News Archive


Oil prices fall more than $1 as supply threat eases


SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell more than $1 on Friday after sharp gains the session before, as worries of a disruption to crude supplies due to Saudi Arabia-led air strikes in Yemen eased.

Goldman Sachs said in note that the strikes in Yemen would have little effect on oil supplies as the country was only a small crude exporter and tankers could avoid passing its waters to reach their ports of destination.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 95 cents at $58.24 a barrel at 0636 GMT, after touching $58.17 earlier in the session. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 98 cents at $50.45 a barrel, after dropping to a low of $50.25 earlier in the day.

While oil prices have fallen, they could end higher than at the start of this week.

Oil jumped around 5 percent on Thursday, the biggest daily gain in a month, as air strikes in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies sparked fears that escalation of the Middle East battle could disrupt world crude supplies.

The rally had been driven by worries over the possible impact on the Bab el-Mandeb strait, the closure of which could affect 3.8 million barrels a day of crude and product flows.

Yemen is a small producer, with an output of around 145,000 barrels per day in 2014.

“Now the market is questioning how sustainable the (impact of the) geopolitical event is on oil prices,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney’s Ayers Alliance.

If the fighting becomes a regional conflict involving Islamic militants, then prices could climb, but a blockade of the Bab el-Mandeb strait – a chokepoint for shipping between the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden – seems unlikely, he said.

In case of a closure of the strait, tankers could be diverted to travel a longer route around Africa instead of passing Yemen, analysts said.

Analysts also said that the less than 40-km-wide strait between Yemen and Djibouti was heavily militarized by the West, with the United States and France both operating bases in Djibouti and NATO and other allies having a fleet presence in the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy.

A bigger impact from the Middle East on oil prices might come from a potential nuclear deal with Iran, which could result in a loosening of western sanctions against Tehran and rising exports of its oil reserves, ANZ analysts said on Friday.

“With potentially 30 million barrels stored offshore, it (Iran) could quickly flood an already saturated oil market,” ANZ said.

Goldman and ANZ both noted that any nuclear deal with Iran was unlikely to lead to higher Iranian oil exports before the second half of the year.

“However Brent oil would likely lose its recent risk premium and fall back to the mid-50s,” ANZ said.

(Additional reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Richard Pullin, Himani Sarkar and Joseph Radford)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/yvb1XRv5ZDM/story01.htm

South Korea sees gains for its infrastructure firms from joining AIIB


SEJONG, South Korea/SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea hopes its infrastructure companies will benefit from the country joining the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the finance ministry said on Friday.

Shares in some South Korean iron and steel products makers rose sharply, partly on hopes for new orders when the AIIB is operational and funding infrastructure projects, which is likely next year. Histeel Co (071090.KS) rose 14.8 percent and Hanil Iron Steel (002220.KS) was up about 6 percent by the afternoon.

“(The government) expects our companies to win many orders in areas such as communications, energy and transportation, where they have strength,” Song In-chang, head of the finance ministry’s international finance bureau, told reporters.

Seoul announced on Thursday it would seek to join the AIIB as a founding member, the latest U.S. ally to do so despite Washington’s misgivings. China is South Korea’s biggest trading partner and the two countries are set to sign a free trade agreement in the first half of this year.

China has set March 31 as the deadline for joining the bank as a founder member, which will be capitalized at an initial $50 billion to provide project loans to developing nations.

China’s finance ministry said on Friday that Luxembourg has been accepted as a founding member, taking the number to 28. According to Seoul, applications from six countries are pending – Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and South Korea.

The AIIB has been seen as a significant and possibly historic setback to U.S. efforts to extend its influence in the Asia-Pacific region to balance China’s growing financial clout and assertiveness.

The major absentees in the region from the bank are Australia and Japan. Australia has said it is close to joining, but Japan remains cautious.

“What is important is not the date but whether we can see what we have been asking (China) guaranteed,” Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Friday.

Aso reiterated Japan’s concerns relating to fair governance at the AIIB, establishment of the board of directors, debt sustainability and respect for social and environmental issues.

