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Constant Contact has a new CEO

Waltham-based Constant Contact has named Frank Vella as its new CEO.
Waltham-based Constant Contact has named Frank Vella as its new CEO.Constant Contact


Constant Contact has a new CEO

Waltham-based e-mail marketing firm Constant Contact has a new chief executive, but he’ll be based in New York this time — at least for now. Clearlake Capital and Siris Capital, two private equity firms that own Constant Contact, announced on Wednesday that Frank Vella joined the company as its new chief executive. He’ll lead a business with 1,000 employees, including 500 in Massachusetts. (A spokeswoman said Vella plans to move to the Boston area this fall.) Most recently, Vella ran a data and analytics software firm called Information Builders. He will be joined by Michael Pellegrino, Constant Contact’s new chief financial officer, who will be based in the Boston area. Constant Contact had been part of Endurance International Group, a collection of various digital media businesses. But when Clearlake completed its $3 billion acquisition of Endurance in February, it announced that Constant Contact would be spun out as a separate, privately owned firm funded by a $400 million investment from Clearlake and Siris. — JON CHESTO



HqO gets $60 million in equity funding

HqO, a Boston startup that offers software that helps landlords interact with tenants, just landed $60 million in equity funding, even though many office buildings remain essentially empty shells for now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company expects to grow its headcount from 120 to 200 by the end of the year. A spokeswoman for HqO said that although the way offices get used will be different, big employers have realized the value of having people work together in person and many are doubling down on their real estate footprints. HqO has attracted a number of investors from the real estate industry, along with the traditional venture capital sector. This time around, new real estate investors include brokerage Cushman & Wakefield and Suffolk Construction affiliate Suffolk Technologies. The company, led by chief executive Chase Garbarino, has raised $106.9 million in venture funding, after this $60 million round is factored in. HqO plans to expand its existing footprints in Boston, New York, London, and Paris as well as to open new offices in Toronto and in the Midwest and West Coast regions. — JON CHESTO



Facebook considering hiding ‘like’ counts on Instagram

The tiny red hearts that appear under Instagram photos of kids, kittens, and sandwiches can be a source of stress for many users, an insidious way of measuring self worth and popularity. Now Facebook says it’s going to test out — again — an option for users to hide those “like” counts to see if it can reduce the pressure of being on social media. Instagram, which Facebook owns, will soon allow a small group of random users to decide whether or not they want to see the number of likes their posts and those of others receive. The social media giant says it’s also exploring the feature for Facebook. Comments will still be available for people who chose to hide likes — they just won’t see whether it was 2, 20 or 20,000 people who liked their posts. Instagram began hiding likes in 2019. While many users welcomed the feature, others, including some influencers, worried it might take away from the social media experience. At the time, the platform didn’t give users a choice to hide or unhide the like counts. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


GameStop stock soars on plan to ease debt

GameStop Corp. climbed more than 18 percent Wednesday after taking another step to become virtually debt-free amid activist investor Ryan Cohen’s overhaul. The video-game retailer said it’s redeeming $216.4 million of senior notes, according to a Tuesday statement. The poster child for Redditors looking to squeeze short sellers earlier this year also retired $73.2 million in debt last month. The early redemption is the latest step in a strategy to turn GameStop into an e-commerce marketplace to compete with Amazon, replacing its current brick-and-mortar focus. Cohen, who’s set to become GameStop’s next chairman, has replaced key company executives with e-commerce veterans from Amazon and Chewy, a retailer he previously led. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Mastercard gets tougher with banks that process payments for adult content

Mastercard is updating the requirements it sets for banks that process payments for sellers of adult content. The banks will now have to ensure that sellers require “clear, unambiguous and documented consent” in adult content, the payments network said in a blog post Wednesday. The firms will also be required to ensure websites document the age and verify the identity of anyone depicted in pictures and videos as well as those uploading the content. Mastercard is also requiring banks to ensure that sites have a review process prior to any content being published, as well as a system for complaints that addresses illegal or non-consensual activity within seven business days. The payments network is also mandating that banks make sure that sites have an appeals process that allows for anyone depicted in adult videos or photos to request that the content be removed. The moves come after Mastercard in December said it would no longer allow its cards to be used on Pornhub.com after a review of the website uncovered unlawful content. Both Mastercard and rival Visa had begun looking into Pornhub after a New York Times column accused the website of distributing videos depicting child abuse and non-consensual violence. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Chase and Goldman notch great quarters on investment banking revenue

JPMorgan Chase’s dealmakers just helped usher in the firm’s best quarter on record, but shares fell as the bank warned that loan demand remains tepid. Investment-banking fees soared 57 percent, beating analysts’ estimates and boosting net income to $14.3 billion, the most JPMorgan has ever earned in a single quarter. A larger-than-expected reserve release added to the windfall as the bank determined it didn’t need as much socked away for future loan losses. Meanwhile, investment bank Goldman Sachs saw its profits nearly quintuple in the first quarter, driven by a massive surge of revenue from its core investment banking and trading operations. — BLOOMBERG NEWS, ASSOCIATED PRESS


McDonald’s to require training on harassment, discrimination

McDonald’s will mandate worker training to combat harassment, discrimination, and violence in its restaurants worldwide starting next year, the company said Wednesday. The training requirement will impact 2 million workers at 39,000 stores worldwide. The change is part of a larger reckoning over sexual harassment at McDonald’s. At least 50 workers have filed charges against the company over the last five years, alleging physical and verbal harassment and, in some cases, retaliation when they complained. The problem wasn’t confined to restaurants. In November 2019, McDonald’s fired its former CEO Steve Easterbrook after he acknowledged having a relationship with an employee. — ASSOCIATED PRESS