Statewide: Triad region, December 2014

 In 2014-12
Filling doughnut holes

Jim Morgan, often credited with turning around Winston-Salem-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts since he was named CEO six years ago, has passed the baton to new leaders, some more versed in pepperoni than pastries. Tony Thompson, a former executive at Louisville, Ky.-based Papa Johns International who became CEO in June, is part of a management team in transition. Chief Financial Officer Douglas Muir will retire next year, and a search is under- way for his replacement. The company this summer cut another executive job, held by 19-year veteran Bradley Wall, that oversaw supply-chain and off-premise operations. Earlier in the year, Krispy Kreme hired Daniel Beem, former president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kahala Corp.’s Cold Stone Creamery, as its international chief. Thompson told analysts in September that his priorities include selling more beverages, adding wholesale products that have longer shelf lives and improving technology. He gave few specifics except that the company will offer its first customer-rewards program by the end of December. “I believe in the power of data to help us meet consumer needs,” Thompson, 47, says. “We’re working hard to catch up.” A director since 2000, Morgan, 66, was part of Krispy Kreme’s ascent in 2001-2003 and decline in 2004-2007 after the chain expanded rapidly and quality suffered. He became chairman in 2005, then CEO in 2008, guiding a rebound with company shares gaining more than 500% over the past five years, six times the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Morgan owns almost 2% of the shares, valued at about $25 million. Krispy Kreme diehards who hope the new guy doesn’t mess with the doughnut recipe should rest easy. “There will be an evolution of the same strategy as opposed to a revolutionary new strategy,” says Mark Kalinowski, a New York-based analyst at Philadelphia-based Janney Capital Markets who rates the stock a “buy.”


Briefs

BURLINGTONLaboratory Corporation of America Holdings will acquire Princeton, N.J.-based Covance for about $6.1 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. The medical-diagnostics company based here employs more than 34,000 people worldwide, including 6,800 in North Carolina. Covance, a contract-research organization, employs more than 12,500 in more than 60 countries.

HIGH POINTThomas Built Buses will invest $11.8 million and add up to 236 jobs next year to the 1,400 at its school-bus plant on the Guilford-Rockingham county line. Jobs will pay an average annual wage of more than $37,000, compared with Guilford’s $42,638 and Randolph’s $33,293. The subsidiary of Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG will receive $372,000 in local incentives.

ASHEBOROTechnimark will expand its headquarters and manufacturing plant here, investing $25.9 million and adding 163 jobs over three years. The company, owned since April by Chicago-based Pritzker Group, makes plastic components and employs more than 2,500 worldwide, including 1,000 here. Annual pay will average $33,352, about the same as Randolph County’s $33,293.

GREENSBOROHonda Aircraft began a $19 million, 74,000-square-foot headquarters expansion at Piedmont Triad International Airport. The expansion will bring its total square footage to more than 680,000. Opened in 2010, the subsidiary of Japan-based Honda Motor employs more than 1,200 people here. Its HondaJet light corporate aircraft is expected to receive FAA certification in 2015.

WINSTON-SALEMBB&T is expanding into New Jersey and Pennsylvania with the $2.5 billion purchase of Susquehanna Bancshares. The Lititz, Pa.-based bank has $18.6 billion in assets and 245 offices in those two states, Maryland and West Virginia. The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

GREENSBORONewBridge Bancorp will acquire Premier Commercial Bank for about $19.8 million. Premier operates one full-service branch here and six mortgage-origination offices in North Carolina. NewBridge has 40 branches in the state. The combined bank will have assets of $2.6 billion when the deal closes in the first quarter of 2015.  

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