“Unless (China) clarifies these matters, which are not clear at all, Japan remains cautious,” he said.

Song at the South Korean finance ministry said some of the concerns among prospective members had recently been resolved, such as giving the board of directors the power to decide on investment projects, instead of the management.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that China had proposed to forgo veto power at the AIIB to attract more countries to join the new bank.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has however dismissed the notion that Beijing sought – or gave up – veto power as an “impossible proposition”.

Taiwan has also expressed interest in joining the AIIB, but has not so far been invited. “We should not look on from the sides, we should be actively involved,” President Ma Ying-jeou said in an interview on Thursday with a local media group, according to the presidential office.

China considers Taiwan as a renegade province and has opposed its membership in international organizations if it confers any sovereignty on the island.

(Additional reporting by Yeawon Choi in SEOUL, J.R. Wu and Faith Hung in TAIPEI, Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and Tetsushi Kajimoto in TOKYO; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/HwIg5bYwflE/story01.htm

Asian stocks mixed as Mideast worries linger, oil eases


TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks were mixed on Friday and the dollar rebounded as rising tensions in the Middle East clouded the investment outlook.

Spreadbetters expected Britain’s FTSE .FTSE, Germany’s DAX .GDAXI and France’s CAC .FCHI to tip toe higher while the markets awaited fresh cues from the Middle East.

Crude oil prices were lower due to the dollar’s bounce and as investors reassessed the potential impact of the escalating conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and allies carried out air strikes on Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Thursday.

The euro was flat at $1.0883 EUR=, knocked off an overnight high of $1.1052 after the dollar got a boost from encouraging U.S. jobless claims and service sector data.

The dollar was flat at 119.22 yen JPY= after pulling back from a five-week trough of 118.33 struck overnight. The yen, as a safe-haven currency, tends to attracts bids at times of geopolitical tension.

Excluding the effect of last year’s sales tax increase, data released on Friday showed Japan’s core consumer price index was flat in February compared with a year ago. It was the first time it has not risen in nearly two years, and will be disappointing for a government that is seeking to end a long phase of deflation. The yen showed little reaction. ECONJP

U.S. crude CLc1 was down 2.1 percent at $50.33 a barrel after jumping 4.5 percent overnight because of the military action in Yemen.

The Saudi-led operation has not affected the oil facilities of major Gulf producers.

But fears the conflict could spread and disrupt Middle East shipments have propped up sagging oil prices.

The air strikes in Yemen and a potential nuclear deal with Iran that could lead to a loosening of sanctions against Tehran would have little near-term impact on oil supplies, Goldman Sachs (GS.N) said.

Among the region’s equities, indexes in Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand suffered light losses.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 handed back earlier gains and slid 1.3 percent. “Hedge funds and commodity trading advisors are seen taking profits and unwinding their options positions before the first quarter ends,” said a senior trader at a foreign brokerage in Tokyo.

Asia’s gainers included Australian, Chinese and Indonesian shares.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.1 percent after sliding 1 percent the previous day.

“The conflict in Yemen saw equities on the back foot in Asia yesterday and, should this escalate into a deeper regional conflict, then the risk-off trade is only likely to ramp up,” Stan Shamu, a market strategist at IG in Melbourne, said in a note to clients.

Stock markets slumped worldwide on Thursday because of the news from Yemen. Germany’s DAX .GDAXI, which hit a record high early last week, shed 1 percent.

Wall Street also closed lower but key indexes there trimmed much of their earlier losses thanks to robust U.S. data.

While keeping a close eye on developments in the Arabian Peninsula, the markets are also waiting for a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the session.

Yellen is scheduled to speak on monetary policy and her comments will be closely analyzed after the Fed’s dovish outlook last week bruised the dollar.

(Additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/OXo4-36liMg/story01.htm

U.S. biotech stocks may fall further as short interest rises


NEW YORK (Reuters) – A 4 percent decline in biotechnology stocks on Wednesday sent the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC to its largest one-day loss in nearly a year, and some investors are betting that the once-hot sector has further to fall.

Short interest has risen in a number of biotech names perceived as vulnerable to a selloff after a rally that has sent the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index .NBI up 42 percent over the last year even after this week’s declines.

