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Motif FoodWorks gets a new CEO

The Motif FoodWorks food science lab.Motif FoodWorks


Motif FoodWorks gets a new CEO

Motif FoodWorks, a Boston food technology company, named Michael Leonard its new chief executive on Thursday, effective immediately. Leonard has been Motif’s chief technology officer since 2019. Former CEO Jonathan McIntyre will transition to an advisory role, the company said. The transition comes a month after Motif laid off an undisclosed number of employees at the end of June across multiple departments. Motif sells plant-based food ingredients to other companies so they can incorporate the technology into their own recipes. In May, Motif said it would also start selling finished food products to food service providers, distributors, and retailers with private labels, starting with beef, pork, and chicken alternatives. Soon after Motif started selling its first food ingredient, which mimics the taste and smell of meat, it was sued by Impossible Foods in March. The maker of the Impossible Burger alleges that Motif copied its process for making alternative meat products. In the ongoing legal battle, Motif is trying to get its competitor’s patent revoked, arguing it should never have been issued. — ANISSA GARDIZY



Exploding air bag inflator kills driver in Florida

The death toll from exploding air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. has risen to 19 in the United States and 28 worldwide. Authorities say the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger pickup truck was killed in what should have been a minor crash last month near Pensacola, Fla. But the driver’s air bag inflator exploded, spewing shrapnel that hit the unidentified driver, a 23-year-old man. Takata used ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate air bags in a crash. But the chemical can become more volatile over time when exposed to moisture in the air and repeated high temperatures. The explosion can blow apart a metal canister and hurl shrapnel into the passenger compartment. Potential for the dangerous malfunction led to the largest series of auto recalls in US history, with at least 67 million inflators recalled. The US government says that millions have not been repaired. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Polish supermarket chain adds a library so it can open on Sunday

Poland’s largest grocery chain has found a novel way to defy the country’s Sunday trade ban. Biedronka — known for its eponymous ladybug logo — will convert sections of some stores into libraries, retail industry news website Wiadomoscihandlowe.pl reported on Thursday, citing a company document. Customers will be able to borrow from a selection of 140 books using loyalty cards. The move is designed to allow the retailer, controlled by Portugal’s Jeronimo Martins, to open some of its 3,000 stores already this Sunday, according to the website. The company’s press office declined to comment on what it described as “press speculations” in response to questions from Bloomberg News. Polish retailers have been looking for loopholes to avoid the ban ever since it became law in 2018. The parliament last year tightened some regulations that previously allowed supermarkets to offer postal services and stay open on Sundays. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


WeWork says occupancy rate back to prepandemic

WeWork said its offices were 72 percent full at the end of the second quarter, matching the occupancy rate from before the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 for the first time. WeWork’s occupancy rate — the percentage of its total desks that were rented out — dropped dramatically during the first year of the pandemic, when many tenants canceled their rental contracts and decided to work from home. That metric hit its low point of 46 percent a year later. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Shake Shack says slow return to offices hurt sales in cities

Shake Shack said that the pace of workers returning to offices in cities, including New York, stalled last quarter and hampered the restaurant chain’s growth. The shares fell the most in more than a year. Revenue rose 23 percent to $230.8 million, the company said Thursday. That trailed analysts’ expectations of $238.4 million. Shake Shack, which generates a majority of its sales in urban markets, said the slowdown in return to office continued in July. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates dip below 5 percent

The average long-term US mortgage rate fell below 5 percent for the first time in four months, days after the Federal Reserve jacked up its main borrowing rate in an aggressive effort to get inflation under control. The 30-year rate tumbled to 4.99 percent from 5.3 percent last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday. A year ago, the rate was 2.77 percent. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those refinancing their homes, fell to 4.26 percent from 4.58 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


BlackRock teams up with Coinbase

BlackRock is partnering with Coinbase Global Inc. to make it easier for institutional investors to manage and trade Bitcoin, marking a major push into cryptocurrencies for the world’s largest asset manager. Top BlackRock clients will be able to use its Aladdin investment-management system to oversee their exposure to Bitcoin along with other portfolio assets such as stocks and bonds, and to facilitate financing and trading on Coinbase’s exchange, according to a statement Thursday. The focus of the partnership with Coinbase, the biggest US crypto-trading platform, “will initially be on Bitcoin,” BlackRock said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Credit Suisse could cut thousands of jobs

Credit Suisse executives are discussing reducing thousands of roles globally as the struggling European lender seeks to slash its overall cost base by an additional $1 billion. The bank, which began trimming front-line roles in Asia last month, is mulling an aggressive plan to reduce its headcount, which stood at 51,410 at the end of June, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel matters. Credit Suisse has seen a string of departures and has pledged to fundamentally reshape its unprofitable investment bank, so attrition and business exits could bring down headcount in addition to active job cuts. The firm’s staff has climbed by more than 2,000 since the end of 2020, in part as it hired more employees in compliance. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Wall Street bonuses won’t be as generous this year

A warning for investment bankers who enjoyed lavish bonuses for 2021, when banks opened their wallets to reward busy dealmakers amid a war for talent: don’t expect a repeat this year. Incentive pay for those underwriting debt and equity could plummet more than 45 percent this year, while their counterparts advising on mergers and acquisitions could see their bonuses slump 25 percent, according to a closely watched report Thursday from compensation consultant Johnson Associates Inc. — BLOOMBERG NEWS