Our Fortune 500 CEO poll is out later this week, but I’m offering some early tidbits to CEO Daily readers. This morning: which Fortune 500 CEOs are most admired by their peers?
We asked that question, and got 52 answers. Two names stood out: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, mentioned by 13 of the CEOs, and JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, mentioned by 11.
The voting falls off sharply from there, but Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett each got 4 votes, while GM’s Mary Barra got 3.
Honorable mentions (1 vote each) to the following: Thermo Fisher’s Marc Casper, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, HCA’s Milton Johnson, T-Mobile’s John Legere, Danita’s Kent Thiry, Merck’s Ken Frazier, and Disney’s Bob Iger. Also receiving one vote each were three CEOs of companies not on the Fortune 500 list – Charles Koch of Koch Industries, which is private; Paul Polman of Unilever, which is based in Europe; and Dan Dinges of Cabot Oil, which is in the Fortune 1000.
Separately, I spent last night at the Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner in Manhattan, where newly-minted CEO Helena Foulkes of Hudson’s Bay talked about the five principles that define her management style:
- Think like a customer
- Have a bias for action
- Focus on game-changing ideas
- Be inclusive and transparent
- Focus on results
Scratch those on your note pad. More news below.
Oracle vs. Google
The long-running feud between Oracle and Google has spilled over into the tech-privacy debate, with Oracle prompting an Australian investigation into Google’s alleged secret tracking of Android users’ location. Competition and privacy regulators are now probing the allegations, which also involve Android users supposedly having to pay for gigabytes of data transfers, as the phones surreptitiously talk to Google’s servers. Fortune
Tesla developers proposed extra safeguards to ensure that drivers remain attentive, even when Autopilot is engaged, according to a Wall Street Journal report that suggested the measures were rejected due to cost. After the article came out, Tesla chief Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla rejected the proposed eye-tracking mechanism “for being ineffective, not for cost,” and insisted that Teslas are the safest cars on the road. WSJ
Gap has annoyed people in China by selling a T-shirt (in Canada) that portrays China without Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea islands to which Beijing lays claims. After photos of the offending T-shirt went viral, Gap apologized, saying it “respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and the garment would no longer be sold in China. Gap is only the latest in a string of Western firms that have caused similar outrage by flouting the “One China” code. CNN
Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Ron Wyden have sent letters to the CEOs of AT&T and Novartis, suggesting that their firms’ payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars each to Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, “raise obvious questions about corruption.” AT&T’s Washington policy chief, Bob Quinn, retired last week after the company admitted to paying Cohen. Fox Business
Around the Water Cooler
Homeless in Seattle
Seattle City Council has passed a watered-down version of a controversial tax on large employers that will fund affordable housing programs and emergency services for homeless people. Although the tax is only half as onerous as the original proposal, Amazon—which paused a major office construction project as a thinly-veiled threat over the legislation—is still furious, and says it’s questioning its growth in its home city. Fortune
A dozen Google employees have reportedly resigned in protest over the company’s decision to provide AI technology to the Pentagon, to help it identify images of people and objects from drone footage. “Over the last couple of months, I’ve been less and less impressed with the response and the way people’s concerns are being treated and listened to,” said one employee who resigned over the Project Maven contract. Gizmodo
Soros Exits Hungary
Viktor Orban’s relentless campaign against George Soros’s pro-democracy foundation has finally prevailed. After the Hungarian government announced a “Stop Soros” bill designed to clamp down on non-governmental organizations, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) said it was moving its staff from Budapest to Berlin. “The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union,” said OSF president Patrick Gaspard. Reuters
Trump and China
How can President Trump get the U.S.’s China trade policy back on track? According to Matthew Shay, head of the National Retail Federation, the answer is not fresh tariffs on Chinese imports—which will harm the U.S. economy and “punish hardworking Americans for Chinese misbehavior”—but a “comprehensive strategy with clearly defined objectives and binding requirements for China,” as well as rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Fortune