General Motors named Richard Wagoner Jr. as chief executive officer to succeed Jack Smith, who will remain as chairman. Wagoner, who became president and chief operating officer in October 1998, is credited with streamlining management of the world's largest corporation while cutting the number of GM models and reducing design and manufacturing time. Smith has been CEO for seven years, during which the company returned healthy profits amid a continuing struggle to stay competitive.
General Electric's Power Systems division agreed to supply $4 billion in equipment and services to electricity-generating plants planned, under construction, or already operated by Duke Energy North America. The gas and steam turbines ordered by Duke could produce power for as many as 6 million homes, GE estimated. Duke is a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp. of Charlotte, N.C.
The layoffs of 3,000 employees over the next nine months were announced by British Telecommunications Plc., a move blamed on falling profits and increasingly stiff competition. The cutback affects managers and represents 10 percent of the company's workforce. BT invested heavily in acquisitions and new joint ventures in 1999 and said its third-quarter profits were down $335 million from the same period in 1998.
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