Head of regional bank is resigning

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto will retire from the district bank early next year, according to an e-mailed statement.

Pianalto, 59, is the longest-serving of the Fed’s 12 regional presidents, having become leader of her regional bank in 2003. She joined the Cleveland Fed in 1983. She is scheduled to be a voting member of the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee in 2014.

“I have no immediate plans beyond continuing my involvement in civic and non-profit activities,” Pianalto said in the statement. “I will not consider any opportunities until my successor is in place.”

Presidents of the Fed’s district banks rotate voting on monetary policy, with the Cleveland Fed holding a vote next year. In her 10-year tenure, Pianalto never dissented from a monetary policy decision of the FOMC.

“We will miss her thoughtful insights and leadership across a broad range of issues, including monetary policy, payments policy and community development,” Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in the statement.

The Cleveland Fed’s board of directors has formed a search committee to appoint a successor. A final decision is “expected to be made in early 2014,” according to the statement.

— Bloomberg News

Honda Civic models tops in crash tests

Two redesigned Honda Civic models were the only small cars to get the top rating in stringent front-end crash tests performed by an insurance industry group.

Half of the 12 compact and subcompact cars tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety fared poorly. The popular Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic and the Volkswagen Beetle got “marginal” ratings, while the Nissan Sentra and the Kia Soul and 2014 Kia Forte were rated “poor.”

The two-door and four-door Civics earned “good” ratings, while the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and the 2014 Scion tC were “acceptable.”

The group didn’t test the Toyota Corolla because a new version is coming out in the fall. The Corolla is the No. 2-selling small car in the United States, behind the Civic.

The cars were rated for their performance in the insurance institute’s “small overlap” test of crashes that cover only 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end. These tests, added to the IIHS’s evaluations last year, are driving automakers to bolster the front-end structure of cars to avoid bad publicity from a poor performance.

The IIHS tests are more stringent than the U.S. government’s full-width front crash test.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

l  J.C. Penney shares jumped nearly 7 percent Thursday on a media report that the retailer is starting a search for a new chief executive. Mike Ullman, who held the post from 2004 to 2011, took back the reins in April after Penney CEO Ron Johnson was ousted after 17 months on the job because his radical makeover of the chain failed to boost results. Analysts had expected that Ullman’s second reign would be transitional. CNBC reported that the company is seeking a new chief and that activist investor Bill Ackman sent a letter to Penney’s board saying the process should be accelerated.

l  McDonald’s said a key sales figure edged up modestly in July as a bigger push behind its Dollar Menu and the Big Mac in the United States helped offset declines in other parts of the world. The world’s biggest hamburger chain said Thursday that global sales rose 0.7 percent at restaurants open at least 13 months. That included a 1.6 percent increase in the United States, where the company said “everyday value offerings,” breakfast and staples such as the Big Mac drove up results.

l  Blacksburg, Va.-based Intrexon raised $160 million in its initial public offering Thursday. The life sciences company saw its stock price surge during the first day of trading. Initially priced at $16 apiece, shares closed 55 percent higher at $24.73. Intrexon, which has a large office in Germantown, collaborates with other companies in sectors such as medicine, animal science and agriculture to engineer biological products and processes.

l  Steven A. Cohen got a temporary reprieve Thursday when Chief Administrative Law Judge Brenda P. Murray approved a request to stay a case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused the billionaire hedge fund manager of failing to supervise two of his employees. Federal prosecutors in New York had requested the stay until after criminal cases against the two former employees and Cohen’s $14 billion hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, were resolved.

— From staff reports
and news services

Coming Today

l  10 a.m.: Wholesale trade inventories for June released.