Turmoil at Toshiba; Harleys Need Some Revvin’; Citibank Gets Busted

What’s cooking?

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Toshiba. It’s the computer with the great price tag but dude, it’s no Dell. Or Mac. Or HP. Or…well, you get the picture. What you may or may not have realized is that Toshiba is also involved in nuclear energy technology, except that after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, all 48 of its reactors are now offline. But now the company has a brand new disaster on its corporate hands as its CEO, Hisao Tanaka, and several of his subordinates unceremoniously resigned after it was discovered that there had been some major book cooking at the Japanese company. It seems that, during a seven year period, profits were inflated over 152 billion yen ($1.2 billion) all in the name of a challenge initiative that had company leaders setting unrealistic expectations in just about every single business area of the company, from chips to PC’s.  Instead of trying to engage in meaningful discussion that the goals were absurd and unattainable, employees just faked numbers. Which worked for a few years. Sort of. An independent investigation was launched to figure out the hows and whys. In the meantime, shares of Toshiba actually (and finally) went up on the news that members of its top brass were stepping down. At a press conference, Tanaka made a long bow meant to convey shame and remorse. Here in the United States we just settle for a perp walk and a costly, drawn out trial.

Not hog-ging the market…

Image courtesy of debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. came out with its earnings and they were nothing to get revved up about. The strong dollar totally messed with the bike maker’s figures and ultimately resulted in a smaller profit. But it wasn’t just the strong dollar that hurt sales. Foreign competitors decided to cut prices on their offerings, amping up the competition, and leaving Harley-Davidson to make fewer bikes. But 88,931 people did get themselves a new hog to ride, though it’s not as many as last year’s 90,218. No worries, however, as the company still  managed to beat analysts estimates by a bright, shiny nickel. The iconic cycle company pulled down a profit of close to $300 million adding $1.44 per share. Unfortunately that’s a 15% hit from last year’s second quarter profit of $354.2 million and $1.62 per share.

Now you’ve really done it…

Image courtesy of  Sura Nualpradid/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Citibank was behaving badly and now it has to pay $700 million in “consumer relief” to all the innocent credit card users who were duped by the bank’s deceptive and illegal practices. So how exactly did Citibank mislead its unsuspecting 7 million consumers? Well, for one, Citibank marketed products but conveniently neglected to mention or clearly articulate their costs.  As for those fraud-alert services, well there wasn’t much alerting when it came to “fraudulent purchases.” Instead, the service only alerted customers to when changes occurred in their files by credit reporting firms.  Then there were times when Citibank signed up folks for products and services for which they didn’t explicitly request, not to mention enrolling them in programs and then charging them for services for which they were not even eligible. How does that even work?

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