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Details the CEO buys this past week for the following companies: Discover Financial Services, FS KKR Capital Corp, Simmons First National Corp and Old Republic International

According to GuruFocus Insider Data, these are the largest CEO buys during the past week.

Discover Financial Services CEO bought 30,000 shares

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) CEO and President Roger C. Hochschild bought 30,000 shares on Jan. 28 at a price of $66.67. The price of the stock has increased by 2.59% since.

Discover Financial Services is engaged in direct consumer banking business. It mainly provides banking services such as accepting deposits, offering credit card, residential mortgage, loans and other banking facilities to its customers. The company has a market cap of $22.64 billion. Its shares traded at $68.40 with a price-earnings ratio of 8.78 as of Feb. 1.

Net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $687 million compared to $387 million for the prior-year period of 2017.

FS KKR Capital Corp. CEO bought 70,802 shares

FS KKR Capital Corp. (NYSE:FSK) CEO Michael C. Forman bought 70,802 shares during the past week at a price of $6.27.

FS KKR Capital Corp. is a publicly traded business development company focused on providing customized credit solutions to private middle market U.S. companies. FSK seeks to invest primarily in the senior secured debt and the subordinated debt of private middle market U.S. companies. The company has a market cap of $3.36 billion. Its shares traded at $6.32 as of Feb. 1.

On Dec. 19, 2018, the company announced the closing of the merger of FS Investment Corp. and Corporate Capital Trust Inc. FS Investment Corp. was renamed FS KKR Capital Corp.

Forman bought 25,200 shares on Jan. 18 at a price of $5.91; 40,854 shares on Jan. 23 at a price of $6.08; 29,188 shares on Jan. 25 at a price of $6.23; 25,689 shares on Jan. 29 at a price of $6.27; and 15,925 shares on Jan. 31 at a price of $6.35. The price of the stock has decreased by 0.47% since.

Director Richard I. Goldstein bought 5,000 shares on Jan. 17 at a price of $5.85 and 3,800 shares on Jan. 22 at a price of $6.07. The price of the stock has increased by 4.12% since.

Chief Investment Officer Daniel Pietrzak bought 50,000 shares on Jan. 17 at a price of $5.88. The price of the stock has increased by 7.48% since.

Simmons First National CEO bought 10,000 shares

Simmons First National Corp. (NASDAQ:SFNC) Chairman and CEO George Makris Jr. bought 10,000 shares on Jan. 30 at a price of $24.85. The price of the stock has increased by 1.05% since.

Simmons First National Corp. is a financial holding company. The company through its subsidiaries is engaged in providing banking services including consumer, real estate and commercial loans, checking, savings and time deposits. The company has a market cap of $2.32 billion. Its shares traded at $25.11 with a price-earnings ratio of 12.88 as of Feb. 1.

Fourth quarter net income in 2018 was $55.6 million compared to $18.9 million for the same period in 2017.

Old Republic International CEO bought 5,000 shares

Old Republic International Corp. (NYSE:ORI) Chairman and CEO Aldo C. Zucaro bought 5,000 shares on Jan. 28 at a price of $19.87. The price of the stock has increased by 2.87% since.

Old Republic International is engaged in insurance underwriting and related services. It conducts its operations through General Insurance, Title Insurance and the Republic Financial Indemnity and consumer credit indemnity run-off business. The company has a market cap of $6.19 billion. Its shares traded at $20.44 with a price-earnings ratio of 16.48 as of Feb. 1.

Net loss income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $106.5 million compared to net income of $299.6 million for the prior-year period.

Director Charles J. Kovaleski bought 200 shares of Old Republic International stock on Jan. 9 at a price of $20.91. The price of the stock has decreased by 2.25% since.

For the complete list of stocks that were bought by their company CEOs, go to: CEO Buys.

Disclosure: I do not own stock in any of the companies mentioned.

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AdAlta will outline fibrosis treatment progress during Proactive CEO Sessions

AdAlta Ltd’s (ASX:1AD) is focused on developing treatments for fibrotic diseases, including Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), and this strategy will be outlined at this month’s Proactive CEO Sessions.

The biotechnology company aims to develop and commercialise its i-body technology platform that has generated a pipeline of i-bodies, with an initial focus on treating fibrotic diseases.

AdAlta’s CEO and director Sam Cobb will present at the Sydney CEO Session on Monday, February 18 and at the Melbourne session on Tuesday, February 19.

Cobb is the founding CEO of AdAlta and has more than 15 years’ experience in business development and commercialisation of early-stage scientific technologies.

IPF: irreversible, unpredictable and incurable

IPF is an irreversible, unpredictable and incurable disease with at least 1,500 Australians diagnosed each year. Only 20% of patients diagnosed survive five years.

