Coca-Cola said outgoing chairman and chief executive Douglas N. Daft will step down from those positions Tuesday, instead of the end of the year, as the company said in February. Also Tuesday, E. Neville Isdell, a former top official for one of its bottlers, will take over as the head of Coca-Cola. . It is not clear how long or in what capacity Daft will remain at the company.
Qwest Executive Reaches Plea Deal
A former Qwest Communications executive accused in a $34 million fraud case pleaded guilty to a single felony charge and agreed to help prosecutors, giving the government its first victory in the criminal investigation of the telecommunications giant. Grant Graham, 38, pleaded guilty to a count of accessory to wire fraud with reckless indifference. The case centers on the government's allegation that Qwest officials improperly booked nearly $34 million in revenue during a 2001 deal to link Arizona schools to the Internet. Last month, a jury acquitted Graham of three wire fraud charges and deadlocked on eight counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy and making a false statement.
Delta Air Lines has hired a law firm specializing in restructuring and a financial advisory consultant to discuss options in case it files for bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported, citing a person close to the situation. Delta has warned of the possibility of bankruptcy if its pilots don't agree to significant wage cuts.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has such lax information security that major losses of money, information and other data are possible, according to a report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
United Airlines canceled a $10 fare increase on most round-trip ticket prices after one day. An attempt by major carriers to raise fares to recoup rising fuel costs was scrapped last week, mainly because Northwest Airlines declined to fully match the higher prices.
Anheuser-Busch was ordered by a federal judge to pull some ads in a new campaign that tweaks Miller Brewing for being foreign-owned. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee said posters displayed in liquor stores falsely state Miller is owned by South African Breweries. Philip Morris, which owned Miller, sold it in 2002 to South African Brewers, which formed a new company called SABMiller, based in London.
Murphy Oil was fined $70,000 by Minnesota's Commerce Department for charging too little for gasoline at its stations in the state, most of them at Wal-Mart stores. A 2001 state law adopted to protect small service-station businesses requires stations to charge at least 8 cents per gallon, plus taxes, more than they paid for it.
The domestic shrimp industry said four of six countries it accused of dumping shrimp on the U.S. market violated trade laws by increasing exports after they learned about the threat of legal action. Lawyers for the Southern Shrimp Alliance asked the Commerce Department to impose three more months of tariffs retroactively on shrimp from China, India, Thailand and Vietnam. The Commerce Department said it would rule on the new complaint in July when it issues a preliminary decision on the original action.
Ahold was reprimanded by the European stock exchange Euronext, which said the firm violated market rules by not disclosing until Feb. 24, 2003, accounting problems that brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy last year. Euronext said Ahold, which owns Giant supermarkets and the Columbia-based U.S. Foodservice, should have warned the market by Feb. 14, 2003, when it learned of an "evidently major case of fraud at U.S. Foodservice."
Royal Dutch/Shell Group restated its 2003 financial results to $12.5 billion in profit on revenue of $268.9 billion, down from $12.7 billion on sales of $269.1 billion, in an annual report delayed two months because of scandal from its downgrading of its oil and gas reserves.
Brazil will withdraw a trade complaint it filed against the United States at the World Trade Organization in 2002 alleging unfair protection of its citrus industry, because Florida reduced a tax on imported orange juice concentrate, a top Brazilian official said.
The European Union blamed rising oil prices for pushing euro-zone inflation to a two-year high of 2.5 percent in May, from 2 percent in April, but shrugged off the economic impact of the increase.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers