Resource Recap for CEOs


From CECP to CEOs

CEO Outlook

  • Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Covid-19 Demonstrates Essential Role of the Private Sector. CEO Richard Edelman reveals what workers and the public expect from CEOs during the pandemic. Edelman – Mar 23
  • 3 reasons you shouldn’t be worried about America’s food supply right now. United Natural Foods CEO Steven Spinner reminds all to thank the drivers, retail and warehouse staff, and others stocking for citizens everywhere. Fortune – Mar 25
  • The CEO’s New Role: Chief Empathy Officer. Considerations on leading with empathy during the Covid-19 outbreak. Edelman – Mar 31
  • Widespread hit to profits from Covid-19 signals slow recovery. In one striking chart, this survey of CEOs shows myriad ways their businesses have changed or will change as a result of the pandemic. The Conference Board – Apr 2
  • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Says He Is Expecting ‘a Bad Recession’. “Entering into a crisis is not the time to figure out what you want to be.” Wall Street Journal – Apr 6
  • April Poll Finds CEOs Optimistic For Robust Recovery From Coronavirus Crisis. As expected, CEOs reported hits to their businesses, but remain unexpectedly bullish on the state of things one year from now. Chief Executive – Apr 6
  • Armani’s Open Letter. Designer Giorgio Armani reckoned Covid-19 is a turning point in the fashion system. He underlined some of the major issues that are afflicting our industry and he suggested to use this forced pause to rethink everything. He bluntly stated, “Enough with fashion as pure communication, enough with cruise shows around the world to present mild ideas” and vowed to make sure his garments are in stores in the right season, for the whole season. Women’s Wear Daily – Apr 9
  • Bill Gates on the global battle with coronavirus. In a recorded interview (22:00), the former Microsoft CEO and Gates Foundation Co-Chair said private sector is important, but the “overall template” must come from the government. “A lot would have to go right” to get a Covid-19 vaccine within 18 months. Longer-term, Gates predicts after getting “whacked in the head” countries will meaningfully invest in disease prevention and response. Financial Times – Apr 9
  • Moving To A New, Post-Virus Normal. Diversified Agency Services Chairman Emeritus Thomas Harrison identified these keys to moving forward toward a new normal: corporate resilience, innovation, a new level of preparedness and an insatiable focus on sustainability. Chief Executive – Apr 9
  • JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes on airlines bailout, travel demand and more on coronavirus crisis (12:41). In a Squawk on the Street interview he reckoned the airline industry has hit the lowest point of the cycle and is “bumping along the bottom.” He predicted the pandemic will spur significant changes in passenger experience, like 9/11 did. CNBC – Apr 21
  • We Need Great Leadership Now, and Here’s What It Looks Like. Read it and pass it on to your favorite CEO. Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman interviewed Dov Seidman, founder & chairman of LRN and the How Institute for Society, on the “simultaneous global leadership stress test” on which everyone will be graded. The two clairvoyant thinkers unleashed insight after insight regarding what it will take for successful leaders to overcome the most notable challenge of our lifetime. New York Times – Apr 21
  • Ellen Kullman became CEO during the last recession. Here’s how it’s impacting her leadership now. Sage perspective from the former DuPont CEO and current CEO of Carbon. Fast Company – Apr 23
  • A Delicate Balance: Feeding the Nation & Keeping Our Employees Happy. ‘The food supply chain is breaking,’ said Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson in a full-page letter in the form of a paid advertisement in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He warned “millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain.” Washington Post – Apr 27
  • Delta CEO on the long road to rebuild business post-coronavirus. In a recorded interview (11:53), Ed Bastian predicted governments might even establish a new public health authority that oversees travel hygiene the way the Transportation Security Administration oversees safety. Bastian is a rare CEO who was running the company – at the time as President – during the financial crisis of 2008. Fortune – Apr 29
  • Designers Revolt Against the Shopping Cycle. In an “Open Letter to the Fashion Industry,” designers such as Thom Browne, Dries Van Noten, Tory Burch, Erdem Moralioglu and Gabriela Hearst seized the pandemic halt and declared their intention to right the seasonal shopping calendar and take responsibility “for our impact on our customers, on the planet and on the fashion community.” New York Times – May 12
  • Your job is never going to be the same again. CEOs from companies such as Franklin Templeton, Twitter, WeberShandwick, Rolls-Royce, Freddie Mac, and more, said the pandemic has pointed the way toward a near future of flexible work, a more relaxed work-life balance, and more inclusive cultures. Business Insider – May 13
  • What Satya Nadella Thinks. Amid higher productivity rates for certain jobs that have gone remote, the Microsoft CEO suggested we remember what’s lost in connectivity and community as we “burn social capital we built up” before the pandemic. New York Times – May 14

