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NCR's Hurd to fill HP CEO's position SAN JOSE - Hewlett-Packard Co. has hired away NCR Corp.'s chief executive in the latest attempt to fix its mounting internal problems and refocus the computer giant on growth and innovation.

In tapping Mark Hurd to replace ousted CEO Carly Fiorina, HP is getting a well-regarded executive who has garnered accolades in recent years for turning around NCR's sagging profits and slacking innovation - problems similar to those he now must tackle at HP.

Blockbuster pays for late-fee ads

DALLAS - Blockbuster Inc. agreed to make refunds to consumers after officials in 47 states charged that the nation's largest movie-rental chain deceived the public with advertisements that proclaimed the end of late fees.

Dallas-based Blockbuster also agreed to pay the states about $630,000 to reimburse them for the costs of their investigations into consumer complaints and said it would change the advertising of its late-fee policy.

Blockbuster, however, said it would not scrap the fees - only do a better job of disclosing them.

Hamilton Beach to pay hefty fine

WASHINGTON - A leading appliance maker has agreed to pay a $1.2 million penalty to settle allegations it belatedly reported defects in three kitchen products linked to fires and injuries such as cuts and burns.

The civil penalty on Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex Inc. marks the fourth largest from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which last week announced a record $4 million settlement with a popular maker of baby products - part of what the agency says is a renewed effort to hold companies accountable.

The CPSC planned to announce the penalty today.

The Glen Allen, Va.-based appliance company allegedly failed to immediately report problems with its countertop toasters, juice extractors and slow cookers, which were on store shelves at various times from 1992 to 2002 and - following revelations of defects - recalled by the millions.

Jobs worry hurts consumer outlook

NEW YORK - Worries about jobs resulted in a second consecutive monthly decline in consumer confidence in March, a private research group said Tuesday.

The consumer confidence index dropped 2 points to 102.4, down from a revised 104.4 in February, according to The Conference Board. Analysts had expected a reading of 103. The index had fallen by a revised 0.7 point in February. The March figure was the lowest since November, when the reading was 92.6.

The Expectations Index, one component of the confidence index that measures consumers' outlook over the next six months, declined to 93.7 from 96.1 last month. The Present Situation Index slipped to 115.6 from 116.8.

Buffett witness in suspicious deal

NEW YORK - Investigators in the New York Attorney General's Office are examining communications involving the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren E. Buffett, and the head of a Berkshire unit who arranged a questionable transaction with American International Group's former chief executive, Maurice R. Greenberg.

Buffett, who has been cooperating with the inquiry, is a witness in the investigation and is not a target, according to a person briefed on the actions.

Spitzer's office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the questionable use of a product known as finite reinsurance that can be used to make a company appear stronger than it really is. The focus of the investigation is a transaction in late 2000 between the General Re Corp., a Berkshire affiliate, and AIG, the world's leading insurance company.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 30, 2005
Words:572
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