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Lithia Motors hit with loss of $5.1 million

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MEDFORD Lithia Motors will slow acquisitions but push on with plans to build a new headquarters despite reporting a preliminary $5.1 million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2007.

Sid DeBoer, chairman and CEO for the Medford-based auto dealer, blamed the loss in part on recessionary market conditions and lower customer counts at most of the company’s 110 stores.

“Since we sell a large ticket to the consumer, discretionary products that must be financed, we felt the impact,” he said in the company’s fourth-quarter conference call. In response, he said the company would cut personnel, advertising, travel and other costs going forward.

President and CEO Bryan DeBoer said during the call that acquisitions would be scaled back, though no specifics were provided. Last year Lithia Motors added five stores in two states.

The company will break ground this spring on its $150 million headquarters in downtown Medford, and Robert Sacks, community relations director for Lithia, says he knows of no plans to scale back the development, set to be finished in 2010.

JAMIE HARTFORD



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Power Play

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

In this issue, we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not just about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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