Tag: University of Louisville

Aetna CEO slams U.S. senators for ‘unfounded’ accusations; UofL Foundation paying $12K a month for PR advice

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:46 a.m.

Mark Bertolini
Bertolini

HUMANA: Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini says that “marketplace reality” is pushing the company to exit nearly 70% of the counties with public health exchanges next year, and dismissed criticism of the insurer by a group of U.S. senators as “unfounded accusations.” Bertolini was responding to a letter from Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bill Nelson of Florida and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent. The lawmakers said Aetna’s decision to quit numerous health exchanges “appears to be an effort to pressure the Justice Department into approving” its proposed $37 billion purchase of Humana (Hartford Courant).

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Mears, dressing for success.

TACO BELL: Designer and artist Olivia Mears has used Taco Bell wrappers, painted card stock, tissue paper, and felt to make her own spin on Belle’s dress from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” She tells Thrillist: “I had already sewn the yellow ballgown without tacos several years earlier for children’s parties and it was during this time that someone snapped a photo of me while at Taco Bell and it ended up going viral. Fast-forward about three years and I landed a role in a Taco Bell commercial wearing another dress I made from wrappers, so I decided to bring the Belle dress out from storage and continue the legacy.” The dress, unfortunately for fans, isn’t available for sale. But Mears is selling signed photos of it on her AvantGeek Etsy page (Thrillist).

In other news: Facing growing scrutiny from donors and its own university, the University of Louisville Foundation is paying $11,500 a month in retainers for external public relations advice from two Louisville PR shops: RunSwitch Public Relations, led by political strategist Scott Jennings, and Tandem Public Relations, led by Sandra Frazier, according to WFPL; both contracts were extended as of Sept. 1. Frazier, a recently retired Brown-Forman director, was one of Gov. Matt Bevin‘s appointees to a newly reorganized UofL board of trustees (WFPL).

KFC puts $218M U.S. advertising media buying account up for grabs; Papa John’s loses Rupp Arena rights, and more drama engulfs UofL Foundation

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 3:23 p.m.

KFC is looking for more bang for its bucks in a just-launched review of its U.S. spending for advertising and marketing across all channels, including print, broadcast, digital and social media. The review, which in theory could end with the chicken-chain keeping its current agency for the work — ad and marketing giant WPP’s MEC unit — doesn’t include creative work now being done by Wieden & Kennedy since 2015; that agency is responsible for the current campaign of rotating actors and comedians portraying a resurrected Colonel Harland Sanders. KFC’s U.S. division said it’s looking for an agency “capable of deploying innovative media strategies while leveraging cost efficiencies and maximizing return on investment” (AdAge). KFC just launched its latest Sanders TV commercials, featuring a fictional Kentucky Buckets pro football team.

PAPA JOHN’S has given up concession rights at Rupp Arena in Lexington starting this fall, and will be replaced by Hunt Brothers Pizza (Herald-Leader).

jack-daniels-150th-anniversary-whiskeyBROWN-FORMAN‘s Jack Daniel’s has unveiled a new version to celebrate its major birthday this year: Jack Daniel’s 150th Anniversary Whiskey, which is priced around $100 per one-liter bottle (The Whiskey Wash). Jack Daniel’s is the top seller among Brown-Forman’s 19 brands of spirits and wine.

UPS: Utah is giving UPS $5 million in tax incentives for the shipper’s plan to build a $200 million regional package operations center at a yet-to-be-determined site in the state that will create nearly 200 jobs (Salt Lake Tribune). UPS is the single-biggest private employer in Louisville, with 22,000 workers at it Louisville International Airport hub.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE is opening a Bubba’s 33 in east of Dallas in Mesquite as the Louisville-based steakhouse chain expands its new sports bar division. First launched in Fayetteville, N.C., in 2013, there are now a dozen Bubba’s locations, including outlets in Houston and Waco (Culture Map Dallas).

In other news: the University of Louisville board of trustees, escalating its battle with the independent UofL Foundation, today approved a threat to sue the foundation unless it accedes to demands to clean up its act. Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz said as many as 70 donors have called the university over the past few days to say they won’t give any more money unless the foundation shows that it is “clean” (Courier-Journal). Those donors’ threats followed similar ones last week by the James Graham Brown Foundation and the C.E. & S. Foundation led by Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr.

David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

David Jones Sr
Jones

If there’s anything surprising about David A. Jones Sr. formally entering the high-stakes fray over the University of Louisville yesterday, it’s the fact it took this long to become public.

Nearly three months ago, when Gov. Matt Bevin shocked the community by seizing control of the school and dismissing the 20-member governing board he declared “dysfunctional,” the first person I thought of was Jones, the Louisville native, co-founder of Humana, and one of the state’s leading philanthropists.

That June 17, Bevin said his decision was the “culmination of all the conversations I’ve had with everybody on all fronts.” He didn’t reveal the names of those he’d spoken with, but it certainly would have included alumni whose opinion mattered. And few among that select group matters more than Jones.

“One of the university’s most influential and wealthiest graduates,” I wrote the day Bevin moved against the 22,000-student school, “is Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr., who received a bachelor’s degree in business there in 1954.”

Jones and his wife, Betty Ashbury Jones, have long and extensive ties to UofL. She received a bachelor’s degree from the school in 1955, and the two went on to graduate school: David to Yale Law; and Betty, much later, to the French School at Vermont’s Middlebury College. (More on those two schools in a moment). Back in Louisville, Jones and a law partner, Wendell Cherry, launched the health-care company in 1961 that would become the Humana empire, starting with a single nursing home; they became millionaires after it went public in 1968.

