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The Business Matrix: Friday 15 April 2011

Next boss takes home £1.76m

Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, pocketed a £1m bonus for delivering profits of £551m last year. Some £345,000 of the £1.03m payout is in the form of shares, deferred for two years. His total package, including pay of £689,000, came in at £1.76m.

Murray named as Glencore chairman

Simon Murray, the Hong Kong-based businessman, was yesterday named as the new chairman of Glencore, the Swiss commodities trader that has just unveiled details of one of the largest initial public offerings on the London Stock Exchange. MORE

Mothercare shops for Asda executive

The maternity wear retailer Mothercare has hired a former Asda executive to run its UK business. Mike Logue – who was the grocer's commercial director for home and leisure – will join as UK director for Mothercare and Early Learning Centre.

Music Magpie picks up Leighton

Allan Leighton, the former head of Asda and the Royal Mail, has become the non-executive chairman of Entertainment Magpie. His hiring came as private equity firm LDC said it had invested a “significant” sum in the retailer of preplayed CDs, DVDs and games.

World Bank warns of food price crisis

The spiralling cost of staple foods is driving the world’s poorest areas into “the danger zone”, the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, said yesterday. Since last June 44 million more people have slipped into poverty, mainly because of rocketing food costs, he warned; this figure is 36 per cent higher than a year ago.

325 more jobs to go at Lloyds

Lloyds Bank is cutting 325 jobs as part of the “on-going integration programme” with HBOS. The move outraged trade unions, with Unite calling the latest round of cuts, which took the number of job losses to 22,000, “staggering”.

Reckitt to lose its £92m boss

Reckitt Benckiser, the household goods company, is to part company with its chief executive, Bart Becht, who plans to retire. Mr Becht has been at the helm of the company for 16 years and made headlines around the world in 2009 when he took home a pay packet worth £92m. He will be replaced by Rakesh Kapoor, who has been at the company for 24 years and widely tipped as Mr Becht’s successor. MORE

Zipcar raises $173m on Nasdaq

Zipcar, the hire-car service for city dwellers, listed its shares on Nasdaq yesterday, surging 66 per cent within minutes. The 10-year-old company, which bought its UK copycat Streetcar last year, raised $173.4m after pricing its shares above the range. Zipcars are found on the streets of 14 cities and 230 college campuses in the US, Canada and Britain. The company claims its model is more efficient than car rental.

Fear of Greek default mounts

The cost of insuring against a default on Greek government debt rose to a record high yesterday, amid mounting fears that sooner or later the country will have to negotiate a restructuring of its borrowing arrangements. Savage austerity measures in the country have seen economic performance tumble, with Greece in danger of failing to generate sufficient tax revenue to meet repayments.

Prudential wins pension legal case

Insurer Prudential has won a court case over payments into its pension plan, in a ruling which averts a bill for millions of pounds and could tip the balance in such cases in favour of companies over pension funds. Members of its pension scheme had wanted Pru to be required to make pension increases that had previously been considered discretionary, but lost their battle yesterday.

MPs to probe end of the cheque

The Treasury Select Committee is to reopen its inquiry into the future of cheques, due to continuing public concern over plans to abolish them by 2018. The committee, which held an inquiry into the issue last year, said it was unconvinced by the banking industry’s argument that cheques were “in terminal decline”.

OFT to launch warranty inquiry

The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into the £750m market for extended warranties following concerns that consumers are not getting a good deal. The OFT said it wanted to carry out the market study into extended warranties because it was concerned there was a lack of competition in the market.

Sony Japan plans two-week closure

Sony is considering having all its staff in Japan take two-week summer holidays to save energy, amid power shortages in the aftermath of the earthquake last month. By shutting down offices, air conditioners, elevators, and other facilities, the electronics giant believes it could save up to 25 per cent of the power it normally consumes.

Dixons Retail to pull out of Spain

Dixons Retail, Europe’s second biggest electrical goods retailer, is closing its 34 loss-making stores in Spain, eliminating around 1,200 jobs. The retailer, which said last month it was looking at exiting Spain as it issued a profits warning, said weak trading meant it had no choice but to close its PC City stores in the country.

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