Overall, a screen of about 1,650 mid-cap U.S. companies shows biotech stocks, on average, have a short interest ratio of about 11.6 percent, compared with the average mid-cap name’s 6.4 percent in short interest, according to Starmine, a Thomson Reuters company. This suggests a greater number of bets on these stocks falling than the rest of the market.

That is occurring as other fund managers boost their bets on the high-flying names. Fund managers now have an average of 4.1 percent of their portfolios in biotechnology companies, nearly double the level of three years ago, according to Lipper data.

“We think that investor sentiment is a bit overdone,” said John Fraunces, a co-portfolio manager of the Turner Medical Sciences Long/Short fund (TMSCX.O), whose fund is in the top 1 percent among long-short funds tracked by Morningstar over the last three years.

“The problem is that investors are giving people the benefit of the doubt and instantly giving a company billions in market value when there still need to be more studies to determine whether or not a drug is therapeutically effective,” said Fraunces, who is looking for more opportunities to “short” stocks, or bet that the price will fall.

Some of the names attracting short bets are recent entrants to the stock market. There have been 88 initial public offerings of biotechnology companies over the last 12 months, which have gained, on average, 59.6 percent – the most of any sector, according to data from Renaissance Capital. Early-stage biotech companies rarely post any revenue, and tend to be money-losers.

Many recent IPOs have only a small percentage of their outstanding shares trading, with some still restricted due to lock-up provisions. But the shares out in the public market are being frequently lent for short bets.

One is cancer-therapy company Kite Pharma Inc (KITE.O), whose shares are up 322 percent since the company went public on June 19. About 2.7 million shares – or about 70 percent of what is available for short bets – has been lent out for shorting, according to Markit, which tracks short interest lending programs.

Andrew Morey, portfolio manager of the Aston Small Growth Fund, said the shares of companies that have come to market in the last year have largely looked overstretched.

Around 1-1/2 years ago, he bought shares of a gene therapy company, whose name he would not divulge, shortly after its initial public offering, but quickly and sold it after shares rapidly doubled.

“That’s when we started to say that some of these gains don’t look appropriate,” he said.

Some shares that were initial winners have seen their fortunes dimmed and yet short-sellers remain prominent. Castlight Health (CSLT.N), which went public in March 2014, saw its shares rocket in its first day and has since lost nearly 80 percent of its value.

But short bets remain. More than 88 percent of the shares available for short bets are being borrowed for that purpose, according to Markit data.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/7KUeO8AvBcg/story01.htm

Amid trial, Kleiner Perkins recruits next generation of partners


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – For the past month, the name most associated with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers is former partner Ellen Pao, who took the firm to trial for gender discrimination and retaliation.

Now the company is searching for new names, at a more intense level than is typical in venture capital, leaders who will take over the firm in coming years as current partners retire.

“You can imagine that over the next 18-24 months we’ll be adding people to the firm,” said Mike Abbott, 42, one of the newest Kleiner partners, and himself a contender to one day take over the mantle of the firm from its current de facto leader, 63-year-old John Doerr.

Describing the effort as “a big focus,” Abbott said in a telephone interview with Reuters on Thursday that he is actively recruiting, along with Doerr and longtime partners, Ted Schlein and Juliet de Baubigny.

The question around the next generation of leaders at Kleiner is taking on added significance because of Pao’s lawsuit, which is highlighting gaffes by current and previous partners. Any fallout from the trial, where the jury began deliberations on Wednesday in a California courtroom after 4 -1/2 weeks of testimony, is being taken as a lesson in Silicon Valley.

Once the dominant force in venture capital, backing Google and Amazon, Kleiner has delivered a more mixed record in the past several years. Its most recent flagship fund totaled $450 million, compared to $650 million three years earlier. The firm reorganized in 2013 and 2014, saying it wanted to be smaller and more agile.

In the process, many younger partners left.

Abbott said the Pao lawsuit had not had an impact on the recruiting drive.

