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ClearSale Executives to Inspire the Next Generation of Business Leaders with the MRC Mentor Program

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Two Big Changes to Our Leadership Team

Leading fraud protection provider ClearSale (http://clear.sale) announced that its EVP and Partner, Rafael Lourenco, and Country Manager for ClearSale Mexico, Victor Islas, have joined the Merchant Risk Council Mentor Program as Mentors.

Rafael Lourenco

Rafael Lourenco

The MRC mentorship program was designed to encourage educational development through knowledge sharing, inspire and develop the next generation of leaders, and grow careers with mutually beneficial partnerships. Mentorship is a driving force in propelling the next generation of industry leaders, and the MRC is committed to nurturing the career development of eCommerce fraud, payments, and risk professionals globally. Having recently achieving B Corp certification, ClearSale’s dedication to sustainability, employee empowerment, and social impact feeds directly into MRC’s Mentor Program goals, and Rafael and Victor, both leaders in fraud prevention and merchant education, are perfect candidates to embody these principles.

Leading smart people to solve complex problems in dynamic environments is Rafael’s signature skill. Representing one of the world’s largest firms of its kind, Rafael has over a decade of e-commerce fraud detection and prevention expertise in major international markets. From his base in Miami, he oversees ClearSale’s global anti-fraud operation by leading its commercial, statistical intelligence and IT teams and providing technical and executive management for all the operation’s employees.

Victor Islas

Victor Islas

“I am thrilled to be accepted as a mentor for MRC, I look forward to guiding and sharing insights with the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Rafael Lourenco. “MRC and ClearSale share the common goals of raising up our industry as a whole by bringing business knowledge and vital experience to those in need of it.”

With more than a decade of international experience in digital business transformation, Victor has focused on helping Latin American companies adopt cutting-edge technology, processes and trends. He has comprehensive experience with technology including CRM systems, mobility, logistics systems, payment methods and fraud prevention for eCommerce.

“We are focused on fueling the success of those that are coming up in the industry,” said Victor. “Education and protection of merchants is of utmost importance to us, so becoming mentors gives us the opportunity to focus the passion and hard work of others in the right direction to ensure growth.”

Both Rafael and Victor are available to take on mentees via MRC’s mentorship program, to find out more, email [email protected] or visit MRC’s Mentor Program Center.

About ClearSale

ClearSale helps e-retailers increase sales and eliminate chargebacks before they happen. Its solution protects a merchant’s business by sorting orders and giving an accurate determination of fraud risk, then manually reviews every suspect transaction, providing the highest approval rates industry-wide and virtually eliminating false positives.

Business

Employee ownership – resilience in a time of uncertainty

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Five things investors and listed companies need to know about the common ownership debate and why it matters

By Stephen Greenwood, Owner of Valloop

White House economist Jared Bernstein is a major advocate for employee ownership, in which employees buy the company they work for. In a recent study, he notes the model’s various benefits, such as how it both improves job quality as well as increasing workers’ wealth and productivity.

As a long-time adviser to President Biden, it’s highly likely Bernstein will be pushing the US Government to encourage more private businesses to transition to employee ownership. Given today’s financial uncertainty, now would seem an opportune time for businesses everywhere to consider the concept, not only for the economic and emotional stability and resilience it can offer to their employees, but also for the positive impact it can have on their bottom line and wider society. In the study, Bernstein references Federal Reserve data which showed that over half of corporate stock was held by the wealthiest one percent of households – conversely, the bottom 50 percent hold just 1 percent of the value of corporate entities. Bernstein emphasises the role employee ownership can play in redressing this imbalance: “ESOPs (Employee shared ownership plans) transfer capital ownership to wage earners, directly reducing extremely high levels of wealth concentration, and ESOP firms appear to have less internal wage dispersion”.