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Betty and David Jones.
A Depression-poor childhood

David served on the board of trustees for a time, and Betty taught French Conversation in the Continuing Education Department from 1993 to 2003. For their service to the school, the couple were among the first to be made members of the Arts and Sciences Hall of Honors, in 2007.

David didn’t come from money, and UofL — which he attended on a ROTC scholarship Continue reading “David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville”

Slime time: In the genteel world of old-money philanthropy, pizza king Schnatter is busting loose

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

When Tom Jurich chases the money John Schnatter gives to charity every year, it’s the ever-prowling cats that pose competition.

No — not those ones. I’m referring to the snow leopard and other big cats at Louisville Zoo, just five miles from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the University of Louisville colossus about to undergo a $55 million renovation that athletics director Jurich wants done in just two years.

Schnatter, 54, loves U of L. He’s donated more than $20 million to the 22,000-student school over the past decade, winning naming rights for his Louisville-based pizza chain for decades to come. (And Schnatter’s a Ball State graduate, to boot.)

Papa John's logoBut he also likes other charities — especially the zoo, according to the most recent IRS tax returns for his John H. Schnatter Family Foundation, which filed its 2015 return only last week. The returns show the foundation gave $111,000 to the zoo in 2012-2015; only one other recipient — U of L — got more, among the dozens of charities Schnatter and his wife Annette support. And that was on top of $1.1 million they donated to the zoo in 2008. To be sure, the zoo was just barely ahead of No. 3 on the foundation’s gift list (keep reading).

The returns offer an inside look at how one of the city’s richest couples — we’re talking $800 million — positions themselves in a pecking order where the right kind of philanthropy is the ticket to top-drawer society. This much is clear: the Schnatters don’t give a flying fig about old-money Louisville. They’re passing on virtually all the usual suspects: the Speed Museum, Actors Theatre, Kentucky Opera, the Fund for the Arts — cultural war horses favored by more established families like the Browns and their 150-year-old whiskey fortune, or the Binghams and their faded media empire from 1918.

Instead, the Schnatters devoted their relatively modest $1.9 million to 86 charities over the four years I examined, focused heavily on helping children and veterans; animal welfare and — crucially, for anxious development officers — advancing John Schnatter’s growing interest in free enterprise and limited government.

But he’s never been old money, anyway.

1980s: bustin’ out

After graduating from Ball State University in 1983, Schnatter started Papa John’s in a broom closet at his father’s tavern, Mike’s Lounge, which he famously saved from ruin with $2,800 he got selling his prized 1972 Camaro. Nearly 32 years and many millions of pies later, he stars in his own TV commercials blanketing the air, proving he’s not above getting dirty to make a sale — literally. In a Sony Pictures marketing tie-in this summer, he played a slimed Ghostbuster pizza delivery guy; that’s a still photo, top of page. (Can you imagine Brown-Forman Chairman George Garvin Brown IV dressed as a dancing mint julep for an Old Forester spot? Neither can I.)

Tom Jurich
Jurich

No matter. Schnatter’s laughing all the way  to the bank. Today, Papa John’s has more than 4,700 restaurants in 38 countries and territories. Its 22,000 employees include 750 in Louisville. And his stake in the $2.8 billion behemoth just soared past $800 million for the first time. That’s a lot of loot that’s arrived relatively fast. On a split-adjusted basis, Papa John’s stock has increased six-fold in the past five years alone. The question over at U of L: How much of that will Jurich wrangle for his $55 million stadium project? Continue reading “Slime time: In the genteel world of old-money philanthropy, pizza king Schnatter is busting loose”

Louisville oral surgeon dies regretting his mother denied him a career as a professional wrestler

Grave stones detailThat’s one reading of this week’s Voice-Tribune obituaries, where Dr. W. Ronald “Ron” Harris‘ sendoff takes pains to note that Harris wrestled so well on his high school team, he won a wrestling scholarship to an unidentified Florida university. But! “His mother didn’t tell him he was accepted there until later,” the obit says. “She wanted more for her son.”

He wound up at the University of Louisville, according to the society news weekly. Harris died Aug. 5.

What?! Only 271 days, 10 hours, and 23 minutes until . . .

Citation Derby Trophy. . . the 143rd Kentucky Derby! That’s according to our exclusive 2017 Derby Countdown Clock™. And one of the first kick-off events is next week, when the Kentucky Derby Festival starts registering runners for the marathon and mini-marathon.

The main event, of course, is the first Saturday in May — the 6th in 2017. Here’s one of this past year’s many luminaries: Trey Lewis, the former University of Louisville guard who’s now a Cleveland Cavaliers summer league player:

Registering for the marathons early, the Derby Festival says in a press release, is the one way to guarantee a spot in next year’s races — and to save money. The largest annual day of road racing in Kentucky is set for Saturday, April 29, and will once more be capped at 18,000 runners.  Registration will be available online at Derby Festival Marathon starting Aug. 12. Early registration fees are $65 for the mini and $75 for the marathon through Oct. 31.

Photo, top left: Citation‘s winning trophy from 1948; he was the eighth Triple Crown Winner. It was designed by George Lewis Graff for the Louisville firm Lemon & Son, according to the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington.