There's no need to pass the hat
UnitedAuto Inc. shareholders meet in Dearborn, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 3, to approve Roger Penske's $83 million offer to take control. Penske succeeds Marshall Cogan, who stays on the board. According to a proxy statement, the company agreed to pay Cogan at least 25 percent of whatever it pays Penske, through 2005. The bad news for Cogan is that Penske's salary is $1 a year as chairman and CEO. Don't feel too sorry for Cogan, though. He keeps his $750,000 annual salary through 2005. The 25 cents is in addition to that. Both men also are authorized to get a bonus, plus stock options that potentially are worth a lot more - if the stock price improves.
DESIGN STAR -- J Mays, Ford Motor Co.'s vice president of design, is heralded as an automotive designer of international repute in the July 12 edition of The New Yorker. 'Mays is the closest thing to an international design star that his profession has produced,' notes the magazine. 'He may well be the most influential car designer on the planet.' Not bad for a guy from Oklahoma who wears 'an amiably bland Middle American expression,' according to the author.
OFF ROAD, IN STYLE -- Following the success of its first driving school, which opened in 1997 in Manchester, Vt., and has taught the basics to more than 3,000 off-road enthusiasts, Land Rover North America Inc. has opened a second school. The new school, which features the full line of Land Rovers, is at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Drivers must be licensed and insured, and prices for lessons start at $150 for a one-hour session for up to three people. Also opening at the Greenbrier is a Land Rover Gear store with clothing and accessories to help students look the part.
VALUE'S THE WORD AT D/C -- Shareholder value has become a corporate religion in the United States. In Germany, where the interests of employees often have been seen at odds with those of shareholders, the concept has been a touchy subject. So DaimlerChrysler is helping change perceptions ... and the vocabulary. A German phrase in vogue at D/C, Wertorientierte Unternehmensfuehrung, translates roughly as 'value-oriented company leadership.' A spokesman explained that management has set precise profitability targets for all segments of the business. The phrase, explains John Lawson of SalomonSmithBarney in London, also makes the concept more palatable to Germans.