February 6th, 2005

Hermione - Know everything

Business Tales

Some of last year's best business stories that you might have missed :

1) After joining the Bank of Ireland as CEO, Michael Soden issues a dictate: No porn surfing on the job. His next dictate: The IT department is to be outsourced to Hewlett-Packard. Shortly after the outsourcing deal goes through, IT staffers, now employed by HP, discover porn on Soden's computer. Soden resigns, leaving the bank and HP scrapping over who should pay his severance, estimated at $5 million.

2) James Joseph Minder, chairman of gunmaker Smith & Wesson, is forced to resign when newspaper reporters discover that, before becoming a corporate exec, he'd spent 15 years behind bars for a string of armed robberies and an attempted prison escape.

3) In March, Italian firm Comet Records releases Burning House of Love, by Great White, the band whose onstage pyrotechnics started a nightclub fire in Rhode Island that killed 96 people in 2003. The band disclaims any connection with the release, saying it was unauthorized. The label, which licensed the release through a New Jersey firm, apologizes, saying the employee who picked the title wasn't aware of the fire. An understandable mistake—after all, the blaze was only covered in more than 800 newspapers worldwide.

4) "I give Gene permission to bust my behind any way he sees fit." — Agreement given to female workers at Tasty Flavors Sno Biz in Red Bank, Tenn. The owner of the shaved ice operation is charged in November with two counts of sexual battery after it dawns on a pair of 19-year-old ex-employees that spankings are not a professionally sanctioned management tool.