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Aetna executive sues insurerA former executive at...

Aetna executive sues insurer

A former executive at the Aetna Life and Casualty Co. contended in a lawsuit filed yesterday that the company's life insurance unit concealed from shareholders up to $1 billion in potential real estate losses during the 1990s and then dismissed him in retaliation when he went outside his department to tell what he knew.

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A spokesman for the Hartford, Conn.-based company said the accusations were investigated internally beginning last fall and found to be without merit and that the elimination of the employee's job in January had nothing to do with the issues he had raised.

The lawsuit, filed in Hartford Superior Court by Robert C. Reeves Jr., says the company overestimated the value of its commercial properties, but then did not disclose in public filings the numbers its analysts produced, flawed or not, from 1990 through 1994, or perhaps longer.

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Alex. Brown hired by county

Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. has been hired by Escambia County, Florida, to sell nearly all the $18.8 million in derivatives that remain from a $44.5 million investment portfolio, county officials said yesterday.

The rural county in the Florida Panhandle lost 58 percent of its investment fund by purchasing volatile derivative securities whose value plunged as interest rates rose.

Alex. Brown will receive a flat fee of $27,500 for the duration of the project and won't execute any trades, County Comptroller Jim Moye said.

Steelworkers board OKs merger

The board of the United Steelworkers of America voted unanimously yesterday to approve a merger with the United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America.

The rubber union's board approved the merger last week. The proposal will be submitted to a convention of the 60-year-old rubber workers union for approval. The merger would boost the Steelworkers' membership by about 98,000, to 660,000, in the United States and Canada.

Microsoft executive to retire

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Microsoft Corp. Executive Vice President Mike Maples said yesterday he will retire in two months, sparking a reorganization of top management at the software giant.

Mr. Maples, 52, a top lieutenant to Chairman Bill Gates with responsibility for the company's worldwide products group, said he would step down after seven years at Microsoft that followed a 23-year career at rival IBM Corp.

Welch has bypass surgery

John F. Welch, the chairman of General Electric Co., is recuperating from elective coronary artery bypass surgery. Mr. Welch, 59, underwent surgery on three arteries Friday in Boston.


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