AdAlta late last month announced improved cell line development results for its lead i-body fibrosis candidate, AD-214, which it is advancing toward clinical development.

Results ahead of expectations

Results are now above previously reported expression levels, at 3 grams per litre (g/L), up from the 1g/L reported in October 2018.

The improved results mean AdAlta remains on track with the development of the manufacturing process for AD-214.

It is on target to deliver Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) material for its four-week non-human primate toxicology study, which is expected to begin in July 2019 and be completed in second half of the year.

AdAlta is also on track to deliver Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) material for its phase I human study which is expected to begin in January 2020.

Register for the CEO Sessions today to find out more.

Sydney details, Monday, February 18, 2019

Melbourne details, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Also featuring at both sessions will be Kazia Therapeutics Ltd (ASX:KZA) and Peninsula Energy Ltd (ASX:PEN) while Theta Gold Mines Ltd (ASX:TGM) is on the Sydney program and Anatara Lifesciences Ltd (ASX:ANR) is on the Melbourne program.




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Intel promotes Swan to CEO, bumps off Itanium, and eyes Mellanox

It was a busy week for Intel as it announced the promotion of CFO Bob Swan to CEO, ending a seven-month search, set a deadline for the life of its ill-fated Itanium processor, and is now reportedly in the running to buy Mellanox.

I don’t think for a second these are unrelated. Swan is a money guy. Ending the life of Itanium and making a strategic acquisition are right in his wheelhouse.

Swan’s elevation is just what analyst Jim McGregor called for a few weeks ago when I asked what was taking so long in the CEO search. Swan, 58, who joined Intel as CFO in October 2016, becomes Intel’s seventh CEO and only its second non-engineer. The first was the late Paul Otellini, and he worked out very well.

In mid-January, The Oregonian reported that Intel Chairman Andy Bryant, who was once CFO, had said Intel was looking to go with a “non-traditional” candidate, suggesting a CEO from outside the company or a woman or both were a possibility.

In a statement announcing Swan’s promotion, Bryant noted: “Important in the board’s decision was the outstanding job Bob did as interim CEO for the past seven months, as reflected in Intel’s outstanding results in 2018.”

Intel has slowly gotten its act together after the mismanagement of Brian Krzanich, but it also warned that 2019 sales might be down due to weakening data center server chip demand in China and a slowdown in purchasing by major public cloud providers.

Intel Itanium processor ending

Second up is the news that the Itanium has finally reached the end of the line. Intel sent a notice (pdf) to vendors earlier this week stating that the company would take its final order for the Itanium 9700 series on January 30, 2020, with the final shipment date to take place on July 29, 2021. HPE, the only real champion the Itanium ever had (because it used a lot of HP’s PA-RISC technology), said it would support the doomed processor until the end of 2025.

Intel reportedly makes bid for Mellanox

As for Mellanox, the company has had a number of suitors and reportedly has offered itself up for sale as far back as 2017. The most recent suitor was Microsoft, which would have been a bit of a mismatch — a software company buying a silicon company.

Intel makes much more sense, and according to the Israeli publication Calcalist (article in Hebrew, have your translator ready), Intel has made a $6 billion mostly cash offer for the company. The news was met with skepticism from the Susquehanna Financial Group, which cited Intel’s lack of a CEO. The investor site Seeking Alpha ran an article citing Susquehanna’s concerns, and one day later Intel solved that problem.

Intel has a sizable development team in Israel, and this wouldn’t be the first Israeli company Intel bought. In 2017, it bought MobileEye, a maker of artificial intelligence (AI) sensor technology, for $15 billion. More than a few people told me they thought Intel grossly overpaid, but that was a Krzanich deal.

Good luck, Swan.

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Former ONC chief to advise LRVHealth, AliveCor’s CEO steps down, and more digital health hires and departures

Dr. Karen DeSalvo, formerly an acting assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services and the chief of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, has joined digital venture platform LRVHealth as an executive advisor.

“My entire career has been focused on improving the health of people and communities by catalyzing solutions to address all the determinants of health, and there’s no question that technical innovation will play an increasingly important role,” DeSalvo said in a statement. “We need to transform the way healthcare is delivered and paid for, and there’s no better way to do that than working with innovators who are disrupting the system from within. I joined LRVHealth as an executive adviser because its insider network provides a unique platform to find and nurture solutions to some of healthcare’s biggest challenges.”

Last year DeSalvo joined the board at OpenNotes, an initiative launched in 2010 to make clinicians’ notes available to patients. DeSalvo has also held the roles of New Orleans health commissioner and vice dean for community affairs and health policy at Tulane School of Medicine, and is currently a professor of medicine and population health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School.

Dr. Peter Staats has been appointed as the chief medical advisor of pain management company SPR Therapeutics. With nearly three decades of experience in the entrepreneurial space, Staats has also served as the president of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, North American Neuromodulation Society, New Jersey Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and the Southern Pain Society.

