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Detroit auto show canceled, center to be used as hospital

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An executive at New York-based investment firm Jefferies Group has died from complications of the coronavirus, the company said

NEW YORK — The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments this weekend related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.

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WALL STREET EXECUTIVE DIES:

An executive at New York-based investment firm Jefferies Financial Group died Sunday from complications of the coronavirus, the company said.

Jefferies announced the death of Peregrine “Peg” Broadbent, the chief financial officer of the investment bank Jefferies Group. He was 56.

Company leaders said in a statement that they were heartbroken and credited Broadbent with helping over the past dozen years in building Jefferies Group “from less than half its current size, and navigate through hard times and good times,” and lauded Broadbent’s “decency, calmness and dry wit.”

Jefferies said Broadbent is survived by his wife and five children.

AUTO SHOW SCRAPPED:

The North American International Auto Show said that it will cancel its Detroit show because of the coronavirus pandemic and the center where it is held will likely be repurposed into a hospital.

The Detroit Auto Show, as it is more commonly known, is one of the largest auto shows in North America. It was scheduled to be held in June. Prior to this year, the auto show was traditionally held in January.

“Although we are disappointed, there is nothing more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Detroit and Michigan, and we will do what we can to support our community’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak,” said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts in a statement released late Saturday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to repurpose TCF Center into a temporary field hospital, according to NAIAS. A number of convention centers and other large facilities are being considered as potential sites for care as the virus spreads.

NAIAS will hold its next annual show in June 2021.

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VIRTUAL PINK SLIPS:

How to tell employees you are laying them off when a pandemic prevents you from meeting them in person?

Some companies have taken to video conference platform Zoom to bear bad news remotely. Electric scooter rental startup Bird recently announced on a web-based call that it was cutting 30% of its staff.

Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said the company notified employees on a live Zoom meeting because everyone is working from home during the pandemic.

“Video was turned off which we thought was more humane,” he tweeted Friday after the firm’s layoff-by-teleconference approach drew a backlash on social media. Instead of seeing fellow employees’ reaction to the bad news, there was a slide presentation explaining the decision, the company said.

But “in retrospect,” VanderZanden added, the company should have first made one-on-one calls to the hundreds of affected workers.

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CEO CUTS COMPENSATION:

Columbia Sportswear Co.’s CEO Tim Boyle has slashed his pay as the outdoor clothing and shoe company attempts to weather the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The manufacturer and retailer said that Boyle has reduced his pay to $10,000 a year and that at least 10 of the company’s top executives have taken a voluntary 15% pay reduction.

Columbia, based in Portland, Oregon, owns brands such as Sorel, Mountain Hardware, Prana and its namesake business. It has closed all its retail stores and said it has not laid off any of its more than 7,000 employees nationwide.

Its roughly 3,500 retail employees are being paid their normal paychecks under a “catastrophic pay” plan.

“Columbia has been in business since 1938 and weathered many storms by keeping our focus on the well-being of consumers, employees and the larger community,” Boyle previously said on a statement on the company’s website.

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