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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2011

POSTED: Monday, March 21, 2011, 12:01 PM

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania is going back to high school.

Not for remedial economics or to try to pass Phys. Ed., but as part of a mission to boost the financial literacy of students younger than its usual audience.

On Monday, the gold standard of business schools will launch a version of its Knowledge@Wharton website geared toward high school students and their teachers.

POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011, 11:53 AM

Protesters interrupted a speech by Sunoco Inc. chairman and chief executive Lynn L. Elsenhans at a luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on Thursday afternoon.

The head of the Philadelphia oil refiner and marketer was being honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce with its Paradigm Award, given to a businesswoman whose accomplishments are seen as a model of success.

It’s rare for protesters to crash usually staid chamber of commerce events. But then, few Paradigm Award winners have enacted such sweeping changes through their organizations as Elsenhans has since becoming CEO in August 2008. She sold its chemicals business, closed or sold three of its five refineries, laid off hundreds of workers, and announced plans to spin off its SunCoke Energy business.

POSTED: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 2:59 PM

Protesters interrupted a speech being given by Sunoco Inc. chairman and chief executive Lynn L. Elsenhans at a luncheon at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Thursday afternoon.

The head of the Philadelphia oil refiner and marketer was being honored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce with its Paradigm Award, given to a businesswoman whose accomplishments are seen as a model of success.

As Elsenhans began her speech, several protesters who'd been seated in the ballroom stood and walked toward the podium, carrying a sign, as another addressed the audience of about 750 people by asking, "Does anyone see a leader here?"

POSTED: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 12:43 PM
Filed Under: Corporate Governance

Former Enron Corp. director Herbert "Pug" Winokur Jr. said he remains "surprised by the interest" in the energy firm nearly 10 years after its collapse.

I'd called him about his donation to a Wilmington business history museum of the board minutes, memos and other documents he'd collected as a longtime board member of Enron. Earlier this week, I wrote about the Hagley Museum & Library's posting them online.

With the litigation involving Enron long over, Winokur said he wanted to do something with the boxes of his Enron papers other than throwing them away. While Congressional investigations and court records involving Enron are widely available online, the board minutes were not, he said.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:10 PM

It's great that the federal bank bailout program known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program will cost taxpayers much less than the $356 billion originally projected.

At $25 billion, the cost is still large. But as the Congressional Oversight Panel said in its final report on the Treasury Department's implementation of TARP, what's unknown is how much the success of TARP in stabilizing the financial system may cost us in the future because the federal government showed its willingness in a crisis to rescue anything deemed "too big to fail."

In particular, the panel took aim at the bailouts of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler L.L.C., two enormous employers certainly, but did they pose a systemic financial risk to the U.S. economy? I don't think so, and TARP's overseers said so in that report released Wednesday:

POSTED: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 11:50 AM

The Enron scandal still has much to teach us nearly a decade after it was uncovered.

The collapse of the Houston energy marketer in 2001 was a spectacular failure of corporate governance and auditing integrity.

And now, thanks to the donation of board minutes and other documents by former Enron board member Herbert “Pug” Winokur Jr., the Hagley Museum & Library has posted online the paper record of those once dubbed “the smartest guys in the room.”

POSTED: Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 11:53 AM
Filed Under: Small Business | Technology

Video-phone maker WorldGate Communications Inc. is once again facing a cash crunch and has responded by beginning to cut its workforce by 65 percent.

In addition, its chief executive officer and chief financial officer have both resigned as WorldGate’s board of directors considers a wide range of options, including a possible sale, financial reorganization, or even ceasing operations.

The Trevose company said it would lay off 28 employees as a result of its “previously announced liquidity issues,” according to a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

POSTED: Monday, March 14, 2011, 12:09 PM
Filed Under: Small Business | Technology

Facing a cash crunch, WorldGate Communications Inc. on Monday said that it is considering a wide range of options, including a sale, financial reorganization or even ceasing operations.

The Trevose maker of the Ojo video phone disclosed its current financial difficulties in a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said that had made a request to its largest shareholder, WGI Investor L.L.C., for funds under a $7 million revolving loan agreement between WorldGate and WGI. That request was turned down, the SEC filing states.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

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