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Company News: Home Depot CEO quits suddenly

Dogged by criticism of his hefty pay and his company’s poor stock performance, Bob Nardelli abruptly resigned as chairman and chief executive of The Home Depot Inc. after six years at the helm of the world’s largest home improvement store chain, the company said Wednesday.

But he didn’t leave empty-handed: the Atlanta-based company said Nardelli would receive a severance package worth roughly $210 million, an amount decried by some lawmakers as a golden parachute that sends the wrong message to investors.

Home Depot said Nardelli was being replaced by Frank Blake, its vice chairman, effective immediately.

“Three major electronics makers have been accused of violating patented work from the University of Washington with their use of the Bluetooth wireless technology found in millions of computers, cell phones and headsets.

Japan’s Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and Finland’s Nokia Corp. were accused of illegally incorporating unlicensed Bluetooth chip sets in a variety of products. The federal lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and an injunction barring the companies from selling those products.

Matsushita, known globally for its Panasonic brand products, and Samsung produce a wide range of electronics products, while Nokia is the world’s largest manufacturer of cellular telephones. Bluetooth, whose products feature a distinctive, blinking blue light, enables wireless exchanges of data between cell phones, computers, headsets and other devices.

Wal-Mart workers in Pennsylvania who won a $78.5 million judgment for working off the clock and through rest breaks returned to court Wednesday to seek another $62 million in damages.

They argue that the approximately 125,000 class members deserve an additional $500 each in damages under Pennsylvania labor laws because the jury found Wal-Mart acted in bad faith. The plaintiffs already are expected to receive from about $50 to a few thousand dollars each, depending on how long they worked for the company.

Lawyers for Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, say the class members do not meet the state statute’s requirements for so-called liquidated damages, which are designed to compensate people for the delay in payment.


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