Business news

Alison Guillory / WABE

OnBoard has just completed its 2015 study with some surprising results. And the business climate in Georgia is looking favorable for women executives.

OnBoard is an organization that has been keeping track of the progress of women on corporate boards and in executive positions in Georgia for 23 years.

In 1993, women held only 4 percent of the seats on the boards of Georgia's public companies. By 2015, it is more than 12 percent, a record.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press, File

U.S. Attorney John Horn announced the indictment Tuesday of three people for allegedly hacking into the servers of E*TRADE and Scottrade, and gleaning the personal information of more than 10 million customers. Horn called the crime “one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history.”

But he says these were not typical hackers.

Manu Fernandez / Associated Press

Mobility Live! recently held its third annual conference in Atlanta.

And our city has another claim to fame. It’s a hub of mobile communications, one of the fastest growing technology sectors.

Atlanta has become such an important mobility hub that the international association for mobile companies has located its North American headquarters here.

The driver behind the city's mobility profile is AT&T Mobility, which is headquartered here. Top company executives are believers in Atlanta.

Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen /

Mercedes-Benz has naming rights to the new Atlanta Falcons football and Atlanta United soccer stadium in Atlanta.

On Tuesday night, Mercedes-Benz asked Sandy Springs City Council members to rename a street where its new headquarters will be. 

It would like a section of Barfield Road between Abernathy Road NE and Mount Vernon Highway NE to be renamed to Mercedes-Benz Drive.

Donna Boland with Mercedes-Benz said it's part of the company's tradition of more than 40 years.

Its former headquarters is on Mercedes Drive in Montvale, New Jersey. 

Michael Simmons /

Volkswagen is recalling nearly 92,000 cars in the U.S. to fix mechanical problems that can knock out the power-assisted brakes.

The recall includes the Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Passat models from 2015 and 2016. The cars have 1.8-liter and 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines.

The German automaker says a part in the camshaft can shear off, causing loss of vacuum in the power brakes. That can lengthen stopping distance and possibly cause a crash. The engines also will go into a reduced power mode to avoid further damage.

Comcast said it will build three new customer service call centers and add 5,500 customer service and social media team members over the next year to improve its relationship with customers.
Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

Comcast company officials said they know the company has a dismal reputation when it comes to customer service.   

So over the next year, Comcast plans to spend $300 million to improve customer service. It plans to add 5,500 employees and three new call centers to make customers happy.

Several hundred of those new social media and customer service jobs will be in metro Atlanta.


Georgia State University marketing professor Chris Lemley said he thinks it's obvious why Comcast is trying to improve.

Gov. Nathan Deal signs legislation to create an Opportunity School District in Georgia. The measure would allow the state to step in and help underperforming schools if voters approve it in the fall.
Brenna Beach / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal has announced the launch of a work-based learning initiative in the state.

Deal spoke Monday about the Georgia WorkSmart program at the King's Hawaiian facility in Flowery Branch, The Gainesville Times reports.

The program aims to fill job needs and workforce demands for local businesses through customized apprenticeships, internships and public-private partnerships. The program follows similar initiatives, such as the Go Build Georgia campaign and High Demand Career Initiative.

Jim Burress / WABE

In a move executives say will preserve 5,000 Atlanta jobs for the next three decades, Delta Air Lines announced Monday a first-of-its-kind partnership with jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

Delta's maintenance arm, TechOps, will become an independent Rolls-Royce maintenance center for three of the manufacturer’s latest Trent-series engines. Rolls-Royce spokesman Joel Reuter said it's the first time the manufacturer has certified a maintenance center in which it has no ownership.

Dan Raby / WABE

Over 1 million foreigners came to Atlanta in 2014, spending $1.4 billion.

That's 7 percent more visitors and 4 percent more spending compared to 2013, according to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

ACVB president and CEO William Pate says that when international tourists come to the U.S., they usually visit a region.

“And so Atlanta is a great gateway to the Southeast.  They come to Atlanta and they going to spend four or five days here and they’ll probably go to other destinations in the Southeast and return back to Atlanta to fly back,” Pate says.

Commentary: Amusement Rides Good For Downtown Atlanta

Oct 26, 2015
Skyview Atlanta

Who says the thrill is gone? If the owners of the SkyView Ferris wheel in downtown Atlanta have their way, the thrill is just beginning.

The owners plan to open a few new rides by next June, pending state and local approval.

