Business Briefs – May 22, 2017

Ford Taps Former Office Furniture Executive to Be New CEO

DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) – The job of Ford’s new CEO won’t be easy: He will have to shore up the 114-year-old company’s traditional auto business, but also invest in self-driving cars and other projects that could one day make that business obsolete. Ford thinks Jim Hackett is up to the task. The 62-year-old former chief executive of office furniture maker Steelcase was named to the post Monday, just three days after former CEO Mark Fields told the company he wanted to retire.

Ford replaced CEO Mark Fields as it struggles to keep the traditional parts of its business running smoothly while it tries to remake itself as a nimble, high-tech automaker. In Fields’ three years as CEO, popular cars like the Fusion sedan became dated and Ford lagged competitors in bringing long-range electric cars to market. Ford’s new CEO is Jim Hackett, who has led Ford’s mobility unit for more than a year.

Ford added 23 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $11.10. The stock is down 8.5 percent this year.

Leaks Found on Dakota Access Pipeline System

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline and a feeder line leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in North Dakota in March. Both spills have been cleaned up. No people, wildlife or waterways were affected, according to North Dakota’s health department. The pipeline’s developer maintains it is safe, but several tribes in the Dakotas fear environmental harm and are fighting in federal court to shut it down.

Insurers Seek Stability as President Delays Health Care Decision

WASHINGTON (AP) – Uncertainty over the future of health care for millions next year is growing deeper. Insurers have released a framework for stabilizing wobbly markets. But the Trump administration is seeking a delay in a court case, leaving in limbo the fate of billions of dollars to reduce deductibles and copayments. Insurers now trying to price their policies for 2018 say they need to know if the money will continue to be provided. Democrats say the administration is engaging in a cynical ploy.

EU Nations Set Tough Negotiating Mandate for Brexit Talks

BRUSSELS (AP) – The 27 European Union nations handling Britain’s exit from the bloc set a tough negotiating mandate for the talks, the EU’s chief negotiator said Monday, stressing that the discussions would be tension-filled.

The talks will quickly center on the tens of billions in costs London would be expected to pay for the divorce.

EU ministers built on the strong stance which was reached unanimously at an EU summit last month, and further tightened the legal wording in the mandate for Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

The 27 ministers said in a statement Britain “must honor its share of all the obligations undertaken while being a member” and also “fully cover the specific costs related to the withdrawal, such as the relocation of EU agencies currently based in the U.K.”