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Former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman has inked several exclusive licensing deals with MM Companies Inc. in exchange for a 35% ownership share of the company. As a result, MM Companies, former owner of online custom music retailer musicmaker.com, has been renamed George Foreman Enterprises Inc. The new contracts secure control of the use of the Foreman brand, including Foreman’s name, likeness, and other intellectual property elements.
— Robyn D. Clarke
Aylwin B. Lewis, 51, one of BE’s Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America, was appointed CEO of Sears Holdings Corp. in September. Lewis is also president of the company, which was created by the merger of Kmart Holding Corp. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. and has about $30 billion in assets and $11 billion in equity. Lewis will be responsible for all 3,900 stores, as well as home services, finance, legal, supply chain, information technology, human resources, and achieving a more “customer-focused organization.”
— Marcia A. Wade
Jerri DeVard has added another notch to her belt at Verizon Communications Inc. DeVard, 47, one of BE’s Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America, became senior vice president of marketing and brand management in September. She will be responsible for national marketing, advertising, brand management, online marketing, and multicultural marketing. DeVard was previously senior vice president of brand management and marketing communications, a position she held since 2003.
— Tamara E. Holmes