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Chris Cook to direct Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

A walkway on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Chris Cook, the city’s environment, energy, and open space chief, will take over the Greenway Conservancy as executive director in May.
A walkway on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Chris Cook, the city’s environment, energy, and open space chief, will take over the Greenway Conservancy as executive director in May.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff


Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy has a new director

The city of Boston’s top energy and environmental official has been tapped to run the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the nonprofit that manages the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. The organization said on Wednesday that Chris Cook, the city’s environment, energy, and open space chief, will take over the Greenway Conservancy as executive director in May. Cook’s move marks the latest in a line of defections from top jobs at City Hall, amid a change in administration from former mayor Martin J. Walsh to Acting Mayor Kim Janey. The Greenway Conservancy hired headhunting firm Isaacson, Miller in the fall to replace executive director Jesse Brackenbury, who has been named chief executive of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in New York. Brackenbury’s last day at the Greenway is tentatively scheduled for April 26. The conservancy employs 31 people full time as well as several seasonal staffers and interns during the warmer months. Its 2021 operating budget is $5.5 million, plus a $2.2 million capital budget. — JON CHESTO



TJX still sees pandemic problems

The executives at Framingham retail giant TJX Cos. aren’t just worried about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on store closures and public health. They’re also worried about the long-term effect that the pandemic, which accelerated a broad shift to e-commerce, will have on consumer habits. The parent company of the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains updated the risk factors it provides to investors in its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. A year ago, the company had warned that the temporary closings of stores, warehouses, and offices could pose a risk to shareholders. This year, TJX is still warning about pandemic-related expenses, as well as related staffing concerns. But the company also notes that customers’ willingness to shop in stores and the levels of consumer spending and sentiment could be affected by the pandemic. TJX warned that declines in customer traffic and sales could continue or accelerate through the pandemic, and after it is over. — JON CHESTO



New car sales up in the first quarter

Emboldened by signs the COVID-19 crisis may be waning and fearful of potential vehicle shortages, consumers snapped up new autos at pre-pandemic rates in the first quarter as the US car market’s recovery likely gained momentum. US auto sales surged by more than 8 percent in the first three months of the year, according to analysts’ estimates. The projected gain was powered by higher demand in anticipation of a return to offices and everyday travel as vaccination rates exceeded one-quarter of the population. Greater confidence in the economy spurred purchases as did fear of lower supplies of cars due to chip shortages. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Robinhood ditches the confetti

The bursts of confetti that shower screens of Robinhood investors when they make their first trade — and serve as the punchline for critics who say the popular app treats investing like a game — are going away. Starting this week, Robinhood will begin retiring the confetti, which was meant to celebrate customers hitting milestones like making their first deposit or enabling new features, such as upgrading to its paid Gold-level membership. The last pops will go off next week, to be replaced with a suite of animations that are decidedly measured in pace, with nary a flake within them. Massachusetts regulators last year cited the confetti in particular as part of a complaint they filed against Robinhood, alleging that it targets and manipulates inexperienced investors. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Honda recalling vehicles over faulty fuel pumps

Honda is recalling more than 628,000 vehicles in the United States to replace fuel pumps that can fail, causing the engines to stall. The recall covers much of the Honda and Acura model lineup from the 2018 to 2020 model years including the CR-V small SUV, the company’s top-selling US vehicle. The company says the impeller, which is the rotating part of the pump, could be defective. Honda says it has no reports of crashes or injuries. Owners will be notified by mail in late May and dealers will replace the fuel pumps for free. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Google says it will not muzzle workers who talk with coworkers about pay

Google promised not to silence workers who talk about their pay, part of a settlement resolving one of the first legal complaints filed by a new union representing hundreds of employees and contract workers at the Internet giant. The settlement ends a National Labor Relations Board complaint filed by the Alphabet Workers Union in February alleging that management at the data center forbid workers from discussing their pay and also suspended a data technician, Shannon Wait, because she wrote a pro-union post on Facebook. Wait was reinstated earlier this year, although she left soon after. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Companies quietly back away from criticizing China over human rights

More than a week after Swedish retailer H&M came under fire in China for a months-old statement expressing concern over reports of Uyghur forced labor in the region of Xinjiang, a major source of cotton, the company published a statement saying it hoped to regain the trust of customers in China. In recent days, H&M and other Western clothing brands including Nike and Burberry that expressed concerns over reports coming out of Xinjiang have faced an outcry on Chinese social media, including calls for a boycott endorsed by President Xi Jinping’s government. The brands’ local celebrity partners have terminated their contracts, Chinese landlords have shuttered stores, and their products have been removed from major e-commerce platforms. Caught between calls for patriotism among Chinese consumers and campaigns for conscientious sourcing of cotton in the West, some other companies, including Inditex, the owner of fast-fashion giant Zara, quietly removed statements on forced labor from their websites. — NEW YORK TIMES


Home sales fell in February amid high prices, lean inventory

US pending home sales fell in February by the most since April as rising home prices and a shortage of available properties deterred buyers. The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home sales decreased 10.6 percent from the prior month to 110.3, the lowest reading since May, according to data released Wednesday. Surging home prices and low inventory are slowing the pandemic-era housing boom, evidenced by declines in contract signings in all four US regions. In addition, severe winter weather limited purchases during February. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Delta will again sell tickets for middle seats

Delta will resume selling middle seats on May 1, ending the social-distancing policy after more than a year as a rising pace of COVID-19 vaccinations spurs a US travel rebound. Delta will become the last major US carrier to resume selling all of the seats in its cabins. In another sign of normalization, expanded offerings of onboard snacks, cocktails, and other beverages will restart next month, Delta said in a statement Wednesday. The company is also extending the validity of tickets purchased in 2020 and 2021 through the end of next year, and adding more time for travelers to use some benefits earned through the Delta credit card. — BLOOMBERG NEWS