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Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

Robert Trigaux

Robert Trigaux joined the Times as a business writer in 1991. In 2000, he began writing a business column three times a week. He served as business editor from 2005 to 2008, when he resumed his role as business columnist. While at the Times, he has covered a range of beats including banking and finance, technology, telecommunications, energy and economic development. He has received various awards for business writing, including two Green Eyeshades from the Society of Professional Journalists, a commendation for column writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and a first place in business columns from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists.

In the late 1970s, Robert started his business journalism career in New York writing for various business publications covering topics from technology to the furniture industry. At the American Banker, a daily national newspaper, he covered the financial industry in New York and London, then served for eight years as its bureau chief in Washington, D.C. He holds an economics degree from Colgate University.

Phone: (727) 893-8405

Email: trigaux@tampabay.com

Blog: Venture

Twitter: @VentureTampaBay

  1. Best holiday gift: How about Tampa Bay area gas prices averaging less than $2 a gallon?


    Bringing added cheer to the holidays, the average Tampa Bay area price for gas just fell under $2 a gallon. It's a gift for consumers and businesses, savings that are in effect a raise for wage-flat households and a confidence booster during the seasonal shopping season.

    The AAA daily fuel gauge report, which tracks gas prices nationwide by metro area, says Tampa Bay's average price for a gallon of regular now stands at $1.991. That's down from $2.028 a week ago and $2.666 a year ago....

    The peak average price this year for gasoline around Tampa Bay was $2.654 per gallon back in June.
Associated Press
  2. Regulators investigate Wells Fargo Bank's high-pressure sales culture


    Federal bank regulators are investigating whether Wells Fargo Bank, the California giant that is one of the biggest institutions operating in Florida, is going too far in pushing employees to sell banking services to customers.

    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the U.S. Treasury Department that oversees nationally chartered banks, and the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank are "probing" the bank's sales culture, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday....

    Complaints about Wells Fargo Bank’s sales tactics have come from Florida and other states, but the most publicity is coming from California, where the bank is based. 
  3. GE headquarters may not relocate to Tampa, but what about Marriott?

    Economic Development

    As much as Tampa Bay desperately wants to recruit a major corporate headquarters, it is now safe to say corporate giant GE will not relocate to Tampa Bay.

    Not that it was ever likely. GE's market value is more than 100 times that of Tech Data Corp., the largest Fortune 500 company based here. But it is important to praise Tampa Bay and Florida leaders for having the chops to knock on GE's front door in Connecticut and tell the country's eighth-largest public corporation that this metro area has more to offer big companies than they might think....

    The New York Marriott Marquis is one of Marriott International’s 2,600 lodging properties worldwide. The hotel giant is looking around to relocate.
  4. Florida job growth favorable compared to other states, though income still lags


    While Florida's jobless rate in October again fell, this time to a 7-year low of 5.1 percent, it remains a shade higher than the nation's 5.0 percent rate. And it is still higher than the unemployment rates in 26 other states, including eight states with rates under 4 percent, and an additional two with rates under 3 percent.

    As state economic recoveries go, Florida's is rebounding well. Just not as robust as some states are doing these days....

  5. Naughty or nice? Con­sum­er Reports calls out businesses for slimy practices, good deeds


    A lot of industry watchers talk a good game but Consumer Reports just put its money where its mouth is and listed which companies in 2015 were Naughty or Nice. A dozen corporations earned a naughty designation while 14 were identified as nice. The full list appears below (with more details at consumerreports.org) but we'll first focus on just a few whose actions have inflicted particular pain, or gain, on the Tampa Bay and Florida markets....

  6. Five signature building projects driving Tampa Bay forward

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay's economic progress can be measured by its companies, its job growth and GDP, its population, its corporate headquarters, its entrepreneurs, its graduation rates, its universities and its patents. Even its swagger.

    But progress can also be captured in its latest signature buildings. The ones with substance. The ones that represent more for this area than the sum of their steel and concrete....

    [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  7. Trigaux: Emboldened by record visitors and big data insights, Pinellas tourism agency tests a national pitch


    It should come as no surprise that Pinellas County's tourism agency known as Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is taking the leap to its first national advertising campaign.

    The agency has already pushed the clever publicity envelope, most recently with the "Winter Blows" guerilla marketing campaign that used snowmen strategically placed on the frozen avenues of New York and Chicago to urge chilled locals to escape to warmer climates. Like this one....

    Poul Andersen, of Odense, Denmark, left, and Torben Strandberg, of Nyborg, Denmark, settle into a plot of sand at Clearwater Beach on Wednesday while visiting the popular tourist destination during their vacation. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  8. After early Grinch warnings, holiday shopping forecasts gaining confidence


    Early fall predictions of the holiday shopping season were less than stellar, with respected firms like Morgan Stanley warning that the Grinch "could steal Christmas" this year.

