Starbucks left no doubt who the gourmet coffee giant regards as its biggest threats in a severance deal with Tampa native Jim Donald, who was pushed out as CEO in January. Donald cannot work for McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts, reads the contract handing him a $1.25-million severance. Burger King, Wendy's or a supermarket chain? No problem. A grocer would be no stretch for Donald, whose management career started when he ran a Clearwater Albertsons.
SMITH SPROUTS IN BRUSSELS: Steve Smith, a key player in CEO Shelly Broader's conversion of Kash n' Karry to the Sweetbay Supermarket chain, has been promoted. He's off to Europe to head all marketing of the parent company's flagship Delhaize retail brands in Belgium. Smith will spend a three-year stint in Brussels, steering the image of the 140-year-old chain of 760 supermarkets, pet stores and convenience stores. "I'm American but grew up in Paris, so my French is pretty good," Smith said. "My goal is to be business fluent within a year."
'STEELE' DUO EXIT FLORIDA: They had a good gig going in St. Petersburg, but Bob Steele and Carol Steele are heading to the Midwest for new opportunities. Carol will be best remembered for her key role in 2004 when, as a conference delegate for USF's Center for Ocean Technology, she happened to strike up a conversation with an executive of SRI International. The rest is history. SRI now operates a branch in St. Petersburg. But Bob Steele, ethics guru at the Poynter Institute (which owns this newspaper), is becoming a journalism professor at DePauw University in Indiana. And Carol, who has been working for SRI, was named DePauw's associate dean of academic affairs. What's more, even in the slow Florida housing market, they've sold their home.
ST. JOE: FLORIDA'S BARGAIN? Peter Rummell, CEO of the state's largest private landowner, St. Joe Co. of Jacksonville, thinks real estate may be close to or even coasting along the bottom. At least in the Florida Panhandle, where St. Joe's holdings are concentrated. But Rummell sees a big gain come 2010, and not just from land development. "On this conference call, two years from today, we will be talking about the grand opening and first flights for the new Panama City Airport," he said Tuesday. "And by that time, 24 months from now, many economists think that economic conditions in general will be improving." Investors think St. Joe will rebound even quicker. From a low of near $27 a share in late 2007, the stock has trickled north and hovers near $40.