CEOs Moving Early Toward the Rebound

  • DTE’s Anderson, other CEOs put together crisis playbook (21:50). DTE Energy Executive Chairman & former CEO Gerry Anderson explained in a recorded interview how he steered big-company CEOs to create the Michigan Covid-19 Business Response Center, a free, public playbook produced by the coalition Business Leaders for Michigan to tackle the crisis and recovery in partnership with medical and government leaders. Crain’s Detroit Business – Mar 22
  • A message from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson: Preparing for the next phase in the U.S. In a video (4:12) and accompanying letter, Johnson shared the four “focus factors” that determine how to re-open each store: local status of the public health crisis, guidance from health and government officials, community sentiment and store operational readiness. He likened it to turning a dial rather than flipping a switch. Starbucks – Apr 16
  • Harnessing the power of teamwork to tackle coronavirus. Strix CEO Mark Bartlett detailed all the steps he took to bring three component parts factories in China back to full operating capacity. Financial Times – Apr 19
  • A Plan to Re-open Nevada. Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox outlined five steps to recover and reopen in Las Vegas well beyond a single casino or industry. He said the only way to cross this river is “one stone at a time,” and urged Nevadans to “put our feet in the water before it is too late.” Nevada Independent – Apr 19
  • Sanofi CEO: How we can prevent being caught off guard by a pandemic like the coronavirus ever again. Paul Hudson said while the world scrambles to ramp up testing, effectively care for the sick, and invent a Covid-19 vaccine, we also “can’t afford not to think long term” and harness our newfound “shared purpose.”  Fortune – Apr 22
  • Flexible working will be norm after lockdown, say Barclays and WPP bosses. CEOs Jes Staley and Mark Read reckoned crowded offices and city centres and rush hours will fade into history as significant portions of their workforces make a habit of working from home. Guardian – Apr 29
  • Walmart CEO says office space will remain key to the company’s future, even as employees remain productive at home. Doug McMillon said he is not changing plans for a new 300-acre corporate campus, which will likely be used mostly for collaborative group work rather than individual desk work. Business Insider – June 3