Wide-ranging benefits

As a form of business buy-out, employee ownership offers owners the chance to sell their company or retire but, rather than see their legacy subsumed by a competitor or PLC, it allows them to see it remain a going concern, simultaneously protecting a loyal workforce and the business’ wider community. At Valloop, we take an ethical approach to buy-outs by providing the financial instruments required for SME employees across Europe to buy their businesses via its intelligent buy-out (IBO) frameworks, creating employee co-owned companies driving value and change through greater social inclusion. This ensures a strong financial performance for investors in a way that also benefits society. In the past five years we have seen compound annual growth of more than 15%*.

The benefits of employee ownership have been proven. Underpinned by the simple idea that no business can thrive without its people, an employee ownership structure gives everyone involved a common goal – that of commercial success. Knowing they have a stake in the business, employees feel directly involved in a company’s success and that they will be rewarded for it. Indeed, research shows that the approach leads to a happier workforce: a greater involvement in the decision-making and future direction of a company results in a greater sense of satisfaction and wellbeing.

Its benefits spread beyond a company’s employees too. Companies in which employees have a stake often tend to remain rooted in the community, for example. Not only does this help protect jobs, but it can also give the company a competitive advantage, encouraging local business opportunities, and maintaining legacy company-supplier relationships. What’s more, it’s likely that employees will spend their greater take-home pay within their local communities and transition those who are classed as in-work poverty towards greater financial independence.

Essentially, the community inclusion enabled by employee-owned companies can create better performing businesses while, at the same time, transforming the fabric of society. And in the current climate, this inclusion has never been needed more.

This begs the question of why aren’t there more employee-owned businesses? Arguably, the reason there aren’t more is because the financial products have not existed to enable buyouts like this that benefit all stakeholders – investors, owners and employees. Valloop does that and has democratised access to its Private Markets Fund with the £100k point of entry for investors. By opening the market in this way, employee ownership can be brought into the mainstream.

For greater resilience

Stephen Greenwood

Stephen Greenwood

According to the Employee Ownership Association, “employee-owned businesses achieve higher productivity and greater levels of innovation and are more resilient to economic turbulence.”

By acting in the long-term interest of its workforce, an employee-owned business will tend not to deliver short-term benefits for a select few stakeholders. It will typically enjoy a significantly healthier – and, importantly, stable – bottom line. And, with better informed, more engaged, and more trusting employees, it will be highly resilient to economic changes.

Of course, the impact of COVID-19 means the country is undergoing a level of economic turbulence not seen since the Second World War. With almost one in five UK businesses either temporarily or permanently ceasing to trade by the end of 2020, the need for business resilience has never been more critical – and not just for the businesses themselves.

While a company’s resilience will come from the ability of its employees and processes to adapt to change, a mix of different business types will help make a community more resilient to economic shock, and the assurance of job and financial security will enable workers to better weather the storm. As Deb Oxley OBE, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association explains, now is the time to consider employee ownership: “The Valloop solution launches at a time when the interest in employee ownership is rocketing across the UK SME sector as business owners and their management teams seek alternative ways to secure the future of their businesses. The long-term resilience of businesses and regions is increasingly more relevant as the UK builds back from the pandemic and innovations such as Valloop are very much welcomed by the Employee Ownership Association as a way of ensuring more businesses and their employees are able to experience the benefits of employee ownership, whilst contributing to a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”

This need for resilience is echoed in the US. According to Stephanie Silverman, President and CEO of the Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA), “as hardworking Americans grapple with staggering economic uncertainty driven by the pandemic, we hope more policymakers in Washington will… encourage private companies to become [employee]-owned, giving more Americans the chance to have financial stability and giving more companies the opportunity to see productivity gains as well.”

For the good of society

The concept of employee ownership is nothing new. The John Lewis Partnership, for example, has been at least partially owned by its employees for over 100 years. It’s the largest of over 370 such businesses in the country which, together, deliver 4 percent of UK GDP each year.

But it has become more relevant in the time of COVID. It matters to society. Not only does it offer owners an alternative to selling to a competitor or overseas buyer but, by creating democratic ownership of a company for all of its employees, it protects jobs, and by keeping the business and its productivity in the region, it protects communities.

