Women on Illinois corporate boards: one is the loneliest number

By Kate Morrissey

When Victoria Medvec heard a recent Catalyst report about the small percentage of women on corporate boards, she had one question, “Who are they?”

She wanted to call the two companies in Illinois that had no women.

Medvec, the executive director for the Kellogg Center for Executive Women at Northwestern University, said companies that include women on their boards end up with a higher quality board because they are pulling from a larger talent pool that includes greater diversity in experience and perspective. The center offers leadership workshops to executive-minded women and keeps a database of attendees to help board searches find qualified women.

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AbbVie expenses yield loss, stock falls

by Jin Wu

AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV), the Illinois-based biopharmaceutical company separated from Abbott Laboratories in 2013, reported lower profits in both the fourth quarter and the full year due to foreign currency volatility and expenses of the terminated acquisition of Shire Plc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Ireland. The stock dropped 4.3 percent.

For the quarter ended December 31, AbbVie swung to a loss of $810 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, from earnings of $1.13 billion, or 70 cents per diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter. The diluted EPS missed the negative 44 cents consensus estimate. Continue reading

Puppies, domestic violence focus of Super Bowl ads

By Lukas Voss

Wedged between Cris Collinsworth´s analysis and Katy Perry´s elaborate halftime extravaganza, a 911 call involving a pizza delivery halted the usual Super bowl commercial landscape.

The NFL, in collaboration with NO MORE, a campaign to raise awareness and end domestic violence, used its airtime during the biggest television event of the year to air the first-ever public announcement against domestic violence during the Super Bowl.

Many people were genuinely impressed with the ad on twitter with reactions ranging from being completely floored by its content, to supporting NO MORE in the effort to publicize the issue of domestic violence. Continue reading

VIDEO: “Decorative board up” in Humboldt Park puts new face on vacant properties

By Michaela Meaney

Many of Chicago’s vacant properties are subject to crime – or worse – demolition.  The Neighborhood Foundation, a Bridgeport-based organization, is working to change that in Humboldt Park with something called “decorative board up.”

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Boeing takes off in fourth quarter

By Bethel Habte

Boeing Co. reported a 19 percent increase in profits and record revenues in its fourth quarter. The stock rose 5.4 percent.

The company credited its strong showing to a wave of new orders in the commercial sector and international contracts.

The aircraft manufacturer made $1.47 billion in profits in the quarter-ended Dec. 31, compared with $1.23 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Boeing’s earnings per diluted share widened to $2.02 from $1.61. Continue reading

Zimmer Q4 earnings beat estimates

by Jin Wu

Zimmer Holdings Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZMH), the Indiana-based joint replacement manufacturer, reported lower profits in both the fourth quarter and the full year due to foreign currency volatility and expenses of its pending merger with Biomet Inc., another medical devices manufacturer.

For the quarter ended December 31, Zimmer earned $156.6 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, down 33.6 percent from $235.9 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, in the year-earlier quarter. The diluted EPS missed the $1.44 analysts’ estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Continue reading

VIDEO: New United Center office building means new jobs on the Near West Side

By Courtney Dillard

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the construction of a new office building for United Center employees last week. Construction of the new building will bring 300 jobs to the Near West Side. United Center officials say they are excited that they can create a better experience for fans, but they also hope to bring economic opportunity to the neighborhood.

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Illinois Saw the Largest Unemployment Rate Decline in U.S.

By Lucy Ren

Thirty states had statistically significant unemployment rate declines over the year of 2014, the largest of which occurred in Illinois, while the only significant rate increase occurred in Louisiana, according to a release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Continue reading

McDonald’s Corp. announces new CEO

By Alysha Khan

After a disappointing fourth quarter and year, McDonald’s Corp. announced that CEO Don Thompson will retire as of March 1. The stock jumped 3 percent after hours.

“It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything,” Thompson said in a press release.

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Durable goods industry slips following strong year for manufacturing

By Bethel Habte

The manufactured durable goods industry performed below analyst expectations in December, though the decrease followed a strong year for the manufacturing industry.

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