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Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

Latest Boeing layoffs affect 140 locally

SEATTLE — Boeing issued 60-day layoff warning notices to 255 workers last week as it hires contractors for jobs that used to be handled by its own employees.

Approximately 140 of the layoff notices went to Boeing workers in the Puget Sound area, according to Bob Jorgensen, a Boeing spokesman.

Boeing is turning to Chicago-based Oce USA to take over much of its printing needs, which had been handled by employees in Boeing's Shared Services Group. Shared Services, based in Bellevue, manages communications, travel, security and other companywide needs for the aerospace giant.

The layoffs will take effect in mid-October.

The cuts are separate from Boeing's plans to slash up to 10,000 jobs this year, mostly from its Renton-based commercial-airplane division. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Boeing has cut nearly 35,000 positions throughout the country.

Taiwan denies report on Boeing order

Taiwan's transport ministry denied asking state-controlled China Airlines to review an order for 10 Boeing 747s after the aircraft maker canceled a plant visit for Taiwan's vice president.

Vice President Annette Lu said Monday that Boeing bowed to political pressure from China by canceling the trip to the Seattle plant. China views Taiwan as a renegade province.

China Airlines should object to Boeing about the canceled trip, Minister of Transportation Lin Ling- san said yesterday, according to a ministry spokesman who declined to be identified. Lin didn't say China Airlines should consider canceling its December order for 10 747-400s, as reported in some Taiwan newspapers, the spokesman said.

"The main deterrent to a cancellation is that Taiwan is a client state of the U.S.," said Jim Eckes, managing director of Indoswiss Aviation in New York. "And China Airlines probably put down payments of between 15 percent and 30 percent for the planes. If they cancel, Boeing will keep that money."

South America gets its first Starbucks

LIMA, Peru — Starbucks began its push into South America yesterday with a store in Peru. The Seattle-based coffee chain, with about 6,700 stores worldwide, is also due to open its doors in Santiago, Chile, this week.

Institute appoints trustee, panelist

SEATTLE — Pacific Northwest Research Institute, a Seattle nonprofit research center, said it has named Gene Williams to its board of trustees and Juanita Garrison to its development committee, a group of volunteers working to strengthen its cancer and diabetes research.

Williams was president of Seattle Life Underwriters.

Garrison is the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Warren Magnuson, who helped establish the University of Washington's health-sciences center, and who died of diabetes. Garrison helped establish the Warren G. Magnuson Diabetic Research Fellowship.

Speakeasy names new chief executive

SEATTLE — Broadband provider Speakeasy has hired Bruce Chatterley as its president and chief executive starting Sept. 2. Speakeasy's founder and chief executive, Mike Apgar, will move to the position of lead strategist and will remain chairman, the Seattle company said.

Chatterley was most recently chief executive of ViAir, a Seattle developer of mobile-messaging software, which merged with Visto earlier this year.

Nation / World

FDA approves Glaxo-Bayer impotence pill

WASHINGTON — GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer won Food and Drug Administration approval for their Levitra impotence treatment, FDA spokeswoman Laura Bradbard said.

The companies estimate that annual sales of Levitra, the first U.S. competitor for Pfizer's $1.7 billion-a-year Viagra drug, will reach $1.1 billion.

A third impotence pill — Cialis, from Eli Lilly and Bothell-based Icos — is expected to win FDA approval later this year.

Magic Johnson sells stake in restaurants

PRINCETON, N.J. — Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the retired professional basketball player, and his partners sold their majority stake in Fatburger Holdings to an investment group led by the restaurant chain's chief executive officer. Terms weren't disclosed.

California-based Fatburger operates or franchises 51 1950s-style gourmet-hamburger restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington. It has restaurants in Issaquah and Redmond.

A difference in opinion regarding the direction of Fatburger led to the sale, Johnson said.

Fatburger plans to open 124 more restaurants across the U.S., said Portland investment group Fog Cutter, which has completed a $6 million investment and financing package for Fatburger.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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