Winners and Losers: Disney CEO Gives Time; Tiffany Exec Steals Diamonds
Disney (DIS) -- Winner
The rule is: If it isn't broke, don't fix it. So it was welcome news to see Disney CEO Bob Iger amend his contract to remain CEO through the first half of 2016. He had previously indicated that he'd be leaving that job 15 months earlier, and assuming the role of executive chairman.
The extension may be unsettling to those company executives who had been maneuvering for the job in the expectation that it would come open sooner, but the company has fared well during Iger's tenure,and the knowledge that he will continue to steer it a bit longer ultimately gives shareholders peace of mind.
Disney shares hit an all-time high in May.
Tiffany (TIF) -- Blunder
Tiffany apparently had a jewelry thief among its executive ranks.
Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun -- a vice president at the upscale retailer until she was let go in a wave of layoffs in February -- was arrested on Tuesday, charged with stealing more than $1.2 million worth of jewelry between November of last year and her dismissal in February.
Starbucks (SBUX) -- Winner
The baron of baristas wants to be a pop star. Starbucks is expanding its test of handcrafted sodas that began in some of its Seattle stores three months ago. Starbucks locations in Atlanta and Austin now find baristas fizzing up ginger ale, spiced root beer, and lemon ale soft drinks.
You can't beat the timing. Cool refreshments are preferable to Starbucks' signature hot brews as temperatures heat up during the summer. The move also gives the chain more options for customers that may not necessarily want a caffeinated tea or coffee kick. This is still only a test, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see this roll out nationwide in the coming months.
Microsoft (MSFT) -- Blunder
You know things are bad at your company when you're losing a top executive to Zynga (ZNGA).
Don Mattrick was the Xbox president until stepping down this week to serve as CEO of Zynga.
Microsoft's new Xbox One was already destined to face some challenges when it hits the market in November as the most expensive and restrictive of the three next-gen console systems, but now the software giant is going to have to have reshuffle its executive roles to make things run smoothly.
It also probably doesn't say a lot about Microsoft's prospects in a market that it has dominated lately when its gaming boss bolts for a social and casual gaming company where executive defections have been the norm.
This is good news for Zynga, but bad news for Microsoft.
Southwest (LUV) -- Winner
Flying on Southwest won't be as boring as it used to be. The low-cost carrier is teaming up with DISH Network (DISH) to offer live Web-served content to passengers aboard Southwest's more than 400 WiFi-enabled airplanes. Passengers won't even have to pay for the perk. For now, DISH Network is covering the cost of providing 14 live TV channels and 75 on-demand shows in exchange for promotional help.
Unlike other carriers that offer seatback monitors for video entertainment, Southwest's platform will provide video through its on-board WiFi to the tablets, smart phones, and laptops that customers bring with them. It's less expensive for Southwest, and it will help promote the country's second largest satellite television provider's new streaming features.
Everyone wins -- except for that guy in 13B who just loves to be bored.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Starbucks, and Walt Disney. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.