Missouri Minute: Emerson CEO Farr to retire; St. Louis County allows later close for restaurants, bars

Hello, MBA readers,

The state has announced a new plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines, with select large hospitals throughout Missouri receiving more than half of the shipments. Mass vaccination sites run by the National Guard will receive about a quarter of the doses. Meanwhile, after Gov. Mike Parson said that Missourians who received excessive unemployment benefits last year must repay them, some state lawmakers are opposing that demand. In a hearing Monday, legislators expressed concerns about the state’s efforts to recoup overpaid benefits, while others voiced support for the governor’s plan. And an era is ending for one of Missouri’s largest companies, Ferguson-based conglomerate Emerson Electric. Longtime Emerson CEO David Farr is set to retire on Friday, handing the reins to Lal Karsanbhai amid some speculation that the company could be broken up.


Stay alert

KC metro COVID-19 cases drop below 300 for first time since October
The Kansas City area added fewer than 300 cases Monday for the first time since Oct. 19. The seven-day average for new cases fell to 464, down from 580 one week before and 698 two weeks earlier. (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis County allows later close for restaurants, bars
The establishments are now allowed to stay open one hour later, until 11 p.m., as COVID-19 cases slowly decline in the St. Louis region. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Core & Main expands with Texas acquisition 
The St. Louis-based distributor of water, sewer and fire protection products has agreed to acquire the assets of Triple T Pipe & Supply. Terms were not disclosed. It’s Core & Main’s 12th acquisition since becoming an independent firm in 2017. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Parson calls for State Fair bailout after cancellation 
Gov. Mike Parson wants to prop up the Missouri State Fair, which typically relies on fee revenue but suffered losses when it was canceled in 2020, by providing $1.6 million for the 2021 event. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis Zoo announces $2 million conservation habitat for red wolves
The zoo plans to convert about 20 acres of its 355-acre plot in Franklin County to create a conservation habitat for the endangered wolves. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Startup accelerator for diverse founders plans second cohort 
The Elevate/Elevar Accelerator, run by St. Louis nonprofit WEPOWER, is accepting applications through Friday for its second cohort, which is set to launch in April. The first six-month cohort featured 10 Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Say that again

“I feel as if I should have never have applied in the first place. This almost feels as if this has been more trouble than it’s worth, except for the fact that it did help me pay my bills.”

That’s Larissa White, an actor and one of many people that the state deemed to have received unemployment benefits in error last year, St. Louis Public Radio reports. In June, White started receiving requests from the state to pay back more than $8,000 in unemployment benefits, but a backlog caused her appeals hearing to be postponed until January. Gov. Mike Parson recently said that benefits overpayments, which amounted to about $96 million between January and September, must be returned. Missouri lawmakers had mixed reactions to this demand in a committee hearing Monday, during which Missouri Department of Labor Director Anna Hui reiterated that the state will not waive overpayments, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.


Go figure

53%

That’s how much of Missouri’s weekly COVID-19 vaccine allocation is being distributed to select large hospitals in the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Roughly 23% is being sent to mass vaccination events, which are hosted by local health agencies and the Missouri National Guard. In total, Missouri received around 76,000 doses of the vaccine this week, and the state expects that number to increase to 88,000 next week.


Hello, my name is

Lal Karsanbhai

That is the name of the new chief executive of Emerson Electric, the Ferguson-based conglomerate that makes a wide range of equipment for energy companies and other industries. Karsanbhai will take control of the company following the retirement of the current CEO, David Farr, on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reports. Farr has spent the past two decades as CEO of the company, making him one of the longest-serving chief executives in the S&P 500. Farr will remain as Emerson’s board chairman until May. Some have said that Karsanbhai, previously the head of Emerson’s automation equipment business, could take the company in a new direction, even suggesting that the company could be broken up into smaller divisions, Bloomberg reports.


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