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Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Briefcase

March 30, 2005

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AIG leader to retire amid company probe

Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, who built American International Group Inc. into one of the world's largest insurers, is retiring as chairman, two weeks after board members ousted him as chief executive because of intensifying regulatory probes into the company's past financial transactions.

Greenberg departs as he and the company face an expanding probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission and New York State Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer.

Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. confirmed Tuesday that its chairman and CEO, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, has been called by regulators to answer questions regarding AIG next month.

Movie rentals

Blockbuster reaches deal over 'no late fees'

Blockbuster Inc. has agreed to make refunds to customers -- and pay an additional $630,000 -- to settle allegations the movie rental chain deceived people with its "No Late Fees" campaign.

The agreement was announced Tuesday between Blockbuster and 47 states and the District of Columbia.

Under the settlement, Dallas-based Blockbuster must make refunds to customers who claim the campaign misled them into thinking they could keep the video or DVD for as long as they liked.

Also, Blockbuster agreed to pay the states about $630,000 to reimburse them for the costs of their investigations into consumer complaints. Kansas will receive $8,000.

Customers who feel they were misled must fill out a form available at Blockbuster stores.

Retail

Payless ShoeSource hires new ad agency

The ad agency that handles Donatos Pizza, L.L. Bean and Marvin Windows is adding another client to its list: Payless ShoeSource.

Topeka-based Payless announced Tuesday that it had selected Minneapolis-based Martin/Williams Inc., part of Omnicom Group Inc., as the retailer's new creative agency of record.

The agency's responsibilities take effect immediately and include planning and creative development of Payless' broadcast advertising in the United States and Canada. New ads are expected to be ready for air this fall.

Martin/Williams -- which also has done work for Target and Staples -- beat out Cramer-Krasselt, of Chicago, and Saatchi & Saatchi, of New York.

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