Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 23, 2017

Carlos Ghosn passes the baton at Nissan, Fed policymakers favor a rate hike "fairly soon," and more

1

Ghosn passes Nissan leadership to co-CEO

Nissan Motor Co. announced that Carlos Ghosn would leave his chief executive role at Japan's No. 2 automaker in April, handing control after 16 years to his recently appointed co-CEO, Hiroto Saikawa. Ghosn, revered in the industry for leading Nissan's comeback, will focus his cost-cutting expertise elsewhere in Nissan's alliance with Renault and newly added Mitsubishi Motors Corp., although he will still be Nissan's chairman. "There comes a time where you have to make some choices," Ghosn, 62, said Thursday. "I chose to pass the baton at Nissan."

2

Minutes show many at Fed ready for rate hike 'fairly soon'

Many Federal Reserve policymakers believe the central bank should hike interest rates "fairly soon," as long as employment and inflation data improve as expected, according to minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting. At that two-day meeting, which wrapped up on Feb. 1, the Fed left interest rates unchanged, partly due to uncertainty over President Trump's economic plans. Last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said it would be "unwise" to wait too long to raise rates again, although the minutes did not appear to raise the odds of a hike at the Fed's next meeting in March. U.S. stocks weakened after the minutes' release, but stocks in the U.S. and overseas remain at or near record levels on Thursday.

3

Emails suggest close ties between new EPA chief and energy executives

Thousands of emails made public on Wednesday confirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency's new administrator, Scott Pruitt, had extensive ties to the oil and gas industry in his previous job as Oklahoma's attorney general. Pruitt had extensive communications with industry executives about how to fight what they saw as "overreach" in federal environmental regulations, a cause he has vowed to make a priority in his new position. The emails include exchanges between Pruitt's office and Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy, which helped draft and edit letters that Pruitt sent to federal officials to argue against new environmental regulations.

4

Tesla shares rise as company stays 'on track' to start Model 3 production

Tesla shares gained more than 2 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the electric car maker reported a larger than expected fourth quarter loss, but sales that exceeded analysts' predictions. Tesla also announced that its chief financial officer, Jason Wheeler, would leave in late April, and be replaced by former CFO Deepak Ahuja. The company said it remained "on track" to start production of its Model 3 sedan in July.

5

Trump meets with corporate leaders in bid to reverse offshoring

President Trump is meeting with a group of business leaders on Thursday to discuss ways to increase employment at U.S. factories, as Trump has promised. The group will include executives from Caterpillar, United Technologies, Dana Inc., 3M, and General Electric, which are cutting 2,300 U.S. jobs over the next two years as they offshore work to Mexico, China, India, and other countries. Reuters said it was unclear whether the other companies also had plans to send jobs overseas. Trump plans to ask the executives "why they're going offshore," a White House aide said.

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