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Business roundup: Steelmaker to cut 75 workers at Beaver County plants; more

| Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, 12:01 a.m.

Steelmaker to cut 75 at plants in Beaver County

Steelmaker TMK IPSCO is laying off about 75 workers from its two Beaver County plants that make piping for oil and gas drilling and wells.

The layoffs represent about 10 percent of the employees at the Russian-owned company's facilities in Koppel and Ambridge.

Spokesman Roger Bentley on Monday blamed the layoffs on a slowdown in orders from drillers that have cut back activity because of low oil and gas prices.

The company is watching contracts at its 10 other North American plants — some of which make line pipe for oil and gas transmission — but no workers have been cut from those facilities, Bentley said.

NEP Group acquires Irish business

NEP Group Inc., a Harmar-based company that provides television production services around the world, acquired an Irish firm that includes related outside broadcasting and satellite uplink businesses.

Buying the Screen Scene Group and its companies, which are based in Dublin and West London, increases NEP's reach and adds to its facilities and equipment, which include 85 high-definition outside broadcast units, a fleet of mobile trucks and studios in Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, London, Sydney, and Melbourne, the company said Monday. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Both NEP and Screen Scene have been in business about 30 years. New York-based private equity firm Crestview Partners bought a majority stake in NEP in 2012.

Jeep recalls more than 228K Cherokees

Jeep is recalling more than 228,000 SUVs worldwide to fix a software problem that can cause side air bags to inflate for no reason.

The recall, which covers Jeep Cherokees from the 2014 and 2015 model years, is the latest in a recent string of auto industry troubles with air bags that include deployment without a crash and inflation with so much force that the air bags spew shrapnel at drivers or passengers.

Fiat Chrysler, which makes Jeeps, said there have been a few inadvertent air bag deployments during extreme maneuvers when drivers dramatically change the angle of travel.

Canadian safety regulators say the problem occurred mainly during off-road situations.

Sudden air bag inflation can startle drivers and cause crashes, but Chrysler said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries.

Dick's expands CFO's responsibilities

Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc., has expanded the responsibilities of its chief financial officer to include the role of chief operating officer.

Andre J. Hawaux assumes the duties from Joseph Schmidt, who recently retired. Hawaux will oversee store operations, real estate and human resources in addition to his duties for the financial, legal and technology operations of the company, the Findlay-based retailer said Monday.

Hawaux has been with Dick's since 2013, when he was hired as CFO. Before that, Hawaux was president of consumer foods at ConAgra Foods, Inc., a large packaged foods company.

Schmidt, who had been with Dick's for 24 years, announced his retirement in September.

Ex-Deloitte exec joins BNY Mellon board

Bank of New York Mellon has added a former accounting firm executive to its board of directors.

The bank said Monday that Joseph Echevarria was elected to its board and will be on the slate of nominees for election at the annual meeting on April 14.

Echevarria, 58, retired as CEO of Deloitte LLP last year. He will serve on BNY Mellon's audit committee and the corporate social responsibility committee.

He is the fourth new board member at BNY Mellon in the past 10 months, and his addition expands the board to 15 members.

Lululemon founder resigns from board

Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athletica Inc. who resigned as chairman last year amid controversy about comments he made about customers' body types, has stepped down from the yoga clothing company's board.

Wilson established the Canadian company in 1998. It has grown to more than 250 stores and has a loyal customer base.

Lululemon has had its share of challenges recently. Last year, the company dealt with complaints from customers that some of its yoga pants, which can cost about $100, were too sheer. Other problems included pilling, holes and seams coming apart. Those problems were expensive to fix.

Wilson upset some customers later in 2014 when he said some of the pants problems were related to customers' body types. He agreed to step down as chairman after that incident but remained a board member.

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