The three new rides would offer people a variety of experiences. SkyDrop will strap people in a seated ride, elevate to 225 feet and drop in a free fall to the bottom in 4.6 seconds.

SkyShot will strap two people back to back and vault riders more than 200 feet into the air -- ending with either a free-fall descent or one with somersaults.

Coca-Cola Sees Drop In Soft Drinks, Growth In Water

Oct 21, 2015
Leo Hidalgo /

Fizzy soda is still Coca-Cola's biggest business, but that has been slowly changing.

The world's largest beverage maker got nearly three-quarters of its global sales volume from carbonated drinks last year. Yet most of its growth – 70 percent – came from non-carbonated drinks like bottled waters and teas in 2014, according to the company.

Apple Inc. says it has 15 million users on its streaming-music service, including 6.5 million paying subscribers.

Speaking at WSJDLive, The Wall Street Journal's global technology conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company has 6.5 million paying customers for Apple Music and 8.5 million customers on three-month trials.

The newspaper says in a report from Laguna Beach, California, posted early Tuesday on its website that Apple launched Apple Music on June 30 and offered every user a three-month trial period.

Elaborate new transmissions are helping automakers meet rising fuel economy standards, but they're also requiring more trips to the repair shop.

Transmission problems tripped up Honda, Nissan, Jeep and other brands in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey.

Lexus and Toyota — which rely on older transmissions in many of their models — were the best-performing brands. Audi, Mazda and Subaru rounded out the top five. The worst performers out of 28 brands were Infiniti, Cadillac, Ram, Jeep and Fiat.

Alison Guillory / WABE

“Closer Look” producer Eboni Lemon attended an event last week that’s part of a global movement, which has now made its way to Atlanta.

Local entrepreneurs gathered to talk about their biggest business failures and to encourage others to embrace mistakes made along the road to success.

It’s called “F-Up Night." 

Derreck Kayongo, founder of the Global Soap Project, was one of the entrepreneurs at the event discussing his mistakes, but he also explained how he uses failure in a positive way.

Courtesy of Office of Gov. Deal

So many players. So many agendas. So much history.

That sums up Atlanta's Westside, the impoverished communities located across Northside Drive from the new Mercedes-Benz stadium and the Georgia Dome.

All eyes are on West Atlanta as the Westside Future Fund begins fundraising and coordinating efforts to revamp the area.

The fund is a private entity, established by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in December 2014.  It is chaired by Richard Dugas, CEO of Pulte Homes.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has visited the northwest corner of the state to celebrate what officials say will be one of the biggest manufacturing employers for Dade County by next summer.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Deal and other state officials attended a ceremonial groundbreaking in Trenton for Vanguard National Trailer Corporation, a semitrailer manufacturer. The company's leaders expect to employ 400-450 local residents once the factory is operating at full production.

UPS is raising ground, air and freight rates by averages of around 5 percent as it seeks to boost revenue that has stagnated this year.

The Atlanta-based package delivery company said Thursday that on Oct. 26 freight rates will rise an average of 4.9 percent, and on Dec. 28, rates on ground shipping will increase 4.9 percent and air and international services will rise about 5.2 percent.


The final US Airways flight has begun its roundtrip journey between Philadelphia and San Francisco.

The plane is Flight 1939, named for the airline's founding year.

The flight left Philadelphia International Airport at 10:36 a.m. Friday — 31 minutes late.

The Airbus A321 will make scheduled stops in Charlotte, North Carolina, Phoenix and San Francisco before returning as a red-eye flight back to Philadelphia on Saturday.

All future flights will fly under the American Airlines banner, following the completion of a merger announced in 2013.

John Bazemore / AP Photo, File

Delta Air Lines is one of the biggest air carriers in the world, but it and other U.S. carriers are seeking federal protection and an advantage over their foreign competitors. 

Atlanta-based Delta has been lobbying the federal government for an edge over its Persian Gulf competition, such as Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. Delta contends the overseas carriers have an unfair advantage due to subsidies from their governments.

This DC-9 was delivered new to North Central Airlines in 1978. Thanks to airline mergers, it was absorbed by Republic then Northwest.  In 2008, Delta inherited the aircraft when it merged with Northwest.
Jim Burress / WABE News

Partly because of lower fuel prices, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines had more than $2 billion in profits during the first half of this year. 

But it announced its plans to lay off management and salaried workers, even though it's seeing record profits.