CEO Leadership in Times of Crisis: Examples

  • Remarks by the Coronavirus Task force in Press Conference, including CEOs of Becton Dickinson, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, Roche, Walgreens, Walmart. Target CEO Brian Cornell said, “Normally, you’d view us as competitors, but today we’re focused on a common competitor, and that’s defeating the spread of the Coronavirus.” White House Press Conference – Mar 13
  • Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian Bought a Billboard in Times Square to Inform People About Covid-19. Forbes – Mar 14
  • Bracing for Impact: Share the Sacrifices in a Slowdown. Instead of laying people off, sharing sacrifices across the company worked for Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman during the Great Recession, helping him strengthen the culture and build long-term employee loyalty that paid dividends for a decade. Chief Executive Mar 16
  • Inside the factory: how LVMH met France’s call for hand sanitiser in 72 hours. CEO Bernard Arnault “makes decisions very quickly” by “bombard[ing] you with questions, and then go[ing] off to think.” Financial Times – Mar 19
  • Why Verizon just made a big investment in America amid the coronavirus. CEO Hans Vestberg views Verizon’s US$500M increase to its capital expenditure spending this year to support investments in its network infrastructure as a “responsibility” to invest “in these times.” Yahoo Finance – Mar 19
  • Video Message to Marriott International associates from CEO Arne Sorenson (5:49). “I have never had a more difficult moment than this one.” In the wake of Covid-19, Sorenson announced furloughs for some and pay cuts for others in an exemplary and heartfelt way. Twitter – Mar 19
  • Fighting Covid-19: Regeneron’s Founder & Chief Scientific Officer George Yancopoulos. Podcast with Fortune CEO Alan Murray (26:45). Fortune – Mar 20
  • A Note From Home. Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker reflected on Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s “inescapable network of mutuality,” and on how philanthropy can help in uncertain times. Ford Foundation – Mar 20
  • Testing Positive for Covid-19. Harvard University President Larry Bacow struck a calm, personal, open, and encouraging tone in his public letter to announce he tested positive for Covid-19. Harvard – Mar 24
  • Honeywell’s ex-CEO successfully navigated the Great Recession: Here’s how he’s approaching the coronavirus crisis. Few CEOs navigated the Great Recession as skillfully as David Cote of Honeywell. This time around, tear some pages out of his playbook. Fortune – Mar 27
  • Prominent CEOs Promise That They Will Not Layoff Workers In 2020. Including CEOs of Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Visa, FedEx, Salesforce. ForbesMar 27
  • Hyatt CEO on coronavirus: “The most challenging period of time in my professional life.” (8:13) In a recorded interview Mark Hoplamazian said: “It is a conflict between our purpose as a company, which is to care for people, and the things we have to do because we are charged with ensuring the financial future of Hyatt.” In the face of this Hyatt took steps to maximize the good and mitigate the bad during this time, while keeping one eye on the rebound. Fortune – Mar 31
  • Turning the World Right-Side Up Again. After General Motors long ago became one of the most beloved companies in the US by manufacturing military equipment in World War II, CEO Mary Barra similarly retooled auto factories to now produce ventilators, masks, and shields. She said, “We can and always will do what it takes” to beat the virus. GM. LinkedIn – Mar 31
  • Lysol Maker’s Boss on Condom Sales and Living With Mom During the Pandemic. Reckitt-Benckiser CEO Laxman Narasimhan shared the special measures he implemented to make his supply chain more resilient during Covid-19, and more. Wall Street Journal – Apr 6
  • The Importance of Leadership and Community While Navigating Through Uncharted Territory. ON Semiconductor CEO Keith Jackson discussed what his company is doing to respond to Covid-19, particularly supporting community-based organizations and matching employee donations. ON Semiconductor – Apr 9
  • The coronavirus pandemic ‘creates an opportunity’ for business. In a video interview (<2 min), Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh explained how the company has prioritised consumers by live-streaming a daily music concert on Instagram, reaching half a million people. Mad Money – Apr 13
  • Southwest Airlines CEO Talks About Post-Coronavirus Plan (2:42). In Part 6 of his video series “Ask Gary,” Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly addressed how and when he anticipates resuming business under differing economic and public health scenarios. Southwest Airlines – Apr 13
  • HP’s CEO On Technology For Humanity. HP CEO Enrique Lores defined leadership as “rallying together around a larger purpose—and doing the right thing at the worst time.” When there is no playbook, the company’s values become the playbook. HP has focused on its strength in 3-D printing to manufacture parts and supplies for hospitals. Chief Executive – Apr 13
  • Unilever CEO Alan Jope on Squawk on the Street (13:02). In a video interview, he discussed actions on 3 priorities: employee income, donating product to healthcare facilities, and flexing terms of business with suppliers. It turns out US hoarding of household staples doesn’t apply in other markets. CNBC – Apr 14
  • New CEO Crafted a Vision for Rite Aid. Now She’s Launching It in a Crisis. CEO Heyward Donigan has kept her foot on the gas to roll out her turnaround strategy during the pandemic, innovatively allocating some people to fight the outbreak and others to ready the company for the rebound. She bet the business that telehealth is here to stay and pharmacies will get a growing share of the healthcare pie. Wall Street Journal – Apr 15
  • Culture war: How Danone kept making yoghurt in the pandemic. CEO Emmanuel Faber chose to adapt factories to social distancing, stockpile masks, expand remote working, guarantee paychecks through June, and issue workers a one-time bonus, among other things. Take a peek inside negotiations with leaders of Danone’s four unions as well.  Financial Times – Apr 26
  • Satya Nadella: crisis requires co-ordinated digital response. The Microsoft CEO called upon citizens and customers to demand cross-sector partnerships to fight the pandemic – exhibiting how Microsoft is doing exactly that as a “digital first responder.” Financial Times – Apr 30
  • Bed Bath & Beyond CEO On Remaking The Retailer Amid Coronavirus. Amid the pandemic Mark Tritton has remade his executive management team and divided its plans into two categories: things it can control and things it can’t. Forbes – May 1
  • Unilever’s Alan Jope on repairing capitalism, Covid-19 and Sustainable Living Plans. Providing an update to Unilever’s “game-changing” Sustainable Living Plan as it enters its 10th and final year, Jope advocated doubling down to protect the planet and society during the pandemic by driving a new model of capitalism. “Globalisation and capitalism are good for a business like ours, but globalisation and capitalism at the expense of people and the planet are not.” Edie – May 6
  • Will 5G remake the post-coronavirus world? It already has, say the CEOs of Cisco and Qualcomm. In an insightful and wide-ranging interview, Chuck Robbins and Steve Mollenkopf reflect on a coming boom in “inclusive” 5G investment to do things like deliver healthcare to rural communities that don’t have access – that is, if we diligently close the digital divide. They agreed that in crisis leaders must strive to be “visible, optimistic, and authentic.” Fortune – May 18
  • Best Buy CEO Corie Barry shares best practices for ‘safe retailing’ during the pandemic. Saying Best Buy’s purpose of improving lives through technology “has never been more real,” Barry talked about tough recent decisions to flip stores to curbside pick-up in 48 hours, protect employees health and safety while having to furlough many. Fortune – May 18

