We know by the traffic it generates you love IL’s Monday Business Briefings, and staffers and insiders love bringing it to you.
But it’s gotten to the point we have far more business news than we can squeeze into one post. So, rather than sit on what we know, we’ve created “The Closing Bell,” an end-of-week update.
This is the “don’t know where to start edition” after shocking revelations last week about Kosair Charities suing Norton Healthcare over alleged lack of financial transparency, and University of Louisville Trustee Steve Wilson, CEO of 21c Museum Hotels, asking for greater transparency from the James Ramsey administration.
We’ve probably told you more than you want to know about all that transparency, or lack of. So we’re going to go easy on you and give you a sampler platter of quick, tasty hits.
If you’re as beat as we are, take the weekend off, head for the Buy Local Fair at the Water Tower, and treat yourself to something nice. Tell your CEO that Insider Louisville said you earned it. And if you are the CEO, well, you don’t have to ask.
• A bit of a tease before the Monday Business Briefing: Prime Lounge is about to become prime real estate, with the building next door to Steve Poe’s planned Aloft Hotel. But the club is no more. Contractors were on the job Thursday, part of an ambitious project at the historic, strategic building at 106 W. Main St., just across from Whiskey Row.
We’ve been sitting on this for waaaay too long. But Prime Lounge closed yesterday, so we feel like we can tell you Cafe Press co-founder Fred Durham will turn the building into the long-rumored restaurant incubator and at least one other business. More as we know more.
• Sources tell us Catholic Health Initiatives CEO Kevin Lofton is in town, meeting in executive session with the board of directors at subsidiary KentuckyOne Health. Which typically means personnel issues. Which typically means big changes in the executive suites.
Not sure who they have left after at least 500 layoffs over the past months starting in February. IL broke the news then that cuts began with closing some pediatric psychiatry facilities at Our Lady of Peace after CEO Ruth Brinkley announced KentuckyOne had to cut $218 million from its budget by 2015.
To get some idea of how much cutting that is, $218 million roughly equals 20 percent of Norton Healthcare’s entire 2013 budget! We polled KentuckyOne workers downtown, and they told us most of those cuts were nurses, support personnel and technicians. At the time, the cuts hadn’t made it to administrative staff.
Lofton had been president and CEO at of the Denver-based system since 2003. But in a restructuring last February, he lost the president position. Lofton still oversees strategic direction and acquisitions. And, by the way, KentuckyOne is a huge drain on CHI financially. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in those meetings.
• An interesting tip yesterday: This year’s GLI GLIDE Trip is headed for Charlotte to find out why that city is so successful. A wild guess: Maybe it’s because they have a successful economic-development entity. Though it can’t hurt to be the biggest banking center outside Wall Street.
This year’s GLIDE trip will be a joint trip with Commerce Lexington, the chamber of commerce for our neighbors to the east. The trip is billed as the “Charlotte Leadership Expedition,” and is scheduled for June 1-3.
For the second time since 2010, representatives of two of Kentucky’s largest chambers of commerce – Commerce Lexington Inc. and Greater Louisville Inc. – will come together for a joint intercity visit. The destination selected for the 2014 Leadership Expedition presented by CHASE / J.P. Morgan and LG&E / Kentucky Utilities Co. is Charlotte, North Carolina, June 1-3.
• In the race to build the first new downtown hotel, Bill Weyland and his City Properties is coming out of the final turn, headed toward the finish line. He and his investors will top-off the new Hilton Garden Inn at Fourth and Chestnut next month in what has been an incredibly fast build out. We hear Steve Poe will be next to break ground on his Aloft at First and Main streets. No word on how the Omni complex is proceeding on Third Street. And the AC Hotel planned for NuLu is still a go, and of course, Mary Moseley should be nearing completion of the conversion of the Stewart’s Building into an Embassy Suites.
• An insider tells us Business First is losing another reporter. Senior Reporter Ed Green is leaving to join C2 Strategic Communication, the PR firm Chad Carlton has built. Carlton is a former Lexington Herald-Leader reporter, Mayor Abramson Administration insider, and Doe-Anderson executive.
We long ago lost track of how many Louisville reporters have gone over the the Dark Side of working for state or local governments, advertising agencies, PR firms and marketing, though it’s refreshing that at least Carlton has created a nice business. We’ve also long ago lost count on how many reporters have left Business First, but we believe Green’s departure marks a 100 percent reporting staff turnover since 2010.
• We’ve really lost track of how many top executive have left Papa John’s International in the last 10 years. Let’s see: Former CEO Nigel Travis escaped to Dunkin’ Donuts in 2008 after a three-year tenure. Founder John Schnatter came back, then left after he installed Jude Thompson as CEO in 2010 … then fired Thompson a year later.
There were a bunch of interchangeable execs before Nigel and Jude. Yesterday, Tony Thompson resigned as president and COO to become Krispy Kreme CEO. We know we’ll get the call soon for a top spot, and we just know it’ll turn out differently for us. Also, sources tell us Schnatter has not – contrary to rumor – fired himself.
The funny thing is, Papa John’s, which trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol “PZZA,” is pumping money: Q1 2014 revenue increased 13 percent, to $401 million from $356 million for the same quarter last year, killing analyst projections for $385 million. That said, since Thompson No. 2’s exit was announced, shares have taken a beating.
Let’s hear it for creative chaos.
UPDATE: The Nautical Flea Market has been postponed until May 31 due to high river levels.
• RiverPark Place Marina, Paradigm Yacht Sales, and the Harrods Creek Boat Owners Association are hosting a Nautical Flea Market Saturday from 8. a.m. to 1 p.m. at the RiverPark Place Marina, 1501 River Rd.
Marine dealers, brokers and individual sellers will have boats available for purchase, and new and used boating equipment, parts, supplies, gear and more will also be for sale, according to a news release. This is a big deal, with more than 100 vendors and sellers expected.
Admission to the Nautical Flea Market, as well as parking, is free.
“This will be a fun day and a great opportunity for buyers and sellers who love boats and boating to get together and find great deals on all kinds of marine gear, even boats” George East, of Paradigm Yacht Sales, stated in a news release.
“This is the largest event of its kind to be held in Louisville, and RiverPark Place Marina is the perfect location to host it. The marina’s location near Waterfront Park allows for a big turnout of venders and sellers. No doubt about it, there will be some amazing buying opportunities.”
And yes, there will be food and entertainment, as well as a follow-on event.
Following the Nautical Flea Market, the Harrods Creek Boat Owners Association will host its “Boating Season Kick-Off Party,” at RiverPark Place Marina. The party will include food, drinks and live music from 6-9 p.m.