It will host its third-quarter earnings call Wednesday, and analysts will be looking to see how optimistic the company is. 

Seth Kaplan, managing partner at Airline Weekly, said the layoffs will be puzzling since Delta is doing really well.

In some states, but not yet in Georgia, you can buy gas at a pump and play the lottery while you wait.

Duluth-based NCR is in Las Vegas this week at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) convention, showing off its new "Play at the Pump" technology.

NCR is one of the largest consumer transaction companies in the U.S. It recently partnered with the inventors Atlanta-based Linq3.

Linq3 recently relocated its corporate headquarters to Atlanta from New York. 

Commentary: Atlanta Has Become A Hub For Negotiations

Oct 13, 2015
Cwolfsheep /


The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations agreed to a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Atlanta on Oct. 4. It took more than five years of difficult negotiations to hammer out this agreement.

Atlanta’s spirit of mediation fits right into the image that came out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.

Hala Moddelmog, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, called it a "thrill to host the final meeting -- the one when they reached an agreement -- in Atlanta."

Some See A Downside To A Minimum Wage Hike On Restaurants

Oct 12, 2015
David Goldman / Associated Press

A movement to increase the minimum wage is underway both nationally and in Georgia. But it’s a contentious topic at best.

The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour, and in Georgia it’s even lower at $5.15 an hour. Advocates pushing for an increase want a minimum of $15 an hour.

Most minimum-wage workers in Georgia are classified under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and are paid the federal minimum wage, but those not covered under the FLSA could be making the state wage of $5.15 an hour.

Former employees of the recently shuttered restaurant group Here to Serve and its 10 restaurants are suing the company for alleged unpaid wages.

The suit, filed in Atlanta's U.S. District Court, says Here to Serve violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay some employees earned wages and overtime from mid-September through Oct. 5.

A voting member of the Federal Reserve's policy committee says he believes the economy is on a satisfactory track and an increase in interest rates is likely to be appropriate in either October or December.

Dennis Lockhart, president of the Fed's Atlanta regional bank, says the economic data has been giving off mixed signals and there is more ambiguity in the data than there was a few weeks ago.

How To Have A Fun Halloween On A Skeleton Budget

Oct 8, 2015
Atlanta blogger Heidi Rew offers up tips for making homemade Halloween costumes that look great, but cost next to nothing. Retail experts estimate Americnas will spend more than $7 billion this Halloween.
Photos Courtesy of Heidi Rew

Halloween is fast approaching, but sometimes the high costs of celebrating All Hallow’s Eve can be a scary proposition.

Americans still spend more at Christmas, but retail experts estimate consumers will spend more than $7 billion this year to get their ghost on. After all, Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without costumes and candy, haunted houses and spooky spectaculars, decorations and more.

Fantasy Football Leagues At Center Of Real Investigation

Oct 8, 2015
Stephan Savoia / Associated Press

It started out as a very simple idea. Diehard sports fans created imaginary teams to compete against each other, often just for bragging rights, and sometimes for a little money. And fantasy sports leagues were born.

David Goldman / AP Photo

A movement to increase the minimum wage is underway both nationally and in Georgia, but the effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hours, either on the federal or state level, is a contentious one at best.

Most minimum wage workers in Georgia are classified under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and are paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but those not covered under the FLSA could be making as little as $5.15 an hour, the state's minimum wage.

Those working for tips, like restaurant workers, typically earn much less, around $2.15 an hour.

Stephen Morton / AP Photo/Georgia Port Authority

The U.S. trade deficit jumped sharply in August as exports fell to the lowest level in nearly three years while imports increased.

This jump possibly stunted efforts from Mayor Kasim Reed and the Metro Atlanta Chamber to get area businesses to sell more of their products abroad. The deficit grew 15.6 percent to $48.3 billion, the biggest deficit since March, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Exports of goods and services dropped 2 percent to $185.1 billion, the lowest level since October 2012, while imports rose 1.2 percent to $233.4 billion.

The front entrance of Southern Regional Healthcare Center in Riverdale, Georgia
Brenna Beech / WABE

Grady Memorial Hospital has backed out of a bid for acquiring Southern Regional Medical Center in Clayton County, leaving just one bidder left for the hospital. 

California-based Prime Healthcare Foundation submitted a of letter of interest in purchasing Southern Regional in July, but Grady joined with a last-minute bid on Sept. 25, just weeks before the scheduled auction.