Archive for Anna Cooban

Bacon keeps getting more expensive – it now costs 13% more than last year, government data shows

Bacon
The price of bacon rose 13% year-on-year in May.
  • Bacon is way more expensive than it was a year ago.
  • The price of bacon has jumped 13% year-on-year, BLS data shows, and it rose 1.8% between April and May.
  • The consumer price index was up 5%, but signals suggest an inflation slowdown could be coming.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Bacon is now 13% more expensive than a year ago, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And it's not just shoppers facing higher prices: The owner of Burger King and Popeyes says prices for its key ingredients, including bacon, are rising, according to an internal report viewed by Bloomberg News.

The cost of bacon rose 1.8% between April and May, according to BLS data - this was a slower increase than March to April, when bacon prices jumped 3.4%.

Supply shortages and rising costs of pig feed were making pork products more expensive, Jayson L. Lusk, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Perdue, told the "Today" program in April.

The cost of other household staples has risen sharply, too. Over the past year, whole milk prices have risen 7.2%, beer 2.4%, and cigarettes 7.6%, the BLS data showed.

Whiskey has also climbed 3.7% in the past year, BLS data showed. It rose 0.7% from April to May, having fallen 0.2% in the previous month.

The overall consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.6% from April to May, and has surged 5% in the past year.

The monthly CPI jump was due mostly to a 7.3% rise in the cost of used cars and trucks, which accounted for about one-third of the seasonally-adjusted all items increase. Gasoline prices surged 56.2%, and car and truck rentals grew by 110% year-on-year.

As Insider's Juliana Kaplan and Andy Kiersz reported, multiple under-the-radar signals suggest an inflation slowdown could be coming.

The 5% year-on-year inflation was the strongest since August 2008, and beat economists' expectations. But annual price rises are measured against an unusually low base in May 2020, when most of the country was in lockdown.

The BLS figures showed that food away from home rose by 4% year-on-year. Restaurants are putting up the prices of menu items due to rising food costs and a labor shortage.

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Airlines say passengers and their baggage are getting heavier, and they’re responding with new safety plans

AA   (Photo by Alex Wong:Getty Images
American Airlines has said it has updated its average passenger weight estimates.
  • Airlines say passenger weights have increased between 5% and 10% since past estimates, the WSJ reports.
  • American Airlines told The Journal that its new average passenger weight was 182 pounds in summer, up 8 pounds.
  • Higher average passenger weights require updated safety protocols, and could mean fewer people on flights.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has asked US airlines to update their average weight estimates for passengers and baggage as part of their safety plans, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The government body has given airlines until June 12 to submit their plans for keeping planes within weight limits. These plans would include new estimates for average passenger and baggage weights, The Journal reported. The FAA must approve each airline's plan.

Unnamed airline officials told The Journal that weight estimates for passengers and baggage had risen between 5% and 10%, although did not say over what time period.

Higher estimates could mean more passengers and baggage being knocked off flights. Flights taking off from higher altitudes and on very hot days would be most affected, because more effort is needed to lift the plane's wings, The Journal reported.

The FAA last asked airlines to submit weight estimates in 2005, per the Journal.

Mike Byham, American Airlines' director of operations engineering, told The Journal that the company had been preparing for a year to update its estimates. American's new average passenger weight was 182 pounds in summer, and 187 in winter, up 8 pounds for both, according to The Journal.

"The customer will see absolutely no change," Byham told the Journal. "We know what type of impact we're looking at, so you just have to plan ahead."

The changes come as more passengers resume air travel after more than a year of pandemic restrictions.

The FAA and American Airlines did not immediately respond to Insider for comment.

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ProPublica’s bombshell tax investigation reportedly has lawmakers eyeing policy changes. One senator who designed a key corporation tax cut says it wasn’t supposed to let ‘multibillionaires’ avoid tax.

EW   Photo by Tom Williams Pool:Getty Images
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed introducing a wealth tax.

A ProPublica investigation into the tax records of the richest people in the US, which showed that some avoided paying federal income tax even as their wealth grew, has renewed debate in Congress about tax reform, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit news site ProPublica published a report on Tuesday showing how much the 25 richest Americans - including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg - paid in tax. The report highlighted how two key tax loopholes benefit billionaires.

Some billionaires had slashed their tax bill via deductions made possible by tax cuts passed during the Trump administration, the ProPublica report said.

Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, of Pennsylvania, told The New York Times that a 2017 corporation tax cut that he helped author was not intended to let the super-rich avoid paying taxes.

"My intention as the author of the 2017 tax reform was not that multibillionaires ought to pay no taxes," Toomey told the NYT. "I believe dividends and capital gains should be taxed at a lower rate, but certainly not zero."

