Oscar Munoz United Airlines

United Airlines to link executive pay to customer experience

United Airlines has revealed plans to tie its executive pay structure to customer satisfaction levels as it seeks to rebuild its reputation following a recent PR disaster.

Two weeks ago footage emerged of a passenger being violently dragged off a United plane for refusing to give up his seat on the over-booked flight.

United has faced heavy criticism for its handling of the incident, particularly after its CEO Oscar Munoz failed to clearly apologise and take full responsibility in his first public statement. He described the passenger in question, David Dao, as “disruptive and belligerent” and only later issued a full apology.

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, United said it was changing its remuneration policy in a bid to ensure no repeat of such incidents.

It said: “United’s management and the board take recent events extremely seriously and are in the process of developing targeted compensation programme design adjustments to ensure that employees’ incentive opportunities for 2017 are directly and meaningfully tied to progress in improving the customer experience.”

Furthermore, the airline said a prior agreement with Munoz to become chairman of the board in 2018 had been cancelled.

READ MORE: United Airlines to tie executive pay to customer satisfaction

Woolworths brand could be set for high street return

The former commercial and marketing director of Woolworths is in talks to bring the brand back to UK high streets.

Tony Page said in an interview with Daily Star Online that he had approached Shop Direct about buying the brand back. The retail chain went into administration in 2008 with debts of £400m, resulting in the closure of 800 stores.

“I am still emotionally attached to it,” he said. “I still think it has got a role in the future.”

Shop Direct ran Woolworths as an online retail site after acquiring the brand but wound it down in 2015 and moved customers to its Very brand.

Page recently left his role as CEO of discount department store Tofs.

READ MORE: Woolworths could make high street comeback as previous boss plans to resurrect chain

Five Guys plots further European expansion

US burger brand Five Guys is planning further expansion in Europe, including 20 new restaurant openings in the UK this year, the Telegraph reports.

The chain’s UK chief executive John Eckbert revealed talks are underway with the US parent company about extending its presence beyond the five European countries in which it currently operates: the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

“We think Scandinavia, Austria, Switzerland and Italy would be logical places to go,” he said.

Five Guys, which had 59 UK outlets at the end of last year, has also identified a further 75 UK sites that it wants to open over the long-term. The UK business is a joint venture between the US business and the funder of Carphone Warehouse Charles Dunstone.

Online retail M&A activity reaches five-year high

Mergers and acquisitions in the online retail sector are at a five-year high, according to new research by law firm RPC.

The study shows that eight deals involving online retail businesses closed in 2016 compared to only three in 2012, City AM reports.

Recent deals include Halfords’ £18m acquisition of online bicycle retailer Tredz and the £13m acquisition of World of Books by private equity firm Bridges Venture.

M&A activity is on the rise as traditional retailers seek to grow their online presence and online retailers aim to expand their market share.

RPC partner Karen Hendy said: “The online retail sector is growing at a very fast pace, and we expect M&A activity will continue to rise.”

READ MORE: Online retail M&A deals hit five-year high as more people shop online

Sharp economic slowdown predicted

Shopping centre

Economists expect official figures to show a sharp slowdown in economic growth during the first three months of this year.

Growth reached 0.7% in the final quarter of last year but is predicted to fall to 0.4% between January and March 2017, the Guardian reports.

The impact of inflation following the Brexit vote is likely to be a core factor behind the slowdown as disposable incomes take a hit from rising prices.

Real wages fell in February for the first time in two and a half years and consumer confidence has also dipped.

The Office for National Statistics is due to publish its initial GDP figure for the first quarter on Friday (28 April).