10:37am

Thu February 24, 2011
Morning news round-up: business

Obama taps Kodak chief for jobs council

The Democrat and Chronicle is reporting that Kodak CEO Antonio Perez has been tapped to join the president's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  He's joining GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt who became chair of the panel back in January, and Xerox's Ursula Burns, who serves in an ex-officio capacity:

Obama has charged the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness with advising the White House on ways of promoting economic growth, encouraging hiring in the private sector and training workers to give them the skills they need.

Among those named Wednesday along with Perez were executives from American Express, Southwest Airlines, Procter & Gamble, Intel, Facebook and the AFL-CIO.

Obama is scheduled to meet with the council today and ask its members how the government can change its tax, trade and regulatory policies to improve the business environment.

HSBC
James Fink at Buffalo Business First reports that HSBC is narrowing in on a new headquarters in downtown Buffalo:

Real-estate sources say that HSBC has retained Wright Heerma Architects of Chicago to design the three options, which range from a six-story, 310,000-square-foot building to a 10-story, 407,000-square-foot building. Price tags range between $89 million to $109 million.

Each of the buildings would be connected to the HSBC Atrium via an elevated walkway over Washington Street.

But also on the table is staying at One HSBC Center, according to Fink.

Lockheed Martin
My-Ly Nguyen at the Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that Lockheed Martin has hit a milestone in its Navy helicopter program - it's delivered 300 "common cockpit avionics suites:"

The common cockpit underwent one of the most demanding certification processes at Naval Air Systems Command and is now "the standard by which all cockpits are judged," said Capt. Dean Peters, NAVAIR program manager for H-60 multimission helicopters.

Four large, flat-panel, multifunction, night-vision compatible, color display screens provide the aircrew with instant information on everything from weather to weapons to sensors, reducing workload and increasing situational awareness, Lockheed said.

Designed and developed by Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, the common cockpit avionics suite has flown more than 334,000 flight hours in the MH-60S and more than 39,000 hours aboard the MH-60R, the company said.

New Process Gear
The parent company of New Process Gear (which is in the process of closing its Syracuse area plant) is reporting a 39 percent increase in sales in 2010 over the previous year for Magna International.  Charley Hannagan at the Post-Standard reports:

Magna reported earnings of $4.18 per diluted share in 2010, compared with a $2.21 per share loss in the previous year.

The fourth quarter also performed well with $6.6 billion in sales, a 22 percent increase from the $5.4 billion in sales reported in the year-ago quarter.

Moog
A key leader for Moog's China operations spoke at Buffalo's World Trade Center luncheon yesterday, reports Matt Glynn at the Buffalo News.  Paul Elwell told the crowd that one of his key challenges was recruiting workers - and keeping them:

"There's a severe shortage from the Chinese universities in providing what they call globally competent managers," Elwell said. "There was not going to be enough coming out of the university system to satisfy the demand of all the companies trying to import their opportunities and their management structure into China."

Even "gentlemen's agreements" between companies not to steal each other's employees didn't seem to work, Elwell said. And the in-demand employees knew they could get huge pay hikes from their new employers.

While Moog is familiar here, it didn't have name recognition in Shanghai like 3M or General Motors, which were recruiting the same talent, Elwell said. Moog put together employee-retention programs that he said proved effective. "We had a very low turnover rate compared to our peers."

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