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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

LABJ Insider: LA’s Exes in Texas

And the Tex-odus continues…

The surprise news last week that downtown-based AECOM plans to relocate its headquarters to Dallas marks the latest in a string of Los Angeles businesses — or in the case of Elon Musk, business leaders — decamping to the Lone Star State.

Howard Fine’s cover story in this issue takes a closer look at the reasons behind the decision at AECOM, where Chief Executive Troy Rudd has made a series of bold moves in the year since he took the reins at the infrastructure and engineering giant.

• • •

The Business Journal hosted its annual Health Care Leadership Panel and Awards last week and, not surprisingly, one topic dominated: Covid-19 vaccines.

“It is safe and effective,” Richard Seidman, chief medical officer of L.A. Care Health Plan, stated plainly and clearly. His sentiment was shared by the medical experts and executives participating in the event’s panels.

“We just need to continue to focus to address hesitancy and misinformation and mistrust to close that gap and make sure that everybody has equal protection as much as possible,” Seidman added.

Challenges posed by the lengthy pandemic and its impact on businesses and their employees, particularly around mental health, were also an area of focus.

“As an employer, I think it’s really important that you allow this conversation to unfold in your organization and provide resources to help people handle all the post-traumatic stress involved in this,” said Kevin Manemann, chief executive of Providence Southern California.

“Removing the stigma and getting people comfortable talking about challenges in mental health and behavioral health is incredibly important, and I hope that that work continues after the pandemic.”
A complete recap of the event, including a full list of the award winners, starts on page 31.

• • •

B. Wayne Hughes, the billionaire co-founder of the Glendale-based Public Storage empire, died last week at the age of 87 on his thoroughbred ranch in Kentucky.

Self-storage pioneer Hughes had an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion. He quietly donated some $400 million over the years to his alma mater, USC, where Hughes had a deep and sometimes complicated relationship with the school’s football program.

Hughes’ other passion was horse racing, and in 2004, he acquired famed Spendthrift Farm, which he reestablished as a premier brand in the sport. Under Hughes, the ranch produced Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners.

• • •

Ernst & Young named Matt Pohlson as the winner of its Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Greater Los Angeles. Pohlson, the chief executive and co-founder of Culver City-based fundraising company Omaze, was chosen from a handful of elite L.A. executives who were nominated for the honor. The award recognizes leaders of high-growth companies that make an impact on society, succeed financially and have a history of innovation.

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