Read more: ProPublica's billionaire tax data shows the importance of closing 2 key tax loopholes. Here's how.

ProPublica reported that Musk's wealth grew by $14 billion from 2014 to 2018, but that he only paid $455 million in taxes. Bezos did not pay any income taxes for at least two years between 2006 and 2018, the report said.

Buffett paid minimal tax by holding Berkshire Hathaway stock and not paying a dividend, according to ProPublica's report. The investor defended himself in a statement to the news outlet, saying his shareholders didn't want a dividend and that he gave nearly all of his money to good causes.

A Republican-led Congress cut the corporation tax rate from 35% to 21% in 2017 under former President Donald Trump, benefiting company shareholders. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also reduced the tax rate for the top income bracket from 39.6% to 37%.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said he was considering new reforms following the report, but did not share details.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren has pushed for a wealth tax - a 2% tax on a person's net worth between $50 million and $1 billion. In March, Warren introduced an Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act with Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania.

"Raising multibillionaires' income taxes isn't enough when these guys don't grow their fortunes from income," Warren tweeted Wednesday. "We need a Wealth Tax in American to help fix a tax system that's rigged for the rich and powerful."

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Tesla has scrapped plans to expand its Shanghai Model 3 factory, and will slow production in China because of US-Beijing tensions, according to a report

Tesla Shanghai
Elon Musk walks with former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong in 2019
  • Tesla has stopped a planned expansion of its Shanghai plant, sources told Reuters.
  • Tesla will slow production in China because of tensions between the China and US, they said.
  • The expanded Shanghai plant would have allowed Tesla to produce 200,000 extra vehicles, they said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Tesla no longer intends to buy land to increase capacity at its Shanghai factory, Reuters reported.

Tesla also plans a general slowdown in China-based production despite soaring revenues in the country, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The electric-car maker was expected to bid on a plot of land next to its Shanghai factory, but did not make a bid, the sources said. The plot was about about half the size of its current 80-hectare facility, they said.

Tesla has never publicly said it wanted to buy the plot of land. The company told Reuters its Shanghai plant was "developing as planned."

Local media reports showed construction next to Tesla's Shanghai plant last month.

The facility makes 450,000 Model 3 and Model Y cars every year, and with the extra space Tesla could have made an extra 200,000 vehicles, the sources said.

Tesla sells its China-made Model 3 cars in Europe, and had considered exporting to more markets including the US, sources said.

The company has now decided to slow down its China output due, in part, to an extra 25% tariff on China-made vehicles imported into the US introduced by former President Donald Trump in 2018, sources told Reuters.

The company made $3 billion in revenue in China in its first quarter, or 30% of its total revenue, but faces a potential regulatory clampdown from state authorities.

Chinese regulators met with Tesla representatives in February after a series of customer complaints about the safety of its vehicles. Since October, the automaker has recalled nearly 85,000 vehicles in China for suspension failures and problems with their touchscreen.

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How Biden’s historically diverse administration plans to improve workforce diversity and economic equity

Biden cabinet
Joe Biden holds the first Cabinet meeting of his presidency on April 1, 2021.
  • President Biden vowed to appoint the most diverse Cabinet in history and fix economic inequities.
  • Financial support for women, communities of color, and low-income American are among the pledges.
  • The president faces an uphill battle to get the plans through Congress amid Republican resistance.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden promised his Cabinet would be the most diverse in history. Recently released data revealed his progress.

After saying he wanted his administration to "look like America" in December last year, the 78-year-old president has mostly succeeded in his plan to diversify the executive branch, according to an analysis by Insider in February.

As the country tries to emerge from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, Biden has installed a diverse team to forward his economic and business agenda, which includes tackling entrenched inequities.

Among them, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as the first woman to lead the department in its 231-year history, Cecilia Rouse as the first African American to chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Pete Buttigieg as the first openly gay cabinet member in his role as transportation secretary.

Last week marked the first 100 days of the Biden administration. We take a look at some of the actions taken since his January inauguration to promote diversity in business, the workplace and support communities disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bridge
Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan aims to rebuild the country's aging road and bridge network.

A $2 trillion infrastructure plan that targets funding towards underserved neighborhoods

Biden's proposed $2 trillion infrastructure bill sets out to repair the country's dilapidated road and bridge network, expand access to high-speed broadband and accelerate the clean energy transition.

The American Jobs Plan targets infrastructure projects towards historically underserved communities. The plan includes proposals to replace lead pipes that disproportionately harm Black children and a $20 billion investment to "reconnect" previously cut-off areas to affordable public transportation systems.

