Tesla appoints new board chair
DETROIT — Tesla's board has named one of its own as chairman to replace Elon Musk, complying with terms of a fraud settlement with U.S. securities regulators.
The electric car and solar panel company's board on Thursday named Australian telecommunications executive Robyn Denholm as chairman, effective immediately.
Denholm will step down as chief financial officer and strategy head at Australia's Telstra after a six-month notice period to work full-time at Tesla, where she has served on the board since 2014.
Musk will remain as Tesla's chief executive as part of the settlement deal with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The U.S. agency filed a lawsuit alleging that Musk duped investors in August with misleading statements on Twitter about securing the funding to take Tesla private.
"I believe in this company. I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value," Denholm said in a statement.
Ford buys electric scooter sharing company Spin
NEW YORK — Ford Motor Co. has bought an electric scooter sharing company, expanding its presence in alternative modes of transportation.
The century-old automobile company announced its acquisition of Spin, a San Francisco-based dockless scooter sharing company, on Wednesday.
Spin operates in 13 cities and campuses and allows riders to borrow a scooter for $1 and an additional 15 cents per minute.
Ford says the number of mobility options available to people has risen dramatically in recent years, and in some situations people use multiple forms of transportation during a single trip.
Ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft also have been investing in scooter sharing companies.
Ford also owns bike sharing system Ford Go Bike in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Financial terms of the Spin acquisition were not disclosed.
Report: Google eyes NYC expansion
NEW YORK — Google is planning a major expansion in New York City, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal .
The newspaper reported Wednesday that the company plans to add space for more than 12,000 additional New York workers. The Journal cited anonymous people familiar with the plans.
The paper said Google has New York real estate deals in the works that would give it room for nearly 20,000 workers. Those include buying or leasing a 1.3 million-square-foot building in the city's West Village neighborhood due to be completed by 2022.
A Google spokesperson said the company had no comment on the Journal report. The reported expansion of Google's workforce would almost match the 25,000 employees that Seattle-based Amazon is reportedly considering bring to New York's Long Island City as part of its own highly publicized search for new office locations.
Amazon would also reportedly add another 25,000 jobs to a location in Crystal City in northern Virginia near Washington, D.C.
New York and Washington, like other major cities with existing clusters of highly educated workers, research universities and other successful technology companies, are increasingly in demand as companies like Google and Amazon expand.
That creates a positive feedback loop that benefits these municipalities and concentrates opportunity in ways that risk leaving other parts of the country behind.
Coke drink plan hurts Monster
CORONA, Calif. — Shares of energy drink maker Monster Beverage Corp. tumbled after the company said its partner Coca-Cola Co. is developing energy drinks of its own.
Coke bought a stake in California-based Monster in 2014. At that time, Coke transferred its energy brands to Monster and agreed not to develop competing drinks.
But in a conference call with investors late Wednesday, Monster CEO Rodney Sacks said Coke is developing two energy drinks it believes are exceptions to the agreement.
Coke says Coca-Cola Energy and Coca-Cola Energy No Sugar wouldn't violate the agreement, which allows Coke to market energy drinks under its own name. But Monster is fighting their release. Both companies confirmed they have entered into arbitration.
FDA OKs return of popular asthma inhaler
TRENTON — A new version of the once-popular asthma inhaler Primatene Mist will soon return to U.S. stores.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the over-the-counter aerosol inhaler late Wednesday. It's for temporary relief of mild, intermittent asthma symptoms in people ages 12 and up.
The original Primatene Mist was pulled from store shelves seven years ago because the inhaler's ozone-depleting propellant had been banned. That version had been marketed for half a century, including in memorable TV ads .
The new product from Amphastar Pharmaceuticals uses a safer propellant. The inhaler will cost about $25 and should be available by the end of the year.
The FDA said in a statement that the inhaler should not be substituted for prescription treatments or used by people with severe asthma.
Nissan profit dips as sales fall
TOKYO — Japanese automaker Nissan reported Thursday an 8 percent fall in profit for the latest quarter as declining sales offset the benefits of cost cuts.
Nissan Motor Co.'s July-September profit totaled the U.S. equivalent of $1.1 billion Thursday.
Quarterly sales dipped nearly 3 percent to $24.8 billion.
Nissan, which makes the March subcompact, Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, stuck to its forecast for the fiscal year through March for a $4.4 billion profit on $106 billion in sales.
The company's chief financial officer, Hiroshi Karube, said Nissan's quarterly vehicle sales fell in North America and Europe, but rose in China, while they held relatively steady in Japan, compared to last year. He said Nissan was working hard to restore profitability in the key U.S. market. The rising cost of raw materials also eroded earnings, he said.
Tariffs on steel, aluminum and other raw materials announced by President Donald Trump have had some negative effect, but they were only a small part of the overall rising cost of raw materials, which dented profitability, Karube said.