    Additional negative vibes grew as we watched the stock prices of the top traditional department stores, from Macy's and Dillard's to Nordstrom, fall off a cliff. Macy's shares that traded over $70 as recently as July now trade under $40. Dillard's traded over $140 in April but then toppled to about $75. Even Nordstrom, long viewed as a brand more insulated from economic swings, finds its stock trading in the mid $50s after topping $80 in March....

    A WalletHub study of major Black Friday discounters found that J.C. Penney is offering the biggest markdowns at 68 percent. [Associated Press] 
  9. Despite harsh lessons from Bernie Madoff, Ponzi schemes flourish in Florida


    Did Floridians learn nothing from Bernie Madoff, the modern master of Ponzi schemes? Did we already forget Orlando boy band producer Lou Pearlman, credited with running one of the longest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history? Did we nap while Sarasota Ponzi schemer Arthur Nadel bilked locals of $162 million?

    It seems so, judging from the torrent of financial ripoffs that continue to snare unwary investors across this state. Too many scams bear the distinct signs of fraud first masterminded by Charles Ponzi back in the 1920s....

  10. Trigaux: Bank of America is tops by size in Florida but tiny by satisfaction


    Bank of America may be first in market share in Florida banking, but it ranks last among big banks in customer satisfaction, a case of the Too Big doing Too Little for Too Long.

    In survey results released Tuesday, Bank of America registered the lowest score among the largest U.S. banks ranked on the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The bank, which holds more than $17 of every $100 of deposits in the Sunshine State, earned a 68 on the ACSI 100-point scale, the equivalent of a D+ based on 9,202 third-quarter consumer surveys. ...

    A sign hangs above a Bank of America branch in the Financial District on November 1, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. In results unveiled this morning, Bank of America registered the lowest score among the largest U.S. banks ranked on the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The bank, which holds more than $17 of every $100 of deposits in the Sunshine State, earned a 68 on the ACSI 100-point scale, the equivalent of a D+ based on 9,202 third quarter consumer surveys. That's down from a 69 ranking last year. This is the fifth year in a row the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank has placed last.   [Scott Olson | Getty Images]
  11. Trigaux: In 2015's volatile stock market, area companies reveal strength, vulnerability


    With six weeks left in 2015, clear winners and losers are emerging among prominent publicly traded companies in the Tampa Bay area as stock markets opened Monday fresh from sharp declines last week.

    Concerns compounded by the attacks in Paris that occurred after U.S. markets closed Friday did not stop the markets from rallying on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 238 points....

  12. Hunger games: Out-of-state banks eager to feast on Florida economy join buying spree


    Think of small Florida banks as if they were precious gems.

    There are not a lot of them around. No new ones are being created, at least for now. And a lot of folks want to buy one, two or even a lot more.

    Get 'em while they're hot. But not too hot. The last bank to be started from scratch around here was born before the last recession. By Florida standards, that's a long time without a new startup bank. The state's weakest banks have largely been culled from the state herd via failures and forced mergers during the recession....

  13. Trigaux: Charter ready to close on Bright House as business leaders give thumbs up to cable deal


    Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge, eager to close on the cable TV deals to buy both Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable, told investors this week he expects the acquisitions to be wrapped up soon.

    "Everyone has had their say," Rutledge said in remarks to a major Charter investor gathering. "The FCC's (Federal Communication Commission) shot clock has stayed ticking as a result of our responsiveness so far." A few local authorities remain to sign off on the combined $65 billion-plus deals and the financing is in place, he said. "We're sitting here, ready to close."...

    Most Tampa Bay business leaders are endorsing Charter Communications’ deal to buy Bright House Networks based on a review of comments filed at the Federal Communication Commission. The regulator’s comment period on the Charter deal closed Thursday. [Associated Press]
  14. By income, Tampa ranks in top ten of 'most unequal' larger U.S. cities


    As if rising income inequality in this country isn't already a front burner debate, now we learn that Tampa again ranks in the top ten "most unequal" larger cities in America.

    Among cities with 250,000 populations or more, Tampa ranks No. 8 nationwide for being unequal. What does that mean? A Bloomberg analysis ranked the top ten cities as unequal based on how skewed the incomes in those metro areas are between the rich and the poor. These cities tend to have big pockets of wealth, larger areas of poverty and a relatively thin middle class....

  15. Can SeaWorld transform itself into a pal of animals and still please Wall Street?


    A largely new set of top managers running SeaWorld Entertainment just pitched a new vision of a theme park company that will become the best pal and advocate of endangered wild animals on the planet. But here's the sticky question: Will vacationers intent on fun and diversion pay big money to visit a theme park whose mission sounds a lot like going to a zoo?

    How much sugar must be added to the medicine of being told to become a better steward of Mother Nature?...

    After announcing it will become a friend and advocate of endangered wild animals, SeaWorld still has to convince skeptics. Activists say the plan doesn’t go far enough, and Wall Street is questioning whether the shift will boost the bottom line.