Officials in President George Bush’s administration threatened to impose punitive tariffs on European products after a critical round of international trade talks collapsed in Brussels. U.S. and European negotiators were trying to resolve longstanding differences over agricultural subsidies, an issue that has prolonged efforts to overhaul the 108-nation General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
UNDER A CLOUD
General Motors Corp. chairman Robert Stempel’s future with the company appeared uncertain after company directors issued a vaguely worded response to reports that they will soon ask him to step down. The statement said that the board had not made any management changes, but that “the question of executive leadership is a primary concern.” General Motors has lost money steadily since Stempel succeeded Roger Smith as company chairman in August, 1990. Meanwhile, rival Chrysler Corp. reported a strong profit of $250 million for the third quarter of 1992, more than double what many auto industry analysts had predicted.
Hani Zayadi, president of the beleaguered Woodward’s Ltd. department store chain, announced that the company will close its 90-year-old flagship store in downtown Vancouver at the end of January. Zayadi added that Woodward’s has had difficulty finding a site for a new downtown store. The 23-store chain lost $24.3 million in the first six months of this year.
TAKING THE HELM
Recession-battered Confederation Life Insurance Co., Canada’s third-largest life insurer, named a prominent banker as its new president. Paul Cantor, 50, a former president of CIBC Investment Bank, will succeed Patrick Bums, 64, who will remain as chairman of the board of directors. The company is attempting to stem losses from real estate investments that have reduced its profits and caused credit-rating agencies to lower Confederation’s credit ranking.
A SETBACK FOR SEARS
Sears, Roebuck & Co., the Chicago-based department store and consumer financialservices giant, posted its first loss since 1933. Sears lost $1 billion in the third quarter, largely because of the cost of claims paid by the company’s Allstate insurance subsidiary to policyholders following Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki.
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