Statewide: Triangle region, February 2015

 In 2015-02

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More than 100 Triangle companies are banding together to lure a new international flight to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The Regional Transportation Alliance launched a $500,000 initiative in December to market and recruit a nonstop flight overseas, likely to western Europe — Paris and Germany are top contenders. That’s in addition to $500,000 pledged by the Airport Authority. RDU opened Terminal 2 in 2008 and reopened Terminal 1 last spring, capping years of construction and renovation to make it more appealing to travelers and airlines. The airport has played second fiddle to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the American Airlines Group hub that had more than four times the number of passengers in 2014. American has offered flights between RDU and London for more than two decades, but boosters want more for an area that added 900,000 people since 1990. “It’s going to help many companies become more successful,” says alliance Executive Director Joe Milazzo. “That new flight might make the difference for a com- pany expanding.” Not everyone traveling to Europe will have a final destination of France or Germany, but it would improve travel efficiency. An expanding tech industry and the Triangle’s research universities provide a steady base of customers. “Direct access to a major European site also improves access to Asia, a market that has become increasingly important to our business,” says Steve Brechbiel, senior director for corporate communication at Durham-based Quintiles and the alliance’s membership development vice chair. “But this initiative is not only about access for us to Europe and Asia, it is also about access to the Triangle from those growth markets.” Ultimately, airlines will make the decision, but RDU could sweeten the pot by using fundraising proceeds to provide revenue guarantees during the flight’s initial months.

Briefs

CARY — Alimentation Couche-Tard will acquire The Pantry for $1.7 billion, including debt. The transaction is expected to close by June 30. Based here, The Pantry operates 1,512 convenience stores in 13 states, primarily under the Kangaroo Express banner, and employs 3,600 people in North Carolina. Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard has more than 6,300 convenience stores in North America.

RALEIGHSalix Pharmaceuticals CEO Carolyn Logan, 65, planned to retire Jan. 30 after 12 years at the post. Chairman Tom D’Alonzo was named acting chief executive until the company hires a successor. The drug developer, based here, also said it is reducing its inventory at a faster pace and will reach its target by the end of 2015, a year earlier than previously planned.

RALEIGH — UNC Health Care affiliate Rex Healthcare named Steve Burriss interim president, replacing David Strong, who is leaving to lead Orlando Health, an eight-hospital system based in Florida. An employee of Rex since 1998, Burriss has been chief operating officer since April 2012.

CARY — Christopher Chung became CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on Jan. 12. The Ohio native replaces interim CEO Richard Lindenmuth, who remains a consultant to the public-private partnership that oversees the state’s job recruitment. Chung, 38, was CEO since 2007 of the Missouri Partnership, where he helped recruit more than 10,000 jobs since 2010.

DURHAMScioderm raised $20 million in a financing led by San Francisco-based Redmile Group. The company plans to use the proceeds to develop Zorblisa, a treatment for a rare skin disease. Scioderm was co-founded here in 2012 by CEO Robert Ryan.

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