilty,'' attorney Marc Nurik said Tuesday. ''We don't have any finalization on the details at this point.'' Nurik said he will ask a federal judge today to set a date for the change-of-plea hearing.

Rothstein, 47, pleaded not guilty in December to a five-count indictment accusing him of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud in a scheme that ran from 2005 to 2009. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison, but people who plead guilty typically get a lesser punishment.

-- From staff and news services

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