Given the wide-ranging benefits of employee-owned companies, the title of Bernstein’s study is apt in this current period of economic uncertainty – “Why aren’t there more?”. The simple answer is that there were not liquidity investors, until now…

* past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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Hyundai Motor to recall Kona EV and other electric vehicles in South Korea

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Hyundai Motor to recall Kona EV and other electric vehicles in South Korea 1

SEOUL (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co will recall 26,699 electric vehicles including Kona EVs in South Korea due to potential fire risks, South Korea’s transport ministry said on Wednesday.

The recall will replace the vehicles’ battery systems and applies to 25,083 Kona EVs, starting March 29, the ministry said in a statement.

It is Hyundai’s second recall for the Kona, its best-selling electric vehicle and follows a decision by South Korean authorities this year to launch a probe into whether the previous recall was adequate. The first recall occurred in October after a series of fires but in January one of the recalled vehicles caught fire.

The Kona EV uses batteries manufactured by LG Chem Ltd’s wholly owned battery division LG Energy Solution.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Edwina Gibbs)

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FAA orders immediate inspections of some Boeing 777 engines after United failure

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FAA orders immediate inspections of some Boeing 777 engines after United failure 2

By David Shepardson and Jamie Freed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Tuesday it was ordering immediate inspections of Boeing 777 planes with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines before further flights after an engine failed on a United flight on Saturday.

Operators must conduct a thermal acoustic image inspection of the large titanium fan blades located at the front of each engine, the FAA said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Monday that a cracked fan blade from the United Flight 328 engine that caught fire was consistent with metal fatigue.

“Based on the initial results as we receive them, as well as other data gained from the ongoing investigation, the FAA may revise this directive to set a new interval for this inspection or subsequent ones,” the FAA said.

The engine that failed on the 26-year-old Boeing 777 and shed parts over a Denver suburb on Saturday was a PW4000. The engines are used on 128 planes, or less than 10% of the global fleet of more than 1,600 delivered 777 widebody jets.

In March 2019, after a 2018 United engine failure attributed to fan blade fatigue, the FAA ordered inspections every 6,500 cycles. A cycle is one take-off and landing.

South Korea’s transport ministry said on Tuesday it had told its airlines to inspect the fan blades every 1,000 cycles following guidance from Pratt after the latest United incident.

An airline would typically accumulate 1,000 cycles about every 10 months on a 777, according to an industry source familiar with the matter.

The FAA said in 2019 that each inspection was expected to take 22 man-hours and cost $1,870. It did not provide updated estimates on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Pratt, owned by Raytheon Technologies , said fan blades would need to be shipped to its repair station in East Hartford, Connecticut, for the fresh inspections, including those from airlines in Japan and South Korea.

South Korea’s transport ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment after the FAA’s order. Korean Air and Asiana Airlines said they would comply with the relevant authorities’ directives.

Boeing said it supported the FAA’s latest inspection guidance and would work through the process with its customers.

It had earlier recommended that airlines suspend the use of the planes while the FAA identified an appropriate inspection protocol, and Japan imposed a temporary suspension on flights after the Saturday incident.

Japan’s transport ministry said on Wednesday it was examining the FAA directive and had not yet decided what action to take.

The FAA spent the last two days discussing the extent of the inspection requirements, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

On Monday, the FAA acknowledged that after a Japan Airlines engine incident in December it had been considering stepping up blade inspections.

United, the only U.S. operator, had temporarily grounded its fleet before the FAA announcement. The airline said on Tuesday it would comply with the airworthiness directive.

United has warned of possible disruptions to its cargo flight schedule in March as it juggles its fleet after its decision to ground 24 Boeing 777-200 planes, according to a notice sent to cargo customers.

Another 28 of United’s 777-200 planes were already grounded before the incident on Saturday, amid a plunge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jamie Freed in Sydney; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Joyce Lee in Seoul and Eimi Yamamitsu in Tokyo Editing by Himani Sarkar and Gerry Doyle)

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