The digital business week

21 Nov 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Apple passes on late Steve Jobs’ chairman title to Arthur Levinson

Apple has named its long-serving director Arthur Levinson as chairman of the board. The position had been vacant since the passing of Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs in early October.

Jobs had been chairman for less than two months before his death. He created the position when he stepped down as Apple chief executive in August.

Levinson has been a co-lead director of Apple’s board since 2005. He has served on all three board committees – audit and finance, nominating and corporate governance, and compensation – and will continue to serve on the audit committee. Apple has also announced that Robert A Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, will join Apple’s board and will serve on the audit committee.

Twitter hires its first Dublin employee

Twitter, which is locating its international operations in Dublin, has appointed Laurence O’Brien as financial controller for its EMEA operations, has learned. O’Brien previously worked for enterprise software player Novell and Dublin tech start-up Prime Carrier.

It emerged in September that Twitter is to locate its international headquarters in Dublin, joining other key players in the internet world, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga and many others.

Dublin had competed intensively against London for the project.

The company has shortlisted buildings in Dublin 2 and Dublin 4 for its offices.

According to O’Brien’s profile on LinkedIn, he has been based at Twitter since October and he will be “responsible for the establishment of Twitter’s EMEA headquarters in Dublin.”

EIB provides €90m for UCD campus development

The European Investment Bank has agreed to fund redevelopments at University College Dublin as part of its engagement to support the knowledge economy in Ireland.

The European Union’s long-term lending institution will provide €90m for the ongoing transformation of campus facilities.

Agreement to fund the campus redevelopment project was signed at UCD, Dublin, by European Investment Bank vice-president Plutarchos Sakellaris and UCD vice-president for finance, Gerry O’Brien.

Funding from the European Investment Bank will be used to develop six buildings, including the second phase of UCD’s Science Centre, construction of a new School of Law and refurbishment and construction of student accommodation.

The UCD Campus Development Plan 2010-2015 is set to make the campus more compact, concentrating related activities and separating academic and leisure functions. The overall redevelopment aims to consolidate and enhance this position of pre-eminence by providing future generations with a sustainable, healthy and living campus.

Prometric to locate new operation in Louth, aims to create 100 jobs

Prometric, which provides test development and delivery solutions, will establish a new business operation in Co Louth and hopes to grow it by 100 employees by 2014.

Test Development Solutions, its newly-organised global function, will be located in Dundalk, Co Louth. Prometrics expects that by establishing synchronised test development operations in the US, Europe and Asia, it will continue the double-digit revenue growth rates it achieved over the past three years.

Prometric’s new Irish operation will add to its current operations in the US, India and Japan. When complete, it will double the Prometric workforce dedicated to job task analyses, test item development, exam publishing, test score analysis and reporting and test publishing systems’ development.

Prometric also has an Irish subsidiary headquarters in Dublin, with more than 75 employees in Ireland.

Dell reports profitable third quarter

Dell’s strategic focus on higher-value opportunities, combined with an increased mix of enterprise solutions and services sales has paid off for the company. Dell reported increased profitability on revenue of US$15.4bn in its third quarter, flat compared with revenue a year ago.

Dell’s GAAP earnings per share hit US49 cents, up 17pc; non-GAAP EPS was US54 cents, up 20pc.

The company’s GAAP operating income amounted to US$1.1bn, or 7.4pc of revenue. Non-GAAP operating income was US$1.3bn, or 8.4pc of revenue.

Cash flow from operations reached US$851m for the quarter and US$5.2bn over the last four quarters.

Dell ended the quarter with US$16bn in cash and investments and repurchased US$600m in stock in the quarter. For the year, Dell has spent US$2.18bn to purchase 142m shares of Dell stock.

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