“[Staats’] extensive knowledge and experience as a treating physician, entrepreneur and advisor to HHS, will be tremendous assets for our company as we expand commercialization of our proven peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) therapy to patients and physicians,” Maria Bennett, founder, president and CEO of SPR Therapeutics, said in a statement. “We look forward to working even more closely with Dr. Staats as we continue to advance our Sprint PNS System, addressing the critical need for less invasive, earlier stage non-opioid pain management therapies.”

AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra, formerly an SVP at Google, has stepped down from his position at the head of the digital health company, CNBC reported this month. Gundotra said his decision was based on personal reasons. He leaves AliveCor on good enough terms to remain a member of its board, with the company planning an announcement of his replacement in the coming weeks.

Philadelphia-based mental health technology company NeuroFlow has hired athenahealth alumnus Andrew Kahn as its new senior sales manager. During his previous five years at the cloud-based EHR company, Kahn served as a manager of its hospital and health systems division and a senior sales executive in its small groups division.

“Andrew brings significant and relevant experience to the team — he comes from the healthcare world, starting out as an EMT-Paramedic, and then with athenahealth, he is passionate about helping people,” NeuroFlow CEO Chris Molaro said in a statement. “Like us, he is mission-driven and impact-oriented. He will no doubt enhance our overall process and be an important partner for our clients as we continue to grow.”

Austin, Texas-based EverlyWell has tapped Jenifer Dasho as its first chief marketing officer. Dasho resumè includes stints at Pinterest and Trulia.

“As CMO, Jenifer will be delivering on the company’s aggressive growth goals; increasing consumer awareness that there are options beyond the cumbersome, costly, time-consuming, confusing and overall outdated experience associated with the traditional lab process. Jenifer will be responsible for brand positioning, paid media, product innovation, content, communications, research and creative,” a representative of EverlyWell wrote in an email announcing the hire.

Cecelia Health, a diabetes and chronic disease management company formerly known as Fit4D, has named Brad Fleugel to its advisory board. Fleugel was previously the SVP chief healthcare commercial market development officer at Walgreens, and also held roles at Health Evolution Partners, Wellpoint and Aetna.

“The day I met Brad, I was immediately impressed with his strategic sense of the market and its landscape. And, with his stellar track record for driving strategic goals and measurable business results in leadership and strategic board roles at publicly-traded and private companies, we are very excited to have him contribute to our business plans,” David Weingard, CEO of Cecelia Health, said in a statement. “Brad’s role on Cecelia Health’s Board of Advisors will significantly advance our ability to innovate and positively transform the lives and health outcomes of the patients we serve.”

Livongo announced two high-profile hires that illustrate its commitment to this expansion into mental health: Anmol Madan, former CEO of Ginger.io, will join Livongo as chief data officer; and Dr. Julia Hoffman, formally the national director of mental health services for the Department of Veterans Affairs, will step into the new role of VP of behavioral health strategy.

EHR and practice management software company Greenway Health has welcomed Kali Durgampudi as its new chief technology and innovation officer. Durgampudi most recently held an SVP position at Nuance and a VP title at Eclipsys.

“I am excited to join the Greenway team, a market leader for nearly 40 years, and I look forward to our work pioneering the future of healthcare,” Durgampudi said in a statement. “Our focus at the company is to deliver innovative and high-quality solutions on time, every time.”

Clover Health’s Andrew Toy will be taking on the responsibilities of president and board member alongside his current role as the company’s chief technology officer. According to his LinkedIn page, Toy has been with Clover since February 2018 and previously held a product director position at Google.

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Papa John gets a $200 million investment from the hedge fund Starboard Value and names its CEO as its chairman (PZZA)

Papa John'sAP

  • Papa John’s on Monday said it has received a $200 million strategic investment from the hedge fund Starboard Value and appointed Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith as its chairman.
  • The pizza chain appointed three new directors, including Smith, to its board.
  • Around half of the proceeds from the deal will be used to repay debt, with the rest going towards investing in the business, Papa John’s said.
  • Watch Pizza chain trade live.



Papa John’s was rallying, up 5.17% to $40.50 a share early Monday, after announcing a $200 million strategic investment from the hedge fund Starboard Value and appointing Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith as its chairman.

Starboard agreed to make the investment through the purchase of new convertible preferred stock, and the deal includes the option of an additional $50 million investment through March 29, 2019, according to a statement.


Smith, along with Anthony Sanfilippo, former CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment, have been appointed to be the two new independent directors of the pizza chain. Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie is also joining the board, the statement said. 

Around half of the proceeds from the deal will be used to repay debt, with the rest going towards investing in the business, Papa John’s said.