“I think it’s a pretty different environment,” at Kleiner, Abbott said, compared to the male-dominated one that Pao’s lawyers have described in court. Abbott joined the firm three years ago, after most of the events covered in the trial.

Abbott declined to identify potential recruits, both men and women. Negotiations could “take a long period of time,” he said.

To deepen its bench, Kleiner could poach from other venture firms. It could also hire founders or operators from fast-growing start-ups, perhaps those backed by Kleiner.

It could also try to buy a smaller venture partnership. Talks between Kleiner and Social + Capital, a firm created by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, fell through around the turn of the year, Fortune reported in January. The firm declined to comment on the talks.

NEW BLOOD NEEDED

Formerly vice president of engineering at Twitter, Abbott is known as the vanquisher of the “Fail Whale,” Twitter’s signal of its once frequent infrastructure-based outages. And as part of a special team, he also helped the U.S. government revamp www.HealthCare.gov, the online market for health insurance coverage that made a rocky start in late 2013.

“I enjoy building things from scratch or fixing things,” Abbott said.

Privately, some venture-fund investors say Kleiner, which is emerging from years of backing “green” technology companies that largely failed to deliver the anticipated returns, could use some of that same build-and-repair touch.

Partly that is because of the bad publicity around the trial, where Pao said she was discriminated and retaliated against after she ended a brief affair with another partner, amid a climate that was overall unfriendly to women. Kleiner denied the charges and testified 20 percent of its investment partners are women, far higher than the industry average.

But partly, it is also about performance.

“They’re not popping out Instagrams,” said one Kleiner investor, referring to the photo-sharing service that sold to Facebook for $1 billion three years ago, making hundreds of millions for its venture backers, Kleiner not among them. The investor declined to be identified to avoid offending the firm.

Kleiner counts Nest, a thermostat company that sold to Google last year for $3.2 billion, among its recent successes. Investors hold high hopes for companies such as Airware, a drone business that Abbott backed last year.

It could take years to see if Abbott’s investments, including photo-sharing service Snapchat, deliver large returns.

In the meantime, investors can consider the successful leadership transitions Kleiner has made in the past.

Founding members Tom Perkins and Brook Byers handed the mantle to Doerr in the 1990s. The firm, already known for backing winners like biotechnology business Genentech and electronics manufacturer Flextronics, then doubled down on its winning streak, harnessing the rise of the Internet.

That legacy is a big part of the appeal and pitch to potential partners, says Abbott when asked about the difficulty of recruiting given the Pao lawsuit.

“No matter how much you spend on PR, you can’t buy a platform or brand like Kleiner Perkins,” Abbott says.

(Editing by Peter Henderson and Grant McCool)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/HDgrviTsvmk/story01.htm

Oil leaps 5 percent, most in a month, on air strikes in Yemen


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil jumped about 5 percent on Thursday, the biggest daily gain in a month, as air strikes in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies sparked fears that escalation of the Middle East battle could disrupt world crude supplies.

The Saudi military operation against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have driven Yemen’s president from the capital Sanaa, has not affected oil facilities of major Gulf producers.

But fears the conflict could spread and disrupt Middle East shipments powered benchmark Brent oil to near $60 a barrel, in its biggest daily gain since Feb. 25.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude soared above $50, approaching 2015 highs.

Some analysts said the chance of an all-out proxy war between the Saudis and Iran looked remote. They attributed some of Thursday’s rally in oil to short covering after steep losses in early March, and said gains should be brief as worries about a supply glut linger in the market. [ID:nL6N0WS3FB]

“You don’t want to be short oil when there are stories about bombings next door to Saudi Arabia, even if it’s the Saudis who are leading the charge,” said Joseph Posillico, senior vice president of energy futures at Jefferies in New York.

“But with shorts squeezed out of the market, particularly those under $50 WTI, we are reassessing where to go. I personally don’t think this rally has legs as fundamentally nothing’s changed.”

Oil prices jumped more than $3 at their highs, but pared some gains after the dollar rebounded. [USD/]

Brent LCOc1 settled up $2.71, or 4.8 percent, at $59.19 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 finished up $2.22, or 4.5 percent, at $51.43. On Wednesday, prices had gone up 3 percent on a weak dollar.

