Archive for Saturday, May 25, 2002

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May 25, 2002

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Energy company: Trading practices force resignation of executive

The chairman and chief executive of CMS Energy Corp. announced his resignation Friday, less than two weeks after the company admitted conducting energy trades that artificially inflated its revenue by more than $4.4 billion.

William T. McCormick Jr., 57, will be succeeded as chairman and CEO by Kenneth Whipple, a CMS board member and former Ford Motor Co. executive vice president. The company said Whipple, 67, does not plan to stay for more than a year and there will be a search for a permanent CEO.

CMS also said Friday it will amend its 2001 annual report and financial statements for 2000 and 2001 to eliminate the revenue impact of the questionable trades. CMS is the nation's fourth-largest combination gas and electric utility.

Downtown: Chamber backs designation

The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce board of directors has agreed to endorse a plan to designate downtown Lawrence as a historic district, chamber chairman Kelvin Heck said Friday.

The historic designation is being sought by Downtown Lawrence Inc. DLI members are supporting the project because it will make it easier for older buildings in the downtown to qualify for federal and state tax credits for renovation and repairs.

Heck said chamber board members were convinced that the historic designation would not make it more difficult to develop in the downtown area. The National Park Service ultimately will have to approve the designation.

Aviation: Boeing cuts 130 Wichita jobs

About 1,700 Boeing employees across the nation were laid off Friday, bringing the total number of people cut from the aerospace company's payroll to 21,300 since last fall.

About 130 of those layoffs were at the company's Wichita plant. This latest round brings the number of Kansas layoffs to 4,193, not counting attrition, said Dick Ziegler, Boeing's spokesman in Wichita.

The cuts are part of Boeing's plan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to reduce its labor force by 25,000 to 30,000 people by the end of 2002. Wichita's share of those job reductions is anticipated at 5,200.

Wall Street: Atchison firm may lose stock exchange listing

Atchison Casting Corp. announced Friday it may lose its spot on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Atchison-based company said it received notification from the exchange that the company's market capitalization requirement had dropped below the $15 million minimum required by the exchange.

The company said it will begin work on a business plan to rise the company's value above the $15 million mark within 18 months.

If stock exchange officials accept the business plan, the company will be allowed to continue trading on the NYSE. If the plan is rejected, company officials said they will search for another market to trade the company's shares.

Topeka: Payless ShoeSource keeps board of directors intact

Stockholders with Topeka-based Payless ShoeSource re-elected three board members at the company's annual meeting Friday.

Those re-elected were: Steven J. Douglass, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Payless; Howard R. Fricke, chairman of the board for The Security Benefit Group of Companies; and Duane L. Cantrell, president of Payless.

The members were each re-elected to a three-year term which will expire in 2005.

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