“Our agreement with Starboard concludes a comprehensive strategic review conducted over the past five months to better position Papa John’s for growth, improve the Company’s financial performance and serve the best interests of our stakeholders,” said Olivia Kirtley, a member of the Special Committee and most recently chairman of the Papa John’s board.

“This transaction provides the Company with financial resources and strong and experienced directors on the Board in order to position the Company for success over the long term. We believe we have found terrific partners to advance Papa John’s strategy, especially given their record of reinvigorating and growing premier restaurant and consumer brand companies.”

The pizza chain also announced preliminary financial results for the three months and full year ended December 30, 2018. Its system-wide North America comparable sales decreased 10.5% and its international comparable sales were flat for the period December 31, 2018, to January 31, 2019.


Meanwhile, its 2018 adjusted diluted earnings per share are expected to be near the low-end of its previously provided range of $1.30 to $1.60, impacted by a $51 million special charge following its founder John Schnatter resigning as chairman in July after he used a racial slur on a media training conference call. Analysts were expecting $1.47 earnings per share.

Papa Johns was down 30% in the past 12 months.

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The National Council Of Textile Organizations (NCTO) Announces Retirement Of President & CEO Auggie Tantillo

WASHINGTON, DC — February 4, 2019 — Augustine “Auggie” D. Tantillo, President & CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations, has announced his intention to retire from his position later this year. Tantillo has enjoyed a 38-year, multifaceted career in the Washington policy arena, most of which involved direct representation of the U.S. textile industry.

NCTO Chairman Marty Moran stated, “Due to his vast institutional knowledge and skill in navigating policy matters in Washington, Auggie will certainly be missed. On behalf of our entire membership, I want to express our gratitude to Auggie for his dedicated and important service to our industry,” Moran added.

Tantillo stated, “It has been a tremendous privilege to represent an industry that has made such an enormous contribution to the U.S. economy and the U.S. workforce. I will always be grateful for the confidence that the domestic textile sector has shown in me as the head of this important organization.”

In the spring of last year, NCTO formed a search committee to undertake the process of selecting a replacement for Tantillo. After vetting numerous highly-qualified individuals and conducting a thorough interview process with leading candidates, the organization intends to make a public announcement on Tantillo’ s replacement in the coming weeks.

Tantillo has worked in government service or government relations in Washington, D.C. since 1981. Prior to joining NCTO, he served as Executive Director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, a trade association dedicated to furthering the interests of U.S. manufacturing, particularly with respect to textiles. At earlier points in his career, Tantillo was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles & Apparel at the U.S. Department of Commerce under President George H. W. Bush, and Chief of Staff to U. S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Tantillo earned a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Clemson University.

NCTO is a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents domestic textile manufacturers, including artificial and synthetic filament and fiber producers.

  • U.S. employment in the textile supply chain was 550,500 in 2017.
  • The value of shipments for U.S. textiles and apparel was $77.9 billion in 2017.
  • U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel were $28.6 billion in 2017.
  • Capital expenditures for textile and apparel production totaled $2.4 billion in 2016, the last year for which data is available.

Posted February 4, 2019

Source: The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO)

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Ipswich’s new CEO has worked after a sacked council before

Ipswich City Council has recruited for a full-time CEO after two previous long-serving chief executives were charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission with official corruption from September 2017.

Mr Farmer said Wollongong City Council was dismissed in 2008 after a public meeting.

He said the incoming Wollongong council after 2008 had to work to restore confidence from the community.

“There are definitely some similarities in Ipswich, most importantly the need to restore public confidence and trust,” Mr Farmer said.

“I wanted a role where I could bring my skills to bear on something significant.

“The combination of governance and growth issues in Ipswich present that challenge.

“The success of Ipswich City Council over the next few years is critical to the development of South East Queensland and also to the perception of local government to the Queensland public.”

Mr Farmer said that in both Cairns and Wollongong he had worked on significant projects to restore identity to the cities.

He began work at Wollongong just months after ICAC investigators raided the Wollongong Council offices.

“If I am to look back at my 11 years at Wollongong, there are some key projects I’m particularly proud of,” he said.

“The Blue Mile, a city foreshore project similar to the Cairns Esplanade — which I also worked on — and Grand Pacific Walk are two of them,” he said.

David Farmer worked on the Cairns Esplanade, a key project to bring identity to the city.

David Farmer worked on the Cairns Esplanade, a key project to bring identity to the city.Credit:Phil Carrick

“But the last three community surveys show satisfaction at all-time highs, which is exactly where we want to head in Ipswich with a measured approach which leads to best-practice outcomes.”

The state government dismissed Ipswich City Council in August 2018 after serious corruption issues emerged.

One of the city’s previous chief executives, Jim Lindsay, was charged with corruption in September 2017 connected to a development application.

Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times

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