Still, worries about swollen supplies have kept oil prices down about 50 percent from last summer’s highs above $100 a barrel.

A Saudi military spokesman said there were no immediate plans to launch ground operations in Yemen. Still, the kingdom strengthened security at borders and around oil and industrial facilities.

Arab producers must ship crude past the Yemen coastline via the Gulf of Aden to get to the Suez Canal, a key passageway to Europe.

The waters between Yemen and Djibouti, known as Bab el-Mandeb, are less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) wide, and considered by the U.S. Energy Information Administration to be a “chokepoint” for global oil supplies.

The EIA estimated 3.8 million barrels per day passed through Bab el-Mandeb in 2013. Egypt sent naval vessels to help secure the passage.

Iran denounced the Saudi air strikes. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, called for an “immediate ceasefire.” Pakistan, a Riyadh ally far from the conflict, promised a “strong response” to any threat to Saudi integrity.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry touched on the conflict with Iran’s foreign minister before talks on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Barclays analyst Michael Cohen said the Saudi action could exacerbate tensions in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

“What’s going on right now is a trend in the region,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York; Himanshu Ojha, David Sheppard in London; Aaron Sheldrick, Osamu Tsukimori in Tokyo; Meeyoung Cho in Seoul; Henning Gloystein and Florence Tan in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Tom Brown and David Gregorio)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/v53ZK5RoKqU/story01.htm

Apple’s Tim Cook will give away all his money: Fortune


(Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Tim Cook is joining the roster of the very rich who are giving away their wealth.

Fortune magazine cited the head of the world’s largest technology corporation as saying he planned to donate his estimated $785 million fortune to charity – after paying for his 10-year-old nephew’s college education.

“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change,” Cook told the magazine.

Fortune estimated Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested.

The 54-year-old CEO’s revelation in Fortune’s lengthy profile of him is an example of the increasingly public philanthropy of the world’s richest people.

Billionaire financier Warren Buffett is encouraging the very wealthy to give away at least half their worth in their lifetimes through the “Giving Pledge,” whose website lists such luminaries as Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Oracle Corp’s (ORCL.N) Larry Ellison.

While Cook’s largesse could not begin to approach the scale of a Gates or Zuckerberg, both worth billions of dollars, the Apple CEO told Fortune he hopes to make a difference.

Cook, who is not listed on the website, is known as an intensely private person who shuns the spotlight on philanthropy.

In recent years, however, he has begun speaking out more openly about issues ranging from the environment to civil rights. Cook, who recently revealed he was gay, spoke out against discrimination of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities during his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor last year.

He told Fortune he has started donating money to unspecified causes quietly and is trying to develop a more “systematic approach” to philanthropy that goes beyond writing checks.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Edwin Chan in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Andre Grenon)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/dC-QaV26Deo/story01.htm

Exclusive: Headhunter contacts Morgan Stanley’s Fleming about CEO job at BNY Mellon


NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – At the prompting of at least one director of Bank of New York Mellon Corp, an executive recruiting firm has come up with a list of potential candidates to replace embattled CEO Gerald Hassell, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    At least one of the candidates, Gregory Fleming, who runs wealth and investment management at Morgan Stanley, has been contacted by the recruiting firm Spencer Stuart to gauge his interest in the job at the world’s largest custody bank, according to the two individuals and two additional sources.

The overture to Fleming does not appear to represent an official search effort by BNY Mellon’s full 15-member board, which has so far supported Hassell despite rising pressure from activist investors concerned by his performance. Reuters sought comment from all of the directors, but none who were reached would speak on the record.

In a statement that it attributed to its board of directors, BNY Mellon said: “The Board is not conducting a search and fully supports our CEO. Any suggestion to the contrary is completely false.” A spokesman for BNY Mellon said that Hassell was not available to comment.

Other names on the list of potential candidates include Mary Erdoes, who runs JPMorgan Chase Co’s asset management business, and Michael Cavanagh, a former JPMorgan executive who is now chief operating officer at private equity firm Carlyle Group LP, one of the sources said.