The plan would also build more climate-resilient public infrastructure, with a focus on low-income people and communities of color, who are most vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather events such as flooding.

However, Republicans have opposed the bill, citing its "far-left" priorities and the corporate tax hike Biden has said will finance the plan.

Jennifer Granholm
Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks at Howard University.

Proposed funding to build a diverse clean-energy workforce, with investments targeted towards historically Black colleges

Biden's administration is pushing for more solar panels to be installed in communities disproportionately affected by pollution, as part of his American Jobs Plan.

The Department of Energy announced on Tuesday that $15.5 million would go into installing solar panels in underserved communities and training a diverse clean-energy workforce.

The DOE also committed $17.3 million to fund internship and research programs, with a focus on training more students of color in STEM fields. More than $5 million will be directed to 11 colleges, including historically Black universities Howard and Florida A&M.

Historically Black colleges have long been denied equal access to federal funding opportunities, DOE secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a roundtable discussion at Howard University on Monday.

"This administration is really committed to making the transition to clean energy an inclusive transition, offering benefits to every community," Granholm said.

Working mom
Biden's American Families Plan aims to support working mothers.

A plan to introduce 12 weeks of paid family leave - and Biden hopes it will encourage women to stay in the workforce

Biden has introduced a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan - made up of a mix of investments and tax cuts - that would create a national paid family and medical leave program.

The plan is estimated to cost $225 billion over 10 years.

The Biden administration hopes that introducing 12-weeks of paid family leave will help mothers to keep working, reduce racial disparities in lost wages, and improve children's health.

Biden's plan also commits to providing support for low- and middle-income families to access childcare, ensuring this does not account for more than 7% of their income, and investing in the childcare workforce.

Childcare workers are among the most underpaid in the US and more than nine in ten jobs are held by women, and more than four in ten by women of color.

D&I training
Biden reversed a decision by former President Trump to ban federal workplace diversity training.

An overturn of Trump's ban on federal workplace diversity and inclusion training

One of Biden's first actions as president was to revoke the workplace diversity training ban, signed by former President Trump, across federal agencies and their contractors.

Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office, which overturned Trump's ban on diversity and inclusion training that taught critical race theory and involved discussions on institutional racism.

The new order instead advances a "whole-of-government" approach to addressing racial inequities, and asks federal agencies to consider whether their policies and programs create barriers for underserved communities to access their benefits and services.

Takeout delivery
Biden has extended unemployment insurance for gig workers.

Targeted Covid-19 relief, including protections for those in insecure work

The landmark $1.9 trillion stimulus package includes funding commitments to help communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

In the law, signed in March, $5 billion is provided to farmers of color to invest in their business, buy equipment and repay loans.

"This is a big deal for us," John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, told CBS. "We see this as a great opportunity to help thousands."

In the package, unemployment insurance for self-employed and gig workers, such as ride-share and takeout delivery drivers, has been extended until September.

In announcing the plan, Biden called on businesses to provide back hazard pay to frontline workers - who are disproportionately Black, Latino and Asian American and Pacific Islander - in retail and grocery sectors. It was employers' "duty," the proposal stated, to compensate workers who had risked their lives to keep businesses running.

Biden still faces a challenging road ahead

The president's administration has taken bold and swift action in its first 100 days, even winning praise from more left-leaning members of his own party. But the impact of Biden's policies will only be felt in the coming months and years.

Biden still faces an uphill battle to get his Jobs Plan and Families Plan through Congress in the face of Republican opposition and with a razor-thin majority.

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LinkedIn has boomed to nearly 800 million members, and 5 other key takeaways from Microsoft’s Q3 earnings

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
  • Microsoft's Q3 revenue hit $41.7 billion, up 19% from last year, thanks to high demand for its cloud services.
  • LinkedIn revenue increased by 25% and is predicted to grow further as the job market rebounds.
  • Demand for Xbox Series X and S consoles "significantly exceeded" demand, CFO Amy Hood said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Microsoft beat revenue expectations in its third quarter thanks to soaring demand for its cloud services as people worked from home during the pandemic, the company said in its earnings call on Tuesday.

Here are the six key takeaways from the call:

1. Microsoft's revenue hit $41.7 billion, beating expectations

Microsoft said revenue hit $41.7 billion, up 19% from the same period last year, beating predictions of $41.03 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue in its "Intelligent Cloud" division was $15.1 billion, up 23%. Azure, the company's cloud-computing platform, grew revenue by 50%.

"Digital technology will be the foundation for resilience and growth over the next decade," CEO Satya Nadella said.

