Good morning, and happy Friday.
All week long, I’ve been sharing bits from our new poll of Fortune 500 CEOs, which was done to accompany the new Fortune 500 list. Among the questions we asked the chiefs was: “What’s the best management advice you ever received?” The result was an outpouring of pithy pointers. A selection follows:
“Out-dream, outthink, outwork”
“Focus on your team”
“Speak less—listen more”
“Highs are never as high as they seem; lows are never as low as they seem”
“Always start with the consumer”
“Never assume competence”
“Think 10X not 10%”
“Think like an owner”
“The CEO sets the level of the bar, everyone else adapts to it”
“Don’t believe the news clippings”
“Balance confidence with humility”
“It is better to be effective than right”
“Surround yourself with people more capable than you”
“Don’t believe your own BS”
“Do what’s right”
What’s the best management advice you ever received? If it tops the above, send it my way. And be sure to read William Cohan’s piece about Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s struggle to remain on top.
News below. Enjoy the weekend.
• Comey Unloads
In his testimony to Congress, James Comey painted a picture of repeated and inappropriate pressure on him from President Donald Trump, saying he “took it as a direction” when Trump expressed the “hope” that he would drop the FBI’s probe of Michael Flynn, his first choice as National Security Advisor. Comey admitted leaking his account of a conversation with Trump, a point seized upon this morning by the President, who has broken an uncharacteristic day-long silence on Twitter.
• May’s Election Gamble Blows Up
Theresa May’s Conservatives lost their majority in Parliament, blowing a 20-point lead in the polls in only six weeks. May will try to carry on as Prime Minister, and form a government with the Northern Irish Democratic Union Party. The risk of a deliberately “hard Brexit” pushed by the Tories has vanished, but the risk of an accidental one caused by internal divisions in the U.K. has risen sharply. The pound hit a two-month low of $1.2656 and will stay under pressure until a measure of clarity returns.
• The ECB Tiptoes After the Fed
The European Central Bank signaled the start of a new cycle of monetary policy tightening, six years after a premature attempt to return to a normal interest rate level brought the Eurozone to the brink of disaster. The bank dropped the idea of cutting rates any further from its guidance and said the balance of risks to the economy was now neutral (another six-year first). However, Mario Draghi’s tone remained doveish in the absence of any inflation pressure, and the euro weakened against the dollar. It may get a boost over the weekend if, as expected, Emmanuel Macron’s party performs well in the first round of France’s parliamentary elections.
• House Begins Dodd-Frank Rollback
The Republican-led House approved sweeping legislation Thursday to undo much of former President Barack Obama’s landmark banking law created after the 2008 financial crisis. The largely party-line vote was 233-186. Republicans argued the rules designed to prevent another meltdown were making it harder for community banks to lend and hampered the economy.
Around the Water Cooler
• Softbank Buys Alphabet’s Robot Ops
SoftBank is to buy two firms that build walking robots from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, adding to the Japanese company’s growing artificial intelligence portfolio. It’s buying Boston Dynamics and Tokyo-based Schaft, which design and manufacture robots that simulate human movement. It didn’t disclose the terms of the transactions. Softbank shares rose as much as 7.9% after the announcement, hitting a 17-year high.
• Qatar Crisis Stays on the Boil
Tensions ramped up further in the Gulf as Egypt published a list of over 50 alleged terrorists that it said were supported by Qatar. There were unconfirmed reports of troop movements on both sides of the Saudi-Qatar border, and broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the mouthpiece through which Qatar has promoted anti-establishment dissent throughout much of the Middle East, said it had suffered a major cyber-attack.
• Nordstrom Seeks Private Port in a Storm
Shares of Nordstrom jumped over 10% on Thursday after the luxury department store operator said it’s pursuing a potential sale that would take the company private. Key members of the Nordstrom family have formed a group to explore a potential “going private transaction” that would involve the acquisition of 100% of Nordstrom’s outstanding shares. The board has also formed a special committee that would weigh the governance aspects of any potential transaction. Elsewhere in the retail sector slaughterhouse, Saks owner Hudson’s Bay said it will cut 2,000 jobs as part of its restructuring.
• Ford Pushes Ahead With Job Cuts
The Wall Street Journal reported that Ford has offered buyouts to some 15,000 salaried workers across North America and Asia, pushing through a cost-cutting plan that ousted CEO Mark Fields had appeared reluctant to carry out. The cuts account for around 10% of Ford’s white-collar workforce. Fields’ replacement Jim Hackett has promised to move faster to cut costs against a background of a sharp slowdown in the U.S. auto market.
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Summaries by Geoffrey Smith Geoffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org;