FIRMENICH CHAIR: Vernon Sankey has been elected chairman of Firmenich’s board of directors. He replaces Jean-Marc Bruel, who will retire from the role after an eight-year tenure. Sankey, who took up the chairman role Thursday, joined Firmenich’s board in 2006. He is also a member of the boards of Zurich Financial Services AG and Atos Origin SA. Bruel joined Firmenich’s board in 1995 and was named chairman in 2000. He was the firm’s first nonfamily chairman since Firmenich was founded in 1895. In other Firmenich news, the privately owned firm reported sales for the year ended June 30 hit 2.85 billion Swiss francs, or $2.52 billion at current exchange. That equates to a 13.5 percent increase in Swiss francs and an 18.4 percent hike in local currencies. Its perfumery division generated double-digit growth in the period. “In fine fragrance we achieved a robust sales progression and again posted the highest win rate for new market launches,” the firm stated.

LONG ROAD TO CVS:
The battle for Longs Drug Stores may be finally over. Walgreen Co. chief executive Jeffrey A. Rein issued a letter to Longs Drug Stores stating it was withdrawing its takeover offer of about $2.8 billion. The letter states Longs refused to “engage in a constructive dialogue.” Last month, Longs decided to accept a lower bid from CVS Caremark.

REGIS UP: Salon operator Regis Corp. posted first-quarter revenues of $680.2 million, a 1.9 percent increase from $667.5 million in the same period a year ago, as overall same-store sales slipped by 1.6 percent. Hair services accounted for the bulk of sales at the 13,500-unit chain, generating 70.3 percent of revenues, or $478.1 million, while product sales accounted for 28.1 percent of revenues, or $191.4 million. “Consumers are cutting back and as a result we are seeing a slowdown in spending and visitation patterns,” Paul D. Finkelstein, chairman and chief executive officer of Regis, said of effects of the economic environment on same store sales. He added that first-quarter earnings from operations are now expected to be near or slightly below the low end of the firm’s guidance range of 41 to 47 cents a share.

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