Better Times next year?
Facing reader disinterest and increased competition from Internet news sources, the Los Angeles Times has hired Nissan Design International to redesign the paper. While Nissan's La Jolla, Calif., design outfit has taken on side projects, including luxury yachts, Taylor Made golf clubs, computers and children's furniture, creating a new graphic look for a publication would be a first. The redesign of the nation's second-largest metropolitan daily newspaper bows next spring.
PROUD PAPA - While other General Motors employees relaxed during GM's two-week summer shutdown, Ron Sobrero, GM's general manager of dealer relations, was on the edge of his stadium seat watching his daughter Kate help shut out China during the Women's World Cup final. Kate Sobrero is a starting defender for the U.S. women's soccer team, which beat China on July 10 in an overtime penalty-kick shootout at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. But the elder Sobrero, who attended all of the U.S. Women's World Cup games, refuses to take credit for his daughter's talent. 'She takes after my wife, the athletic one.'
FOUR FOR TOLERANCE - Ford Motor Co., Subaru of America Inc., Volkswagen of America Inc. and Saturn Corp. last week were named among the top 100 American companies with policies most friendly to gays and lesbians. The list, published by GLVReports & Communications, a New York-based newsletter, is in its fifth year. The newsletter examines a company's activities in several areas, including using the term 'sexual orientation' in written anti-discrimination policies, corporate giving to gay or lesbian organizations, and corporate affiliation with anti-gay rights groups.
CLAIMING THE NAME - Dana Corp. has applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a trademark on the term 'rolling chassis.' The company claims it was the first to supply automakers with chassis modules pre-fabbed with suspension, steering and other support equipment. 'We coined the term,' insists Dana spokesman Jay Dewar. Dana's lawyers have sent letters to other suppliers warning them not to use the term in advertising. At least one supplier, Visteon Automotive Systems, is coming up with alternatives.
STEPPING INTO THE GAP - Veteran finance exec Heidi Kunz is trying on a new job in the clothing business. Kunz, 44, who worked 16 years for General Motors before moving to ITT Industries Inc. in 1995, plans to join specialty clothing retailer Gap Inc. next month as executive vice president and CFO. Kunz rose to treasurer at GM and was CFO of ITT Industries when the company sold its automotive business last year. San Francisco-based Gap has more than 2,500 Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.