Business Notebook, Dec 11

12/10/2013 9:27 PM

12/10/2013 9:28 PM

GM names first female CEO of U.S. car company

General Motors product development chief Mary Barra has been named the company’s new CEO, the first female head of a U.S. car company. Barra, 51, will replace Dan Akerson on Jan. 15. Akerson, chairman and CEO, moved up his retirement plans by several months because his wife, Karin, is battling advanced cancer, the company said in a statement Tuesday. With the decision, the GM board separated the board chairman and CEO positions. Barra will get a seat on the board, but director Theodore (Tim) Solso will succeed Akerson as chairman. Solso formerly was chairman and CEO of engine maker Cummins Inc., and has been on GM’s board since June of 2012. Barra currently holds what many say is the most important job in the company – senior vice president for global product development. She’s in charge of design, engineering and quality of all of GM’s vehicles across the globe and has shepherded most of the company’s recent new vehicle introductions. Under her command, GM rolled out brawny new full-size pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, and the Chevrolet Impala full-size car, which earned the highest score for a sedan in testing by Consumer Reports magazine.

Top U.S. regulatory agencies adopt rule to prevent banks from taking risky bets

The nation’s top regulatory agencies adopted the final version of a rule aimed at preventing banks from taking risky bets that supporters argued could endanger the financial system. The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Securities and Exchange Commission voted Tuesday to approve the Volcker Rule, the centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency also approved the rule Tuesday, according to media reports. The goal of the rule is to prevent the nation’s largest lending institutions from taking speculative bets with their own money and taxpayer-backed deposits. The Fed board also voted unanimously to grant a one-year extension, until July 2015, for banks to fully comply with the new provisions.

Reid says Senate will not extend current farm law if no new bill

Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will not extend the current farm law if Congress can’t agree on a new farm bill before adjourning next week. House leaders have reserved space on their agenda this week for extending the current law until the end of January. Lawmakers fear that milk prices might rise sharply if dairy subsidies expire Jan. 1. The House and Senate have passed separate versions, but with widespread differences over crop subsidies and how much to cut food stamps. House Speaker John Boehner said last week that the House should extend the current law while negotiators seek a compromise. But Reid balked at that plan. Some senators fear an extension relieves pressure to get a deal.

BMW AG sales up 2.7 percent in November

Car maker BMW AG says its sales were up 2.7 percent in November compared with a year earlier, putting the company on course for a record year thanks to strong demand in China and the U.S. The company – which has its only North American manufacturing plant in Greer – said Tuesday that the BMW Group, which also includes the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, sold 174,996 cars worldwide last month.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times contributed.

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