By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
April 19, 2017

Good morning.

Roger Lowenstein has written an interesting commentary for the May issue of Fortune magazine on reining in CEO pay. Needless to say, this is not a popular topic among all CEO Daily readers. But I suspect even many of those who prefer to ignore it recognize it is a problem. For reasons Lowenstein outlines, the marketplace for CEO talent is a distorted one. And even if skyrocketing pay levels did reflect true value, it would be hard to ignore the fact that they have been accompanied by plummeting trust in business. The two are not wholly unrelated. You can read Roger’s piece here.

Separately, President Trump yesterday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to implement his “Buy American, Hire American” strategy. Included was language suggesting reforms to insure H-1B visas—which are given to skilled workers coming to work in the U.S.—be given only to the “most skilled or highest paid” petitioners, rather than by lottery. This is not an unreasonable reform. For the May issue, we’ve taken a graphical look at the H-1B visa program, which you can find here.

Also yesterday, I spent a fascinating hour at the Council on Foreign Relations interviewing Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize-winning economist and author of Thinking Fast and Slow. Kahneman is filled with insights about how people make decisions, and the biases that permeate our thinking. He also offered one very practical piece of advice for organizations trying to combat those biases. Before making major decisions, he suggested, conduct a pre-mortem—imagining it’s a year or two down the road and the deal has gone bad, and then imagining the reasons it happened. The exercise gives people an opportunity to air doubts they might be hesitant to share otherwise. And while it probably won’t change the decision, it could help spot problems before they arise.

More news below.

Alan Murray


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