Top Headlines: Hibbett names new president, CEO, Birmingham’s new redevelopment strategy

Hibbett Sports names new president and CEO
Michael E. Longo will now head Birmingham-based Hibbett Sports, succeeding Jeff Rosenthal, who announced his planned retirement in March. Longo, who previously led Memphis-based City Gear, will also replace Rosenthal on the company’s board of directors. Hibbett acquired City Gear, the company Longo had led since 2006, last year. –

New redevelopment strategy for Alabama’s largest city
Urban Impact and REV Birmingham held a news conference Tuesday to announce their new Northwest Downtown Master Development Plan, a strategy for redeveloping the city’s Civil Rights District and Innovation District. Ivan Holloway of Urban Impact says the plan includes specific, actionable steps to ensure these neighboring districts are growing together intentionally. – AL NewsCenter

ProctorU honored after company’s big year
ProctorU is garnering awards after what company officials say was its most successful year to date. The online test proctoring company, headquartered in Hoover, was awarded the Birmingham Venture Club’s Jemison Award. The honor goes to companies founded in the last 12 years with annual sales of more than $2 million. –

Deadly house party underscores rising concern in Alabama over Airbnb
Airbnb is a $31 billion behemoth whose home-sharing app is ubiquitous throughout Alabama but is particularly popular in tourist-rich Baldwin County. Last year, Airbnb hosts in Baldwin County earned $17.3 million from short-term rentals, far exceeding the total in any other Alabama county. But the rapid growth of Airbnb in Baldwin has also led to problems, and Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack is sounding some alarms. On Tuesday, in an interview with, the sheriff said that house parties are popping up all over in low-cost rentals, assembled via social media. –

Company vying to build Alabama’s prisons seeks foreign funding
One of the two private prison companies vying to build Alabama’s new prisons is looking to a Japanese Bank for financing after many U.S. banks have cut ties with businesses that detain immigrants and run for-profit prisons.  Tennessee-based CoreCivic, one of four companies that Gov. Kay Ivey’s office in November announced  will move forward in a plan to build three new prisons at an estimated cost of $900 million, is seeking a $250 million loan from the Japanese financial firm Nomura Holdings Inc., according to several news accounts. – AL Political Reporter

- Sponsor -

Alabama among 3 states seeking to block ERA ratification
Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Alabama’s attorney general announced Wednesday. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Alabama comes in response to a renewed push to get the required 38th state to ratify the ERA, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sex. – AP

Former Prichard chief of staff charge with stealing $200,000 from city
James Blackman, the former Chief of Staff for Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner, has been charged with 18 counts in a federal indictment filed Wednesday afternoon. The 18-count indictment alleges that Blackman, while serving as Chief of Staff, took approximately $200,000 from the City of Prichard between January and December of 2017. – NBC

BMW trolls Musk with live Twitter countdown of electric car sales
The BMW Group announced Thursday that 500,000 of its electrified cars had been sold, live-tweeting the milestone in what many will see as a light-hearted jab at Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Toward the end of November, Musk sent a series of tweets relating to what he described as “orders” for his firm’s Cybertruck. On November 24, for instance, the billionaire simply tweeted “200k,” followed by “250k” a few days later. The tweets have generated a great deal of discussion, especially regarding what Musk actually means by the word “orders.” – CNBC

The latest Alabama business news delivered to your inbox