Eaton's plans are out of focus
DaimlerChrysler Chairman Bob Eaton was a little testy last week when asked whether he is retiring within the next six months. Eaton, talking to reporters on third-quarter earnings, would not give a yes or no answer. 'There isn't anything to say that hasn't already been said,' he replied. When the merger of Chrysler Corp. and Daimler-Benz AG was announced in May 1998, Eaton said he would retire in three years or earlier if he is satisfied with the progress of the merger. That would leave Chairman Juergen Schrempp in sole command of the company. Since the merger was finalized Nov. 17, 1998, Eaton's retirement date has been the source of continuous spe culation, and the most recent press accounts have him leaving within six months. Said Eaton: 'I'm focused on continuing to have good results and continuing to make this company extremely strong and not focused on retirement or whe n I might leave.'
NAME-DROPPING - AB Volvo says its annual Environment Prize is 'known informally as the Nobel of environmental awards.' Volvo President Leif Johansson accidentally called it just that - the Nobel Prize - in a n unguarded moment some hours before the formal presentation last week at Columbia University in New York. 'I did?' Johansson asked afterward. Indian agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, who won the 1999 Volvo Prize, ignored the slip of the tongue. Columbia President George Rupp wasn't fazed, either. He said Columbia claims 'about 60' Nobel Prize winners among its faculty and alumni. Said Rupp: 'They didn't all graduate here, but we think they count, anyway.'
GLOBAL REACTION - Ford Motor Co. and ad agency J. Walter Thompson had to tweak the two-minute global branding TV spot in a few countries to meet local concerns. So said Jim Schroer, vice president of global marketing at Ford. In mainland China, a quick scene with the Red Army was unacceptable and had to be zapped. But the strangest may have been in the United Kingdom. J. Walter Thompson's Ted Powell, international creative director whom Schroer credited with the idea, said 'we had to make some adjustments' in the United Kingdom. That's because a governing body of medical doctors there expressed concern that the fast-moving scenes could trigger an attack among those w ith epilepsy. 'We never guessed that would become an issue,' he said.
SUPPORT ACTIVITY VEHICLE - BMW of North America Inc. and eBay Inc. will auction off the first X5 'Sport Activity Vehicle' to be delivered to a retail custom er; proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The online auction started Thursday, Oct. 28, and runs through Nov. 7. Suggested retail is $57,105. By Friday afternoon bidding was already up to $76,100. For more inf ormation, visit www.bmwusa.com or www.ebay.com. BMW already has raised more than $3 million for the foundation in the past three years.