CEOs’ Situation Room Topics

  • Save or Invest? Last year’s research revealed companies that sustained their investments in R&D and corporate responsibility performed better in the years following economic meltdowns. They exhibited higher operating performance as measured by return on assets. Harvard Business Review – May 2019
  • Driving Leadership Performance and Development in a Crisis. 10 steps to strengthen your talent strategy during a downturn in order to rebound better – including anchor talent, rising talent, and future talent. Russell Reynolds Associates – Mar 13
  • Leading The New Normal: Everyone Working From Home. Advice from FMG Leading CEO Matt Brubaker about how companies can quickly and effectively switch to telecommuting. Chief Executive – Mar 19
  • Memo to the C-Suite: Do the Opposite of What your Gut is Telling You. Greg Curhan, a partner at FLG Partners and experienced public company corporate officer, sell-sider, and buy-sider, advises, “the best course of action … is to reach out” to your investors, and here’s how. LinkedIn – Mar 16
  • Coronavirus Crisis Doesn’t Have to Lead to Layoffs. Five creative measures to consider before resorting to layoffs. Harvard Business Review – Mar 20
  • Maintaining Your Team’s Morale And Productivity During Covid-19. Graziano Associates CEO Denise Graziano’s 8-step daily checklist for communication during the crisis. Chief Executive – Mar 27
  • A Brief Guide to Getting Help From The CARES Act for Covid Relief. Authors recommend acting fast and allocating resources toward the effort to secure government relief as if you were trying to win an essential new customer. Chief Executive – Mar 27
  • CEOs Hasten to Find Their Own Replacements as Coronavirus Spreads. Time to take out and dust off the old succession plans for the CEO and other key players. Wall Street Journal – Apr 4
  • The Importance of Disclosure – For Investors, Markets and Our Fight Against Covid-19. The US Securities & Exchange Commission issued an extraordinary public statement requesting companies provide information regarding their plans for addressing the effects of Covid-19. Now and in ordinary times, robust, forward-Looking disclosures benefit investors, companies, and other stakeholders. SEC – Apr 9
  • Managing The Big Risk Of Bringing Your Employees Back To Work. For many CEOs, this will be the first time dealing with life-or-death human physical safety. Edward Hess, a professor at UVA’s Darden School of Business, shared useful questions CEOs may want to contemplate as they kickstart discussions on reopening facilities. Chief Executive – Apr 15
  • Planning for the Possibility Your CEO Tests Positive for Covid-19. 10 key issues for the CEO, their team and boards of directors to consider. Edelman – Apr 30
  • 3 Ways to Put Your Corporate Purpose into Action. Authors including former Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine, Jr argue convincingly that the time is ripe for companies to become benefit corporations and fulfill the “trust us, we care” promise of the Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. Harvard Business Review – May 13
  • What Is Your “5R” Return To Work Plan? Retired US Army Major General Malcolm Frost recommended CEOs consider a phased, five-step plan for redeploying staff post-pandemic, as military units have long done. Chief Executive – May 20
  • Remember the MOOCs? After Near-Death, They’re Booming. CEOs of pioneering online learning networks Udacity, Coursera, and edX offer hard-earned lessons for what works and what doesn’t in online education. New York Times – May 26
  • How To Fix “Busted” Incentive Plans. Short-term incentive plans are key to retaining, motivating, and aligning executives. Companies caught with a plan torpedoed by the pandemic risk demotivation, turnover and poor performance. How to revamp incentives in a way that will also measure up to shifting stakeholder expectations and intensifying public scrutiny. Chief Executive – May 28

