BUSINESS DIGEST

The Baltimore Sun

PNC to cut 5,800 jobs after reporting 4Q loss

PNC Financial Services Group Inc., which became a major banking competitor in the Baltimore region last year by acquiring Mercantile Bankshares, announced plans to cut 5,800 jobs as it disclosed a $248 million fourth-quarter loss. The job cuts announced by PNC cover about 9.7 percent of the combined banks' 59,595-person work force, PNC said. The company expects to complete the cuts by 2011 to help save $1.2 billion annually.

AOL names new advertising chief

AOL, struggling to remake itself as an advertising-based company, has named former Yahoo executive Gregory Coleman as head of its online advertising unit, making him the third person in that role in 17 months. The unit revolves around Baltimore-based Advertising.com. Coleman, Yahoo Inc.'s former executive vice president for global sales, replaces Lynda Clarizio, who took the position last March. Clarizio had been charged with improving the integration of Advertising.com and other related acquisitions, but the effort appears to have run into problems as the recession crimps advertising budgets. Clarizio hasn't announced whether she will leave the company.

Yerman, Gaylord Brooks realty units to merge

The real estate brokerage arm of land developer Gaylord Brooks Realty Co. is merging with Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin Realty, the real estate division of Baltimore-based Strata Group. Gaylord Brooks, also based in Baltimore, will continue developing land for residential communities. The company has developed more than 50 communities, mostly in northern Baltimore County. Gaylord's 10 real estate sales agents will become agents for Yerman, which now has 60 agents. The merged entity will be responsible for selling the 100 building lots Gaylord developed and has on the market in northern Baltimore, Carroll and Harford counties. Yerman, Witman expects to market the homes that eventually will be built on those lots, said William Yerman, chief executive of Strata. The two-year-old Strata also has a new-homes division, mortgage company, title company and financial services arm.

Lorraine Mirabella

Wells Fargo defends, then cancels Vegas junket

WASHINGTON: Wells Fargo & Co. abruptly canceled yesterday a pricey Las Vegas casino junket for employees after criticism that it was misusing $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money. The company initially defended the trip after the Associated Press reported it had booked 12 nights beginning Friday at the Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore Las Vegas. But within hours, investigators and lawmakers on Capitol Hill had scorned the bank, and the company canceled. The conference is a Wells Fargo tradition. Previous all-expense-paid trips have included helicopter rides, wine tasting, horseback riding in Puerto Rico and a private Jimmy Buffett concert in the Bahamas.

Associated Press

A brief article in yesterday's Business section gave the incorrect number of real estate agents at Yerman Witman Gaines & Conklin Realty. The firm has 120 agents.The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.
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