In brief: Speakers criticize McDonald’s, menu

FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2013

NEW YORK – McDonald’s once again faced criticism that it’s a purveyor of junk food that markets to children at its annual shareholder meeting Thursday – including some sharp remarks from a 9-year-old girl.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain has been looking to keep up with changing tastes as people increasingly opt for foods they feel are fresh or healthy. Customers can now order egg whites in its breakfast sandwiches, for example.

But on Thursday, McDonald’s was taken to task by speakers associated with an advocacy group about its menu and advertising toward kids. As with other shareholder meetings where critics are given the rare chance to face executives, McDonald’s Corp. allotted about a half-hour for attendees to ask CEO Don Thompson questions.

Among those was a 9-year-old girl who asked Thompson to stop “tricking kids into eating your food.”

P&G replacing chief with former CEO

CINCINNATI – Procter & Gamble says it is replacing CEO Bob McDonald with former CEO A.G. Lafley, effective immediately.

Lafley, 65, served as CEO at the world’s largest consumer goods maker from 2000 to 2009. He will also take the chairman title.

McDonald, who has worked for P&G for 33 years, and became CEO after Lafley retired, will retire on June 30.

Under McDonald, Cincinnati-based P&G, which makes products ranging from Tide detergent to Swiffer sweepers, had some stumbles. Those included pricing missteps and expanding too rapidly in some emerging markets, leading to lower revenue growth than shareholders expected.

In P&G’s most recent quarter, net income rose 6 percent as the company cut costs, but fourth-quarter guidance was below expectations.

ECB chief: New agency to fix banks ‘imperative’

FRANKFURT, Germany – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said it was “imperative” that Europe’s leaders create a new agency with powers to restructure busted banks in order to help the region leave its economic and financial crisis behind it once and for all.

In the text of a speech to be delivered in London Thursday, Draghi said the new agency would keep troubled banks from burdening governments through bailout costs – thereby cutting the vicious link that has helped drive Europe’s three-year crisis over too much debt.

The agency, dubbed the single resolution mechanism, would be able to force banks, creditors and shareholders to take losses first when a bank goes under – instead of getting the money from taxpayers. European leaders have made a start on strengthening their banking system by agreeing to put the ECB in charge of supervising banks. But they have not yet agreed on how to proceed with the resolution mechanism.

Clothing company Rue21 agrees to go private

NEW YORK – Clothing and accessories company Rue21 has agreed to be taken private in a nearly $1 billion deal with private equity firm Apax Partners.

Shares hit an all-time high Thursday.

Apax will pay $42 per share, a 23 percent premium to Rue21 Inc.’s Wednesday closing price of $34.12. The companies put the deal’s total value at $1.1 billion.

Rue21 has about 23.7 million outstanding shares, according to FactSet.

Rue21’s board approved the transaction based on a unanimous recommendation by a special committee made up of three independent directors.


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