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Massey CEO announces his retirement

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Massey Energy chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship announced Friday that he will retire at the end of the month, ending a nearly 30-year career that included big profits for the company but also labor conflicts, battles with federal regulators and a mine explosion that killed 29 people.

The company's board named current president Baxter F. Phillips Jr. as Blankenship's successor, effective Friday. Blankenship's retirement date is Dec. 31.

Blankenship has served as chairman and CEO since 2000. He leaves as Massey's safety practices are under investigation by federal and state regulators after the April 5 explosion at the company's Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia - the worst U.S. coal mining disaster since 1970.

Massey's board is also reviewing its strategic options. In recent weeks there have been reports that Massey is a possible takeover target for rivals such as Alpha Natural Resources and steel industry giant ArcelorMittal SA.

Based in Richmond, Massey is the nation's fourth-largest coal producer by revenue. It operates 19 mining complexes in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.

- Associated Press

LEGAL

Viacom appeals ruling in YouTube case

Viacom is appealing a court decision that YouTube obeyed copyright laws even though the Internet video site used to show thousands of pirated clips. The challenge filed Friday in a federal appeals court in New York had been expected since a June ruling rebuffed Viacom's copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and its owner, Google.

Viacom had sought more than $1 billion in damages, citing copyright violations involving material taken from various Viacom outlets, including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

But U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled YouTube couldn't be held liable because it promptly removed illegal content after being notified, concluding that was enough to insulate it from claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

In its appeal, Viacom says Stanton misinterpreted that law because YouTube knew its site was swamped with pirated material but didn't prevent the abuses because it realized professionally produced content would draw more viewers.

- Associated Press

Also in Business

l Top Giant official leaving: Robin Michel is stepping down as president of the Giant Landover division at the end of this month, said the grocery chain's parent company, Ahold USA. Michel could not be reached for comment Friday, but the company said she is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Don Sussman, executive vice president of supply chain at Ahold USA, will manage the division's operations until a replacement it found. Michel joined Giant in 2008 from Roundy's Supermarket in Milwaukee.

- Danielle Douglas

l SAIC wins new trial: A unit of defense contractor SAIC won a new trial of U.S. claims that it failed to disclose conflicts of interest before seeking payment from the federal government. A U.S. appeals court in Washington ruled Friday that flawed instructions were given to a jury that in 2008 found the company liable for $5.92 million in damages. The jury had concluded that the company breached its government contract by making 77 false claims and statements to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

- Bloomberg News


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