Business news briefs for 06/11/11

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Highmark criticizing UPMC in newspaper ads

Health insurer Highmark Inc. is taking out ads in local newspapers this weekend, hitting back at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for creating "confusion and concern" among patients over contract negotiations between the companies. The "open letter" to Pittsburgh says that "for our commercial customers, UPMC has demanded a 40 percent hike in payments" from Highmark, and that UPMC "broke off talks and refuses to negotiate," because Highmark itself is negotiating with other health care providers.

WPAHS medical chief resigns, Farah to fill in

Sanford Kurtz, chief medical officer for the West Penn Allegheny Health System, has resigned effective June 30, and cardiologist Tony Farah has been named his interim successor. Dr. Farah is also medical director for Allegheny General Hospital's cardiac catheterization laboratories.

Pitt, Greenhouse create bioengineering program

Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse has joined forces with the University of Pittsburgh Biomedical Engineering Society to create the Bioengineering Innovation and Commercialization Program. The program will encourage Pitt's bioengineering graduate students to consider the commercial market potential of their innovations by introducing them to industry experts and featuring executives in residence, among other strategies.

PPG comptroller promoted to chief financial officer

David B. Navikas, vice president and controller at PPG Industries, has been appointed senior vice president, finance, chief financial officer. He will report directly to chairman and CEO Charles E. Bunch. Mr. Navikas, 60, has served as comptroller since joing PPG in November 1995. In his new position, Mr. Navikas will succeed Robert J. Dellinger, who has announced his resignation for personal and health-related reasons, effective June 30.

GM recalling Cadillac SRX crossovers in United States

General Motors Co. is recalling more than 47,000 Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles in the U.S. because of a problem with the passenger side air bags. The recall affects SRXs made between Feb. 2, 2010 and April 29 of this year. Dealers will reprogram the air bag sensors to fix the problem free of charge. GM is expected to notify owners by mail starting Friday.

Also in business ...

Allegheny Technologies named former Ladish president and CEO Gary J. Vroman executive vice president of its high performance forgings and castings business. Allegheny acquired Ladish last month.


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