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GM official seen defecting to VWThe signs...


GM official seen defecting to VW

The signs are growing stronger each day that Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, General Motors Corp.'s energetic purchasing chief, will jump ship next week and join Volkswagen A.G.

Ward's Automotive Reports, citing unidentified sources in Wolfsburg, Germany, where VW is based, reported yesterday that Mr. Lopez would join the German automaker today. At GM, managers said they thought Mr. Lopez had not yet decided whether to accept a VW offer.

American Express seeks cash

American Express Co. plans to raise as much as $1.2 billion by selling more than half of its 54 percent stake in First Data Corp., its credit-card processing arm, the company announced. American Express said it will use the $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion in proceeds for general corporate purposes.

General Kinetics gets ANT order

General Kinetics Inc. in Rockville said yesterday it has an order for $5.3 million worth of secure facsimile equipment from ANT Nachrichtentechnik Gmbh, based in Germany. ANT ordered the equipment from General Kinetics' Secure Communications Division, called Cryptek.

S&L; figure pleads not guilty

Charles W. Knapp, whose American Savings & Loan was the largest thrift ever to fail, pleaded innocent to defrauding another collapsed S&L; by lying to obtain a $15 million loan that was never repaid.

Also pleading innocent in the Los Angeles case was his financial adviser, Anthony C. Sarno. Both are free on bail. A third defendant, accountant Joseph V. Nash, is serving an unrelated 11-year sentence for bank fraud.

Safeway CEO to step down

Peter Magowan, chairman of Safeway Inc. in Oakland, Calif., said yesterday that he'll step down as chief executive officer of the supermarket chain to devote more time to his new career as president of the San Francisco Giants.

He will stay on as chairman of Safeway, the nation's second-largest chain, with 1,100 stores. The company's new president, Steve Burd, will take on the duties of chief executive as of May 1.

Pharmakinetics' disclosure OK'd

Pharmakinetics Laboratories Inc. said yesterday that the U.S. bankruptcy court has approved the disclosure statement to Pharmakinetics' amended reorganization plan. The company said it filed the disclosure statement Jan. 29. A hearing on the plan has been set for April 1.

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