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CEO Daily: Monday, May 4th

May 4, 2015, 10:45 AM UTC
Fortune

After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, my wife periodically admonished me: “Why can’t you be more like Dave?” She was referring to Dave Goldberg, Sheryl’s supportive spouse, and CEO of SurveyMonkey. I wanted to reply that she shouldn’t believe everything she reads. But in Dave’s case, I knew better. He was the real deal.

Dave, who died unexpectedly Friday at the age of 47, wasn’t just another billion-dollar-startup CEO. He was an exceptionally generous man who, while guiding his company’s hyper growth, always had time to help others. He cared deeply about journalism, and more than once offered his time, wisdom and network to help guide Fortune and Time Inc. to our digital future. We will still try to get there without him. But it would have been faster, surer and a lot sunnier with him. Our heart goes out to Sheryl and their two children.

You can watch an excerpt from my interview with Dave at the Consumer Electronics Show in Janauary here, talking about why he had no interest in taking SurveyMonkey public.

Top News

A big fight for the small screen

BuzzFeed and Vice represent a new breed of entertainment that aims to walk a very fine line: Authentic enough to appeal to discerning online audiences but just professional enough to entice advertisers. They are among the 33 companies participating in "NewFronts," which has lured digital media startups, newspapers, magazines and classic media conglomerates to duke it out for a slice of the same ad budgets. "NewFronts," created by digital media companies, are ultimately a fight for digital ad spending and differ from the decades-old traditional TV version which are called Upfronts. Fortune

Sysco fights to save a merger

Comcast last month threw in the towel on the cable operator's efforts to buy Time Warner Cable. Sysco isn't giving up so easily. The food-distribution company, which late in 2013 unveiled a deal to buy rival US Foods Inc., needs to convince a federal judge over the next two weeks that the industry is more diverse than antitrust enforcers allege. The nation’s two largest food distributors and the Federal Trade Commission will square off in a federal court in Washington, beginning Tuesday, in a seven-day hearing that carries high stakes for the restaurants, hotels and schools that rely on the companies for food ingredients and other supplies. WSJ (subscription required)

Chrysler to offer employees free college tuition

The U.S. division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will announced today that it will offer free college tuition to the 118,000 employees at its Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Fiat dealerships. The move is a benefit toward attracting and retaining the right kind of talent, as conversations with dealers led Chrysler to realize a free education could take customer service to the next level. The program comes with some stringers and is also a victory for for-profit college Strayer University, which could see an enrollment boost thanks to Chrysler's move to work with that school for the program. Fortune

Online video apps peak into live boxing match

A big boxing match and the annual Kentucky Derby, both events held this weekend, served as reminders that broadcast TV still holds the keys to the castle when it comes to the rights to air major live events. But online video apps Meerkat and Periscope gave some cord cutters a peak into the action, as both hosted some live streams of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match. Their existence presents another challenge to the tight grip that legacy broadcast TV channels and cable operators seek to hold on viewers that are increasingly nimble about how they'll get around paying for that cable bill to watch TV. USA Today

Around the Water Cooler

What Warren Buffett was asked about at his annual meeting

Warren Buffett faced a ton of questions at this year’s annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. Some inquires focused on predatory lending practices at Berkshire-owned Clayton Homes; while others were about the fact that many of his investments are in companies that produce products that are high in processed sugars, like Coke and ketchup, at a time when many are worried about obesity. Buffett often faces criticism at his annual meeting, though Fortune reports this year seemed more contentious than usual. Fortune

Icahn isn't fond of BlackRock's CEO

Activist investor Carl Icahn has certainly cultivated a reputation to speak his mind, and that was in full effect this weekend when he spoke about BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink. They don't see eye to eye on the role of the activist investor, with Fink saying CEOs should avoid pressure to spend money on immediate dividends and buybacks. Icahn says some CEOs shouldn't be allowed to invest money. Oh, and Icahn says he "can't remember one time that they voted for us" to oust underperforming CEOs. Bloomberg

Free Wi-Fi still not a guarantee in that swanky hotel room

You can pay $4 for a coffee and Starbucks and enjoy the chain's free Wi-Fi but pay $300 a night for a hotel room and connecting to the Internet is probably going to cost you extra.“It’s the elephant in the room,” according to one hotel management executive. “Why are chains charging for it? Because they can. It is a source of revenue. For many hotels, that’s something they’re not willing to give up.” Fortune dives into which luxury hotels are still charging for Wi-Fi, a helpful tip for business travelers in particular. Fortune

RIP SkyMall, long live Rhapsody

SkyMall may have filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, but that doesn't mean airlines are giving up on captivating in-flight audiences. Take the example of Rhapsody, an in-flight magazine for United Airlines, that has already published original works from the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Emma Straub and recent Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr. An airline is an odd literary patron but it makes sense as the industry's players want to stand out from the crowd with their high-end offerings to lure first-class and business passengers. New York Times (subscription required)

Fortune's 5 things to know today

Tech conferences and an array of earnings — 5 things to watch in the week ahead. This week's story can be found here.