    It is not clear whether Spencer Stuart has contacted those people, and none of them responded to requests for comment. Spokespeople for JPMorgan, Carlyle, Morgan Stanley and Spencer Stuart declined to comment.

PRESSURE BUILDS

    Hassell has been under pressure for months from some large activist investors, including hedge funds Trian Fund Management and Marcato Capital Management. BNY Mellon gave a board seat in December to Nelson Peltz’s Trian, which had a 2.6 percent stake in the bank at the end of 2014.

    Some investors and analysts have complained that Hassell’s cost-cutting programs have not sufficiently boosted profit. He has missed some key financial targets, according to the bank’s recently filed proxy statement, in which the board discusses Hassell’s pay and 2014 performance.

    For example, the board awarded only 90 percent of Hassell’s individual pay component for incentives after weighing a number of factors. Under his leadership, the bank missed an adjusted earnings per share target in 2014.

    On the plus side, the bank produced positive operating leverage, in which revenue grew more than expenses, according to the analysis in the proxy. And since Hassell replaced Robert Kelly on Aug. 31, 2011, BNY Mellon’s stock has advanced about 92 percent. That is better than the 69 percent gain on the SP 500 Index during that time. The New York-based custody bank safeguards $28.5 trillion in assets. 

    Hassell has said some savings from cost cuts have been absorbed by spending on improved technology. He has resisted suggestions from some investors and analysts that the bank separate its money management and custody businesses. He has said the units work better together.

    Fleming, 52, is a former investment banker who spent much of his career at Merrill Lynch. He was hired by Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman in 2010 to repair its troubled asset management business, and later took on the role of wealth management as well.

    He is considered a leading candidate to replace Gorman if Gorman were to retire soon, but sources with knowledge of Morgan Stanley’s strategy say that seems unlikely. People familiar with Fleming’s thinking say he may leave to become CEO elsewhere if an attractive opportunity presents itself.  

    So far, Hassell has enjoyed majority support from a board that includes retired executives from Deloitte LLP, Liberty Mutual Group and Schering-Plough Corp.

    Earlier this month, Mick McGuire, who runs Marcato, went public in calling for the removal of Hassell. In a letter to BNY Mellon’s lead director, Wesley von Schack, McGuire criticized the bank’s leadership for setting “tepid” goals.

    Marcato owned a 1.6 percent stake in the bank at the end of December, filings show.

    Another big shareholder, who asked not to be named, said his fund also sent a letter to von Schack last week calling for Hassell’s departure. Von Schack could not be reached for comment.

(Additional reporting and writing by Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Martin Howell)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/gxZMW54g9n8/story01.htm

Google to pay CFO Porat more than $70 million in two years


(Reuters) – Google Inc said it would pay its new Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, more than $70 million in the next two years through a combination of restricted stock units and a biennial grant.

The company hired Morgan Stanley CFO Porat as its finance chief earlier this week, a sign it is aiming to rein in costs as it invests in new businesses such as self-driving cars and Internet-connected eyeglasses.

Porat’s compensation package includes a grant of $25 million through restricted stock units, a $40 million biennial grant in 2016 and a special one-time $5 million sign-on bonus, Google said in a regulatory filing on Thursday. (1.usa.gov/1byDpVm)

Porat, who will join Google on May 26, will also get an annual base salary of $650,000. She earned a base salary of $1 million at Morgan Stanley for 2013, according to the bank’s proxy filing. Her pay last year will be disclosed once the bank files its latest proxy.

Porat is the latest among a string of Wall Street executives to leave an industry that is increasingly regulated to move into the more free-wheeling technology sector, where fortunes can be built fast but businesses can also become irrelevant overnight.

Google paid its outgoing CFO Patrick Pichette, who announced his retirement earlier this month, $62.2 million for the three years through 2013, more than twice the $29.6 million Porat earned at Morgan Stanley, according to regulatory filings.

Mountain View, California-based Google said it would stop annual cash bonuses for senior vice presidents from next year and shift to a system that includes annual base salary and biennial equity grants.

Shares of Google closed at $563.64 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/D-PiEJmshNM/story01.htm