OPERATIONS

Court blocks Costco gender bias suit

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Costco Wholesale Corp won a federal appeals court decision that blocks women who accused the company of gender bias from suing as a group. Although the ruling overturns a judge’s decision to expand a suit filed by three women to include hundreds of female workers, the court left open the possibility that the case could again be brought as a class action.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a lower court judge failed to properly decide whether there was enough "commonality" among the female Costco plaintiffs to justify class certification. It sent the case back to the lower court judge to determine whether she could certify a class under a different federal rule.

The Costco case involved about 600 current and former employees who accused the chain of making it harder for women to be promoted to general manager or assistant general manager.

Both sides said they were happy with the court’s most recent decision.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Outsourcing of facilities management continues to increase

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The outsourcing of real estate and facilities management (REFM) activities is expected to expected to hold steady or increase, according to the inaugural KPMG 2011 global real estate and facilities management outsourcing pulse survey. Among the buyers of REFM services, 50% said they plan to increase outsourcing over the next one to two quarters. Longer term, over the next 12 months, 44% of buyers plan to increase their REFM outsourcing

“Although some organizations are considering outsourcing REFM services for the first time, others that are already outsourcing are looking for opportunities to outsource more sites and services, as well as consolidate or restructure their current contracts to realize additional savings,” said Ron Walker, principal and REFM sector leader in KPMG’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory group.

Reduction of operating costs was identified as the as the top driver of REFM outsourcing, both by buyers (70%) of REFM services and of service providers (75%). The second most common driver cited by buyers (41%) was improvement of the performance of REFM processes.

Among companies outsourcing REFM activities, the most commonly outsourced area was workplace services, which includes janitorial, cafeteria, and amenities services. The second most frequently REFM outsourced area was facilities (HVAC, electrical, mechanical, building repair).

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Retail vet Andy Giancamilli retiring as CEO of Katz Group

BY Staff Writer

Toronto — Katz Group Canada has announced the retirement of industry veteran Andy Giancamilli as CEO, effective Feb. 2, 2012. Katz is Canada’s largest integrated pharmacy network, operating more than 1,800 chain, franchise and independent pharmacies,

Giancamilli will remain in an advisory role until May 2012. He will be succeeded by Frank Scorpiniti, who joined the company in April as COO.

Giancamilli came to Katz after serving as executive VP at Canadian Tire. Prior to that, he was president and COO of Kmart.

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