Ind. Kindred exec accused of child molestation found dead; layoffs hit Deutsch ad agency that lost Pizza Hut account; GE Firstbuild’s cold-brew coffee maker set for 2017 release

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 7:42 p.m.

KINDRED: The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says Kindred Greenwood hospital CFO William Brenner was found dead inside his home near Indianapolis yesterday, 10 days after authorities accused him of molesting a 6-year-old boy he was fostering in 2014 and 2015.

William Brenner

Police say there was no evidence of a struggle and no weapons were found near the body. Investigators believe he may have had a medical episode and had died several days earlier. His body was found in a hallway and was badly decomposed (WIBC).

Brenner, 49, faced four counts of felony child molesting and one count of felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, according to the Indianapolis Star. The Greenwood facility is one of Louisville-based Kindred’s 95 transitional care and rehabilitation hospitals. Greenwood is 12 miles south of Indianapolis.

Also today, Kindred said it would release its second-quarter financial results on Aug. 4 after stock markets close. The following day, it will host a teleconference with Wall Street analysts to discuss the report (press release).

In downtown Louisville, construction is picking up at Kindred’s new headquarters expansion at Broadway and Fourth streets after a relatively slow start. The $36 million project financed with substantial public incentives will add 142,000 square feet and around 500 new jobs. Plans also include around 7,000 square feet of restaurant space (Broken Sidewalk).

PIZZA HUT: Advertising agency Deutsch went through a round of layoffs at its Los Angeles office last week directly related to the loss of the Pizza Hut account last spring. A Deutsch spokesperson would say only that less than 2% of the L.A.-based team had been affected. Deutsch won the struggling Yum unit’s account two years ago and went on to create the agency’s debut campaign (which essentially said, “We’re Italian”); video, top. Last December, the pizza chain started shopping the account, eventually choosing the independent Droga5 agency in May — its fifth agency of record in six years. Multiple sources have told Adweek that Pizza Hut is not the world’s most agreeable client. It’s not yet clear when Droga5’s first work for the chain will appear (Adweek).


GE: A cold-brew coffeemaker developed by GE Appliances’ Firstbuild laboratory in Louisville is scheduled to reach the market next summer, after first passing through a crowdfunding round on IndieGoGo. The lab is using unconventional funding for the coffee maker, called Prisma, not so much as a financial requirement as it is an awareness-raising launchpad. “We believe crowdfunding is a great way to validate products with the early adopter community,” Firstbuild Senior Design Engineer Justin Brown told Daily Coffee News. The Prisma can make anywhere from five to 25 ounces of ready-to-drink cold coffee (Daily Coffee News).

AMAZON has reportedly fired one of its delivery men after a video revealed he had stolen a laptop shipped by the retail giant to a woman in the San Francisco Bay area. The robbery came amid a spike of similar doorstep thefts around San Jose. The woman captured the theft on video, which she then sent to the retailer, where a manager subsequently recognized the man (KGO).

BROWN-FORMAN: A wave of craft distillers are in for a shock when their product simultaneously comes of age and hits the market all at once. “I think there will be a real issue when it comes to all these distilleries releasing their whiskies,” CEO Mark Rainier of Waterford Distillery in southeast Ireland told The Spirits Business.” When they all come to market at around the same time there will be a scrabble, especially because they are all positioned at the super-premium end of the spectrum.” Global launches of craft spirits brands grew 265% between 2011 and 2015. Such brands have also accounted for one in seven — 15% — of new spirit launches to-date in 2016 (Spirits Business).

Last month, Brown-Forman completed its $405 million purchase of Scotland’s BenRiach Distillery Co., bringing returning the Louisville spirits giant to the single-malt scotch whisky business. The nearly 150-year-old company employs 1,300 workers in Louisville, and another 3,300 worldwide.

FORD is teaming up with Jose Cuervo to explore the use of the tequila producer’s agave plant byproduct to develop more sustainable bioplastics for exterior and interior components, including wiring harnesses, HVAC units and storage bins. A sustainable composite could reduce vehicle weight and lower energy consumption, while cutting the use of petrochemicals and the impact of vehicle production on the environment (press release).

In other news, Jefferson County home sales rose 6.1% to 5,692 during the year’s first half vs. the same period a year ago, the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors said. The average sale price was $191,283 vs. $189,743 last year (Courier-Journal).

The Portland Investment Initiative led by businessman and politician Gill Holland has added to its Portland neighborhood real estate holdings with a 2.5-acre site near Rowan and 24th streets. The site includes the 13,000-square-foot Portland Station Terminal. The building is near the next $40 million phase of Waterfront Park. Partners in the Holland group include Matt Gilles, Ali Navigar, Gregg Rochman, Ryan Brown and Greg Brown (Courier-Journal, too).

Gill Holland

Holland won the Democratic nomination last spring for Metro Council District 16 in the East End, and now faces Republican Scott Reed, a printing company executive, in the November general election. In addition to his real estate ventures, Holland, 51, owns The Group Entertainment LLC, which includes a film production company, talent management division, a music company and an art gallery, according to Wikipedia. He is married to Brown-Forman board member Augusta Brown Holland. She co-founded Haystack Partners, which developed the Green Building in NuLu.

James Ramsey

University of Louisville President James Ramsey needs only to stay employed as president of the school’s charitable foundation until Jan. 1 to earn an additional $250,000 in deferred compensation, plus a “gross-up” payment to satisfy income taxes, which could bring the total award to about $450,000 (WDRB). Ramsey, 67, submitted a resignation letter last week to the university’s newly appointed trustees, but the board hasn’t disclosed any decision on his request. Gov. Matt Bevin reorganized the board last month after it was roiled by controversies that included Ramsey’s seven-figure pay checks.

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