Business & Tech

TALKING POINTS

Lawmaker wants process to choose new MBTA pension chief to be public

PENSIONS

Lawmaker wants process to choose new MBTA pension chief to be public

State Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr on Tuesday urged the MBTA retirement board to make public the process of selecting a new chief of the $1.5 billion pension fund. Tarr, a Republican from Gloucester who was an author of the newly-passed measure making MBTA pension records public, said in an interview, “The public needs confidence in the new manager’s financial ability.” He said he hopes the board “will announce some sort of a process so that we can all understand how the selection will be made and what it will be based on.” The current head of the pension fund, Michael Mulhern, announced Monday that he will resign in August after a decade in the job. He has been under pressure from union and administration officials for investment performance and for the pension system’s longstanding secrecy. T pension officials have so far not said how they will select a new executive director, or what the timeline will be. Tarr said the retirement fund for transit workers, which receives tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer support annually, should consider, among its options, having some or all of its money managed by the larger state pension fund. He said the fund board’s meeting minutes should be made public, and that less time should be spent shielding records. The Globe has sued the pension fund for records and the pension fund is continuing to fight that case. — BETH HEALY

RETAIL

Ralph Lauren to close more than 50 stores amid lagging sales

Ralph Lauren is closing stores, cutting jobs, and focusing more on its most popular brands to try to reverse its declining fortunes. The changes are the first big moves from CEO Stefan Larsson, who replaced company founder Ralph Lauren in the role late last year. Lauren is still executive chairman and chief creative officer of the fashion and home decor business he created. The New York-based company, known for its polo shirts and pony logo, plans to close more than 50 stores, or about 10 percent of its total retail stores. It will cut about 8 percent, or 1,200, of its 15,000 full-time employee. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FINANCE

French court awards more
than $500,000
to rogue trader who was fired

French bank Societe Generale has been ordered to pay about 450,000 euros ($510,000) to former trader Jerome Kerviel for unfair dismissal, after he was accused of one of the biggest trading frauds in history. Kerviel has become an icon for critics of the banking world, and his supporters hailed Tuesday’s decision in his favor by a labor arbitration court. A stunned Societe Generale called it ‘‘incomprehensible’’ and vowed to appeal. It’s part of a web of ongoing legal cases involving Kerviel since his trades spiraled into losses so big they nearly caused the collapse of one of Europe’s biggest banks in 2008. Kerviel argues that his superiors knew about his questionable financial operations and permitted them as long as he was earning money for the bank. Societe Generale insists it wasn’t aware and says Kerviel intentionally concealed unauthorized trading. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUTOMOTIVE

Volkswagen talks cuts with unions as fallout from cheating scandal continues

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Volkswagen AG, led by CEO Matthias Mueller (right), opened talks with unions on how to cut costs without eliminating jobs as the German carmaker grapples with rapid technological change and billions of euros in damages from cheating on diesel-emissions tests. Negotiations between employee representatives and management are aimed to be completed by this fall so that the results can be incorporated into next year’s plans, Volkswagen said in an statement Tuesday. Negotiations will focus on the core VW brand, which saw profit tumble 86 percent in the first quarter due to the diesel scandal. — BLOOMBERG

BANKING

Japanese banks lost more than $16 million due to fake ATM cards

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Japanese banks that lost some 1.8 billion yen ($16.5 million) when fake overseas cards were used at convenience store ATMs are scrambling to combat such fraud. Seven Bank, which operates ATMs in the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, halved its withdrawal limit to 50,000 yen from 100,000 yen for customers using non-Japanese cards. E-net, a joint-banking service whose members include national and regional banks, reduced its withdrawal limit to 40,000 yen from the previous 200,000 yen for non-Japanese cards. The illegal withdrawals were made in just a few hours on May 15 at more than 1,000 ATMs in 17 prefectures (states), according to Japanese media reports. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

COSMETICS

Lancome criticized for cancelling concert with pro-democracy singer

French cosmetics company Lancome has sparked a backlash in Hong Kong after it canceled a promotional concert featuring a singer known for pro-democracy views, with many accusing it of caving to political pressure from Beijing. Cantopop singer and outspoken celebrity activist Denise Ho was scheduled to perform on June 19. But after word of the event got out, China’s nationalist Global Times newspaper criticized Lancome over the weekend through its microblogging Weibo account. Lancome then said Sunday on its Hong Kong Facebook page that the event had been canceled because of unspecified ‘‘safety reasons.’’ It also sought to distance itself from Ho in a separate post, saying that she’s not its spokeswoman. The statements earned Lancome thousands of angry Facebook comments, with many calling for a boycott of the company. Ho fired back with her own Facebook statement, saying that the company ‘‘unilaterally’’ canceled a ‘‘pure artistic collaboration.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

WAGES

$15-an-hour minimum wage approved for DC

Lawmakers in the nation’s capital approved a $15-an-hour minimum wage on Tuesday, joining numerous other cities and the states of California and New York in mandating pay raises for retail, restaurant and service-industry workers. The D.C. Council unanimously approved the wage increase, and Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has pledged to sign it when it reaches her desk, likely sometime this summer. The District of Columbia currently has a $10.50 minimum wage that will rise to $11.50 in July under legislation signed in 2014 by Bowser’s predecessor, Vincent Gray. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

THEME PARKS

Disney acquitted in trial alleging discriminatory hiring

The Euro Disney group has been acquitted of discrimination charges in a trial over a job ad seeking applicants with European citizenship. The company, which had faced $250,000 in fines, welcomed the decision Tuesday by a court in Meaux east of Paris. The association that filed the original complaint, SOS-Racisme, is considering an appeal. SOS-Racisme said the 2006 job ad for parade artists at Disneyland Paris theme park was intentionally designed to exclude applicants from Africa and Turkey. Euro Disney acknowledged the wording was clumsy but denied discriminatory intent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

WORKERS

Productivity drops again in US

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American workers were less productive again in the January-March quarter, although the decline wasn’t as severe as first thought. Also, labor costs climbed at a faster pace than initially estimated. The Labor Department said Tuesday that productivity declined at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the first quarter after a 1.7 percent drop in the fourth quarter. The government first estimated that productivity fell at a 1 percent rate. Labor costs for employers rose at a 4.5 percent rate in the first quarter, faster than the 4.1 percent gain first reported. Productivity has been weak for the past five years, a troubling development since productivity growth is the key factor that pushes up living standards. — ASSOCIATED PRESS