2. LinkedIn is doing really well, and we're spending 80% more hours on it

Revenue for professional networking site LinkedIn increased 25%. The number of conversations on the site rose by 43%, and content being shared rose 29%.

Overall, the hours people spent on LinkedIn was up by 80%.

It now has 756 million members.

Microsoft said it expected continued revenue growth as the advertising and employment markets recover from the pandemic.

3. Teams now has more than 145 million daily active users, nearly double the amount last year

The workplace chat platform Teams has almost doubled its daily active user numbers to more than 145 million since last year.

Nadella said that, even in countries where workers are returning to the office, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, Teams was still growing.

4. Xbox Series X and S consoles are in high demand, and Minecraft is still adding users

There was "record engagement" in its gaming segment, with revenue up 50%, CFO Amy Hood said.

Xbox hardware revenue climbed 232% thanks to the release of new consoles. Demand for the Series X and S consoles "significantly exceeded" supply, Hood said.

Xbox content and services revenue was up 34%, fueled by Minecraft's popularity. The sandbox video game has more than 140 million monthly active users, up 30% since last year. Players have spent more than $350 million on add-ons since 2017.

5. Dividends and share buybacks increased from last year

Microsoft returned $10 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, up 1% compared to the same time last year.

6. The US military is using Microsoft's AI services

Azure's artificial intelligence platforms are being used by big public and private organizations, including AT&T, Duolingo, and the US Army.

"We've seen dramatic advances in research and development by OpenAI whose models are trained and hosted exclusively on Azure, " Nadella said.

The US Army will use HoloLens mixed-reality headsets, integrating with Microsoft's cloud services. The headsets will give troops "next-generation night vision," the US Army said in a press announcement last month.

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JP Morgan says it regrets backing the failed European Super League with $4 billion of financing: ‘We clearly misjudged’

Super League
Soccer fans protest plans for a European Super League.
  • JP Morgan says it "misjudged" its decision to offer $4 billion in finance to the failed European Super League.
  • JP Morgan had said it would offer debt financing to the 12 soccer teams, who wanted to form an elite breakaway league.
  • Clubs quickly withdrew from the closed tournament after intense backlash from fans, players, and politicians.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

JP Morgan said it "misjudged" a deal to finance a breakaway league for 12 elite European soccer teams, which collapsed following furious backlash from fans.

The US investment bank committed more than $4 billion in debt finance over 23 years to the 12 founding teams of the league, some of the best in Europe. The debt was secured against broadcasting rights for the tournament, according to the Financial Times.

Twelve clubs announced plans to breakaway from the UEFA Champions League, the top European-wide competition, on Sunday. They would form their own Super League, they said, sparking outrage from fans, players, politicians, and even the UK royal family.

The plan quickly unraveled. By Wednesday all six UK clubs had pulled out. Italian teams AC Milan and Inter Milan, and Spain's Atletico Madrid, said they would also withdraw.

The new competition planned to include Manchester United and Real Madrid, among other top clubs.

A JP Morgan spokesperson said: "We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future. We will learn from this."

Critics said the scheme risked turning European soccer into a "money-grabbing" exercise similar to US sports leagues like the NFL, and undermined the ability for smaller clubs to beat the odds and win against top teams.

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Impossible Foods hires former Apple creative director Steve Turner, who helped launch some of the tech giant’s most iconic products

Impossible Foods
Impossible Foods creates plant-based meat products.
  • Impossible Foods has hired former Apple creative director Steve Turner to oversee marketing.
  • Turner worked at Apple for 11 years, often alongside Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
  • The plant-based burger startup plans to go public within a year, sources told Reuters.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Plant-based burger company Impossible Foods has hired Steve Turner from Apple, where he was global executive creative director.

Turner is now Impossible Foods' chief experience officer, a new role, and will lead the company's marketing.

He worked at Apple for 11 years, often alongside Apple founder Steve Jobs on some of the company's most iconic tech, including the iPod and iPhone.

Turner now reports to the CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, Dr Pat Brown. He would oversee all aspects of the startup's marketing and customer experience, Impossible Foods said.

Turner joins amid reports that the company is exploring options to go public through an IPO, or by merging with a blank-check company, in the next 12 months. It could be valued at $10 billion if it went public, sources told Reuters last week.

Founded in 2011, the company manufactures soy-based burgers and sausages, emitting less carbon than in animal agriculture. It was valued at $4 billion at its last private funding round in March 2020.

Competitor Beyond Meat has a market cap of more than $8 billion, with shares trading more than 400% higher than its 2019 IPO price.

In 2020, Impossible got its flagship product, the Impossible Burger, into 2,100 Walmart stores. Its burgers are also sold in Kroger, Trader Joe's, and Stop and Shop.

