Dean of HBS to stay until the end of the year

Globe Staff


Dean of HBS to stay until the end of the year

The dean of Harvard Business School, Nitin Nohria, is staying in that job for an extra six months as the school reacts to the coronavirus pandemic. Harvard University president Larry Bacow sent out a memo late last week announcing that Nohria will stay on as HBS dean through December 2020, instead of stepping down at the end of this semester as originally planned, because of the current focus at the school and around the world on dealing with COVID-19. Bacow said the extra time will ensure that he and provost Alan Garber can give the ongoing dean search the full attention it deserves. — JON CHESTO



CLF dealt setback in suit against ExxonMobil

The Conservation Law Foundation has suffered a setback in its lawsuit against ExxonMobil, alleging that the energy giant has failed to prepare its oil storage terminal on the Everett waterfront for the worsening effects of climate change. The company argued that the case should be paused until the US Environmental Protection Agency issues a new permit for the Everett terminal and US District Court Judge Mark Wolf agreed. The case has now been put on hold until that permit is issued, or until November 2021, whichever comes first. CLF President Bradley Campbell said the organization is evaluating the “stay order” and considering its options, including a possible appeal. “Exxon has put communities in harm’s way while deceiving the public about climate threats for decades. This is a disappointing decision, but we will continue this fight.” — JON CHESTO


BJ’s to boost pay of workers as they cope with extra workload

BJ’s Wholesale Club has joined the list of grocery retailers that are raising pay levels for their store employees as they deal with a surge in shoppers amid the coronavirus pandemic. All hourly workers in the company’s stores, warehouses, and Westborough headquarters will get an additional $2 per hour for each hour worked through at least April 12. Managers and key personnel will get a one-time bonus at the end of March, ranging from $500 to $1,000. The company has previously instituted an emergency paid leave program. Other retailers to raise wages in recent days include Stop & Shop and Shaw’s Supermarkets. — JON CHESTO



Amazon favoring Prime members during virus crisis

Amazon has added a new measure to try to triage its flood of orders and shortage of goods during the coronavirus pandemic: prioritizing its $119-a-year Prime members. Now, the company is offering delayed delivery times for nonmembers of Prime on many nonessential items that are available — such as hair dryers, Tic Tac candies, and pill pockets to help dogs take medicine. The move follows weeks of inability to stock and ship household staples — ranging from toilet paper to hand sanitizer to bleach — at a time when shoppers are more and more reliant on Amazon while they are staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus. Amazon has said it will hire 100,000 workers, limit shipments to its warehouses from its third-party sellers, and restrict orders of ‘‘lower-priority shipments’’ to customers in France and Italy, where the outbreak is particularly acute. — WASHINGTON POST


Those working from home crave a comfortable chair

With tens of millions of Americans suddenly working from home, staffers at companies that make and sell office chairs don’t have time to sit down. “I can’t talk now, sorry,” Ben Henderson, a senior sales executive at Office Chair @ Work, a New Jersey-based online discounter, said. “I’m unbelievably busy.” In the past two weeks, sales of Herman Miller Inc.’s Aeron chairs — the gold standard of ergonomic workplace seating — have spiked fivefold at Office Chair @ Work, while demand for Steelcase and other well-known brands has doubled. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Netflix bests Disney during pandemic

Walt Disney Co. shares have tumbled amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the sell-off has resulted in a smaller valuation than video streaming company Netflix Inc., a reflection of what segments of the media ecosystem are favored in an uncertain environment. Thus far this year, Disney shares have dropped more than 40 percent, compared with a gain of 9.2 percent in Netflix. Based on their most recent close, these moves have given Netflix a market capitalization of about $158 billion, compared with Disney’s $154.8 billion valuation. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


The nation has 500,000 fewer millionaires due to market crash, health crisis

At the close of 2019, there were an unprecedented 11 million American millionaires, a reflection of the longest bull market in history thanks to ultra-low interest rates and tax cuts. Fast forward just a few months and it’s a starkly different picture. The number of households in the United States above that threshold has dropped by at least 500,000 as of Friday, according to research firm Spectrem Group. The tandem financial and health crises wrought by Covid-19 have disproportionately eroded the fortunes of the wealthy, who are more likely to own equities than the overall population.


YouTube lowering the quality of videos to ease Internet traffic during virus crisis

YouTube reduced the quality of videos around the world starting Tuesday, an effort by the world’s most popular video site to ease internet traffic during the coronavirus outbreak. Over the coming days, viewers will at first see YouTube videos in standard definition, the company said. Users will still be able to watch in high definition if they want, but will have to choose to do so. YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is extending a policy it already instituted in Europe, where regulators have asked major streaming services, including Netflix Inc. and Amazon Prime Video, to reduce their bandwidth usage. Use of streaming services has surged in recent weeks as hundreds of millions of people stay home to contain the spread of the virus. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



L.L. Bean’s shipping hub packing food for pantries across Maine

With many workers idled because of the coronavirus, L.L. Bean is going to use its shipping hub to pack food for pantries across Maine. The outdoors retailer is partnering with Maine’s largest food bank, Good Shepherd. The company’s workers will sort and package food in boxes that Good Shepherd will ship to food pantries in all 16 counties. Prepackaged boxes reduce the need for pantry volunteers to sort and distribute food and makes it easier to hand off to families at a time when some pantries are offering drive-by service because of the virus, said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Toilets on newest Navy aircraft carriers need expensive acids

New toilets on the Navy’s two newest aircraft carriers clog so frequently that the ships’ sewage systems must be cleaned periodically with specialized acids costing about $400,000 a flush, according to a new congressional audit outlining $130 billion in underestimated long-term maintenance costs. The Navy isn’t sure the toilet systems on the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS George H. W. Bush can withstand the demand without failing frequently, according to the watchdog agency’s report on service sustainment costs released Tuesday. The report comes amid a debate in Congress, the Pentagon and the White House over expanding the current 293-ship Navy to 355 by the mid-2030, a Trump administration goal. — BLOOMBERG NEWS