San Diego Faced with finding a new executive for the local chapter of the nonprofit Better Business Bureau, chair Jonathan Gallagher and the leadership did the sensible thing by recruiting the highest functioning BBB executive they could find, CEO Matthew Fehling of the award-winning Greater Arizona chapter. At some point, they fielded a call asking them to consider a merger, which seemed out of the question until a few of them made a visit to check out what Fehling had going in Phoenix. They were blown away.
The two chapters have just merged, Gallagher, CEO of Coastal Payroll Services, is chair of the BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest, and Fehling is overseeing about 120 employees spread over six campuses in Arizona and San Diego, Imperial and Orange counties.
The merger should produce efficiencies in technology and office functions, and resources can be better aligned toward expertise in business resolution, customer reviews, community engagement and other areas.
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The newsroom of The San Diego Union-Tribune recently met with new owner, LA billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, and according to several attendees he came across as sincere and well grounded. Seeing how Soon-Shiong is the UT’s fifth owner in about the past 10 years, and how flipping newspapers and associated real estate often turns big profits for sellers at the expense of hundreds of job losses for staff, you can understand any trepidation. The seller’s ex-chairman, Michael Ferro, has cashed out his Tronc (former Tribune Co.) shares to end his disruptive tenure with a tidy profit of about $100 million, according to industry analysts. Meanwhile, thanks to Tronc, the UT is now printed in Los Angeles at the cost of about 200 jobs locally.
The previous owner, Doug Manchester, in 2011 bought the UT for a reported $110 million and in 2015 sold the newspaper company for $85 million and the Mission Valley real estate for a reported $50 million. He did lose a reported $5 million on purchase of the North County Times, which he closed and flipped its real estate. Again, many local jobs lost as the seller pockets many millions.
Owners can believe in capitalism as well as the first amendment, but profit minus investment is not sustainable. Perhaps Soon-Shiong will prove to be different.
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Speaking of unsustainable, Padres flagship radio station 97.3 has rebranded as The Fan with a sports-talk format. So we now have one below par major pro sports franchise and three sports-talk stations.
Editor-in-Chief Nels Jensen can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org