Early Briefing: Change at The Post

Katharine Weymouth, niece of Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham, has been vice president of advertising. Photo Credit: The Washington Post Photo

*The Washington Post Co. is creating a new division that oversees both the newspaper and washingtonpost.com and appointed Katharine Weymouth - granddaughter of Katharine Graham, niece of Chairman Donald Graham (and Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth) - to head it.

The announcement came at the annual state of The Post meeting, at which it was also said that the College Park printing plant will close and that some newsroom staffers and other employees will be offered early-retirement packages. (No, you don't get to pick who.) See story

*The economic stimulus bill passed by Congress last night would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy or guarantee bigger mortgages - up to $729,750. James B. Lockhart III, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, said the change would push the companies deeper into some of the riskiest real estate markets, including parts of California. And while Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the change "will be a significant and profitable new business" for the companies, Freddie Mac chief executive Richard F. Syron countered that setting up new systems to handle the larger loans will cost his company a lot of money and will be "kind of a bear to do." See story

*Hundreds of workers are trying to get the new Nationals ballpark ready, and about a half a mile away, more are working to get Metro's Navy Yard Station prepared. See story

*Sallie Mae general counsel Robert Lavet resigned last week, a spokesman said. Lavet joined the Reston company in 1992. Deputy general counsel Michael Sheehan will lead the legal department until a permanent replacement is found. A company spokesman said the resignation was voluntary and "amicable."

*Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a financial management consultancy based in Arlington, said chief financial officer Carl Mautz plans to retire in August, after completing the financial results for the current fiscal year and the financial plan for fiscal 2009. The company said an internal and external search is underway for Mautz's replacement. See news release

* Martek Biosciences, a Columbia maker of nutritional oils for foods and baby formula, has won preliminary approval to settle a class-action shareholder lawsuit for $6 million without admitting wrongdoing.
U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis in Baltimore scheduled an April 4 hearing for a final decision on the settlement's fairness, according to the law firms for the investors. Garbis gave preliminary approval on Jan. 14. Plaintiffs accused Martek of giving investors false and misleading information about its growth potential.

*Business consultancy BearingPoint paid Rhoads Group $100,000 in the second half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form.

The firm lobbied on military and other appropriations bills, according to the Senate's public records office. The McLean company paid the firm $100,000 in the first six months of 2007 to lobby on the same issues.

*Lockheed Martin of Bethesda won a $194 million contract from the U.S. Army to build long-range, surface-to-surface missiles of the type used in the invasion of Iraq. Production of the Army Tactical Missile System will take place at company facilities in Dallas and Horizon City, Tex., Lockheed said.

By Terri Rupar  |  February 8, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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