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Parent company of Berkshire Bank hires a new CEO

Berkshire Hills Bancorp CEO Nitin Mhatre
New Berkshire Hills Bancorp CEO Nitin MhatreHand-out/Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.


Parent company of Berkshire Bank hires a new CEO

The parent company of Berkshire Bank has hired a top banker from Webster Bank to be its next chief executive. Berkshire Hills Bancorp announced on Monday that it has appointed Nitin Mhatre as its new CEO as of Jan. 29. He will earn a base salary of $725,000 a year, and be eligible for the bank’s bonus program. Mhatre has been a top executive at Connecticut-based Webster for 12 years, and was most recently its executive vice president of community banking. Sean Gray, the acting chief executive at Berkshire since former chief Richard Marotta suddenly stepped down in August, will continue in his role as Berkshire Bank’s president and chief operating officer. Boston-based Berkshire is one of the state’s largest retail banks, with $12.9 billion in assets and 130 branches in seven Northeast states. Its share price took a larger hit than most regional bank stocks did in 2020, with shares dropping some 48 percent in value over the year. — JON CHESTO



IMF projects brisk global growth this year

The spread of COVID-19 vaccines will power a stronger global economic recovery in 2021, the International Monetary Fund forecast Tuesday. After sinking 3.5 percent in 2020, the worst year since World War II, the global economy will grow 5.5 percent this year, the 190-country lending organization predicted. The new figure for 2021 is an upgrade from the 5.2 percent expansion the IMF forecast in October and would mark the fastest year of global growth since the 2010 snapback from the financial crisis. The vaccines should contain the spread of the virus and allow governments around the world to ease lockdowns and encourage a return to normal economic activity. But the IMF also says economies worldwide will need support from their governments to offset the damage from the pandemic and warns that coronavirus mutations could cloud the outlook for global health and economic growth. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Amex hit hard by global pandemic

American Express said its fourth-quarter profits dropped by 15 percent from a year ago, as the global pandemic kept cardmembers from dining out, traveling, and entertaining. The coronavirus pandemic struck at the heart of AmEx’s business model last year. AmEx cardmembers — often the well-to-do and corporate clients — stopped traveling, stopped shopping, weren’t able to go see concerts and shows, and stopped dining out. For corporations, travel expenses plunged last year since most workers who would travel for work switched to home offices and Zoom meetings. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Twitter buys e-mail newsletter service

Twitter said Tuesday that it had acquired an e-mail newsletter service, Revue. The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, is part of Twitter’s effort to compete with other social media companies that allow users to earn money from their followings, as the newsletter industry enjoys a spike in popularity. Twitter has moved aggressively over the past two months to acquire startups as it expands its offerings beyond its core timeline product. In December, it bought Squad, a social video company, and this month it acquired the social broadcasting service Breaker to create audio conversations on Twitter. — NEW YORK TIMES


Soon, you will be able to track your coffee

Consumers who want to know where their morning cup of latte comes from will soon be able to trace it back to the world’s largest coffee cooperative. Cooxupe, which serves more than 15,000 growers in top producer Brazil, has joined blockchain initiative Farmer Connect, a startup backed by Switzerland’s Sucafina. The Swiss trader has already bought and shipped some traceable beans from Cooxupe to the US and Europe, where consumers will be able to track the origins of their coffee once it’s roasted and hits supermarket shelves. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



PepsiCo teams up with faux meat company

PepsiCo and Beyond Meat are creating a joint venture to develop snacks and drinks made from plant-based proteins. The companies didn’t reveal what kinds of products they will make Tuesday, saying they’re still in development. The join venture gives Pepsi access to one of the leading plant-based meat companies at a time when consumers are increasingly cutting back on meat consumption and looking for healthier, more sustainable foods. Beyond Meat’s burgers, sausages, and chicken, which are made from pea protein, are sold worldwide, including at Starbucks in China and Pizza Hut in the United States. Beyond Meat gets access to to Pepsi’s distribution system and broad product line. Pepsi, in addition to drinks, makes Fritos, Cheetos, and Tostitos, as well as Matador beef jerky. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Bank of America says customers are spending more

Bank of America Corp. said the economy is on much more solid footing than it was in the early days of the pandemic. Customer spending in January is up 9 percent from last year, and those who’ve received stimulus checks are largely boosting their savings, chief executive Brian Moynihan said in an interview Tuesday on CNBC. While there are burgeoning signs of pent-up client demand, Moynihan called for more economic assistance for the millions of unemployed people and shuttered businesses in industries such as travel, leisure, and entertainment. State and local municipalities also need help to plug holes in their budgets. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Study finds strong support for national paid leave policy among businesses

A new study has found strong support from US businesses for a national paid leave policy after months of navigating the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing recession. Researchers found that 75 percent of US companies and UK-based companies with US operations said they support a government leave plan to help cope with future public health and economic crises. So far during the COVID-19 outbreak, 1-in-5 US workers have taken a leave of some kind. More than 40 companies of various sizes were surveyed in the study conducted by the nonprofit groups Promundo and Paid Leave for the US, which promote gender equity and paid leave policies, respectively. The United States is alone among 41 industrialized countries in not guaranteeing paid sick or parental leave, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. President Joe Biden has introduced a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill featuring temporary paid leave amid signs that support is on the rise on Capitol Hill and in corporate America for paid leave legislation. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


CBS puts two executives on leave over work environment

CBS has placed two top TV executives on leave after a report detailing accusations that they had created a hostile work environment, including making disparaging remarks about female and Black employees. The executives, Peter Dunn, the president of CBS television stations, and David Friend, the senior vice president of news for TV stations, were placed on administrative leave pending the results of a third-party investigation, the company said in a statement Monday. The suspensions came after The Los Angeles Times published a report Sunday in which employees accused the executives of “bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.” The newspaper reported that Dunn frequently denigrated a Black news anchor at KYW, the CBS station in Philadelphia, calling him “just a jive guy” and that at least four current and former female CBS executives said they had been bullied by Dunn from 2017 to 2019. — NEW YORK TIMES