A possible Home Depot customer data security breach, PG&E fines, and a CEO resigns. Read about these and more of the day's top business news stories.
Home Depot Investigating Possible Data Breach
Home Depot said Tuesday it was working with law enforcement to investigate “some unusual activity” related to customer data but that it could not confirm if it had become the latest retailer to be hit by a large-scale security breach, Reuters reports. “If we confirm that a breach has occurred, we will make sure customers are notified immediately,” the company said in a statement.
Scandal-Tainted Supplier Cedes Control of China Plant
Aurora, IL-based OSI Group, the supplier at the center of a food safety scandal in China, has indefinitely handed control of one of its plants there to a subsidiary of competitor Golden State Foods Corp, Reuters reports. California-based Golden State, one of the world's biggest suppliers to fast food companies, will focus on increasing production at OSI's facility in Guangzhou, a city near Hong Kong in southeastern China, a spokeswoman said. The facility produces fruit and vegetable products for customers that include McDonald's Corp. OSI's Shanghai meat producing plant was shut down in July over allegations workers there used expired product and doctored food production dates. Last week, Chinese police arrested six OSI employees, which earlier prompted McDonald's to end supply contracts with OSI in China.
Centerplate CEO Resigns after Dog Abuse Video
Desmond Hague, the chief executive officer of Connecticut-based catering company Centerplate, resigned amid a barrage of outrage and possible charges after he was caught on video abusing a dog, the company announced on Tuesday. Centerplate's board of directors said in a statement it had parted ways with Hague "as a result of Hague's personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care." Vancouver hotel video surveillance showed Hague kicking a friend’s female Doberman puppy and yanking the animal as it stood on a leash inside an elevator. Centerplate serves sports and entertainment venues including Seattle's Safeco Field and the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The company has pledged $100,000 to the Sade Foundation, which protects animals in Vancouver, and 1,000 hours of community service to support an animal welfare organization.
PG&E Fined More than $1 Billion for Deadly 2010 Blast
California regulators Tuesday imposed $1.4 billion in penalties against Pacific Gas & Electric for a deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb that killed eight people. PG&E, the state's largest utility, can appeal the fine. In a statement also released Tuesday, the company apologized for the incident. "We've been dedicated to re-earning the trust of our customers and the communities we serve. We have respectfully asked that the commission ensure that the penalty is reasonable and proportionate and takes into consideration the company's investments and actions to promote safety.” The 2010 blast, the result of the rupture of a natural gas transmission line installed in 1956, was California’s deadliest utility disaster in decades.
BP Claims Conflict of Interest in Latest Legal Challenge
BP Plc asked a U.S. court on Tuesday to fire the court-appointed lawyer charged with paying out compensation to people affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company claims Patrick Juneau lacks impartiality because he had advocated for claimants before the court appointed him to run the claims program, Reuters reports. London-based BP argued previously that Juneau has been too generous and liberal when approving claims and that he should be replaced. BP originally expected the class-action settlement to resolve economic and health claims by more than 100,000 individuals and businesses to cost $7.8 billion. It has since said the uncapped program could cost $9.2 billion and that this amount could grow.
Sonata Sales Drive Hyundai’s Second-Best Ever Sales Month
South Korean automaker Hyundai said in a teaser summary sales report that August was its second-best sales month ever, USA TODAY reports. Sales of the new-design Sonata were up 25 percent from a year ago, while the Tucson SUV sales were up 30 percent and Santa Fe SUV 15 percent. All automakers announce their August sales Wednesday.