CEO-Ready Briefings

  • 6 steps to sustainably flatten the coronavirus curve by BCG CEO Rich Lesser. Fortune – Mar 19
  • Executive Briefing on Covid-19: Implications for Business. McKinsey & Co. – Mar 20
  • Covid-19 & the Board: A Chair’s Point of View. Deloitte US Executive Chair Janet Foutty posited 5 principles of strong boards that provide “the ultimate pressure test” of an organization’s position and purpose on the path to recovery. Deloitte – Apr 6
  • US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Covid-19 & the Economy (34:00). In a hopeful video interview, Powell said he has “every reason” to bet on a “robust” economic recovery from Covid-19 building on the strong economic position before the outbreak. He talked fiscal stimulus, inflation, the Fed’s extraordinary lending, and more. Brookings Institute – Apr 9.
  • The future is not what it used to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal. McKinsey & Co. CEO Kevin Sneader posed seven elements for business leaders to consider as they plan for the next normal of digital commerce, automation, and telemedicine. McKinsey & Co. – Apr 2020
  • The first modern pandemic: The scientific advances we need to stop Covid-19. In a crystal-clear, 24-minute, non-partisan must-read, former Microsoft CEO and Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates summarizes everything the world knows and doesn’t know about how to stop Covid-19. Use it to inform your decisions. GatesNotes – Apr 23
  • The Moment of Reckoning. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic revealed a remarkable shift in the landscape of trust since January. Government trust surged 11 points to an all-time high of 65%. At the same time, there is marked disappointment in how the private sector has performed during the crisis, leading Edelman CEO Richard Edelman to call this a “moment of reckoning” which will test whether companies deliver the promise of stakeholder capitalism. Edelman – May 5
  • The Reopening: An Unwritten Future. Accenture’s North America CEO Jimmy Etheredge posited three ways to reboot and outmaneuver uncertainty. Chief Executive – May 21
  • Toward A New & Better Normal. After the pandemic, CEOs would be wise to leave behind this shortlist of less-than-useful corporate habits: over-engineering, professionalism (in favor of personalism), work/home split, the handshake. Chief Executive – May 22

Helpful Hacks

  • Travel CEO Video Messages: Best Practices for the Coronavirus Pandemic. The dos and don’ts of video addresses courtesy of the CEOs of Marriott International, Delta Air Lines, MGM Resorts, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Tripadvisor. Skift – Apr 2

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