The company is currently searching for a new global headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area to accommodate its expanding team, having doubled its headcount last year.

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Impossible Foods hires former Apple creative director Steve Turner, who helped launch some of the tech giant’s most iconic products

Impossible Foods
Impossible Foods creates plant-based meat products.
  • Impossible Foods has hired former Apple creative director Steve Turner to oversee marketing.
  • Turner worked at Apple for 11 years, often alongside Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
  • The plant-based burger startup plans to go public within a year, sources told Reuters.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Plant-based burger company Impossible Foods has hired Steve Turner from Apple, where he was global executive creative director.

Turner is now Impossible Foods' chief experience officer, a new role, and will lead the company's marketing.

He worked at Apple for 11 years, often alongside Apple founder Steve Jobs on some of the company's most iconic tech, including the iPod and iPhone.

Turner now reports to the CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, Dr Pat Brown. He would oversee all aspects of the startup's marketing and customer experience, Impossible Foods said.

Turner joins amid reports that the company is exploring options to go public through an IPO, or by merging with a blank-check company, in the next 12 months. It could be valued at $10 billion if it went public, sources told Reuters last week.

Founded in 2011, the company manufactures soy-based burgers and sausages, emitting less carbon than in animal agriculture. It was valued at $4 billion at its last private funding round in March 2020.

Competitor Beyond Meat has a market cap of more than $8 billion, with shares trading more than 400% higher than its 2019 IPO price.

In 2020, Impossible got its flagship product, the Impossible Burger, into 2,100 Walmart stores. Its burgers are also sold in Kroger, Trader Joe's, and Stop and Shop.

The company is currently searching for a new global headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area to accommodate its expanding team, having doubled its headcount last year.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Most CEOs at S&P 500 companies got paid $13 million or more in 2020, thanks to median pay climbing 15% on stock rises and bonuses

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • CEOs from 322 companies in the S&P 500 received median pay of $13.7 million in 2020, the Wall Street Journal found.
  • CEO pay increased 15% over 2019 thanks to recovering stock prices and performance-linked awards.
  • Increasing numbers of shareholders are voting down proposed changes to executive compensation.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

CEOs at more than 300 of the top public companies in US received median pay of $13.7 million in 2020, up 15% from $12.8 million the year before, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.

Executive pay rose thanks to a revived stock market and changes to compensation structures. Less than 10% of total pay was accounted for by salary for most CEOs, the Journal found. CEOs instead added to their pay from increases in the value of their shareholdings and performance-linked stock awards.

The analysis found executive pay increased for 206 of the 322 S&P 500 companies included in the research, using data from analytics firm MyLogIQ.

Chad Richison, CEO of Paycom Software Inc., took home $211 million in 2020, and was the highest-paid CEO in the data set, thanks to an award of 1.61 million restricted shares in November, which could be valued at more than $2 billion by 2030 if Richison meets stock-price targets.

The figure represents Richison's total compensation reported under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, including salary, bonuses, and multiyear stock and option awards. However, the future value of these awards can be underestimated if stock prices rise.

While Richison was the highest-paid on the list, other CEOs in the S&P 500 make far more money overall, such as Tesla CEO and world's second-richest person, Elon Musk.

Musk receives no annual salary or cash bonuses from the electric-car maker, instead receiving performance-based stock options which could net $55.8 billion if vested over the next few years. Musk added $140 billion to his net worth in 2020, as Tesla's stock price surged by more than 650%, although he is unable to access recent gains under his complex compensation plan.

Shareholders put off by rising CEO pay

In a year marked by unprecedented unemployment and damage to various industries, rocketing exec pay is turning off investors. Shareholders have so far rejected proposed pay changes at a dozen major firms, including at Starbucks, where investors cast a non-binding vote last month against awarding CEO Kevin Johnson a one-time bonus of $1.86 million for the 2020 fiscal year.

More than three-quarters of S&P 500 companies are still waiting to hold annual votes, according to earnings data firm Equilar.

Consulting firm Pay Governance found that companies disrupted by the pandemic were more likely to alter pay incentives for their executives, although a majority of firms did not.

Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., doubled his pay to $36.4 million while the company posted a $4 billion loss for 2020, for example. Del Rio's compensation was partly tied to a three-year contract renewal.

"We believe these changes were in the best interests of the company and secured Mr. Del Rio's continued invaluable expertise," a company spokesman told the Journal.

"Our management team took quick, decisive action to reduce costs, conserve cash, raise capital" during the pandemic, they said.

Nearly 17% of firms have received less than 70% shareholder support for executive pay measures in votes held since September, according to analysis by Equilar, up from 8% last year.

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