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CEO Daily: Friday, June 5

June 5, 2015, 11:09 AM UTC

Indra Nooyi got it right.


The Pepsi CEO was way ahead of her big food colleagues in figuring out that American food tastes are changing. She started several years ago pushing her “good for you” products, and took grief from investors, analysts, activists and the media for doing so. Stop the political correctness, they said, and sell the sugar water.


Now it’s clear to all that food tastes are shifting, as we wrote in our June cover story, The War on Big Food. Problem is, they aren’t changing in quite the way Nooyi anticipated. “The consumer has changed the definition (of healthy) upside down,” she says, clearly showing frustration. “If it’s non-GMO, natural, or organic, but high in sodium and high in sugar and fat, it’s okay.”


Fortune’s Jennifer Reingold did a deep dive into Pepsi for our Fortune 500 special issue, and we are making it available online this morning. It’s got some fascinating detail – including the fact that the potato chip of the future is being made on a 3-D printer. It also underscores Nooyi’s challenge. We recommend it as a follow to the Big Food story.


Otherwise, the stories of the day are this morning’s job report, and the data hack on government workers. More on both below. Have a great weekend.





Alan Murray

Top News

 H-P back into buying mode?

While Hewlett-Packard's $11 billion deal for Autonomy Corp. is widely viewed as a disaster, CEO Meg Whitman says the computer maker is back into acquisition mode. The company, which later this year will split into two, has recently started a venture investment program meant to gain access to hot tech startups. Whitman hinted as acquisitions in data storage and next-generation data-center equipment.  WSJ subscription required

 Job creation could signal spring rebound

Economists have forecast a gain of 225,000 jobs in May, which would be a small 2,000 increase from the growth reported in the prior month, according to estimates reported by WSJ. If those estimates are accurate it could signal the labor market is back on track after poor winter weather and a strong dollar weighed on economic growth earlier this year. 2014 saw the best pace of hiring since 1999 but average job growth has dipped fairly significantly this year.  WSJ (subscription required)

 Cyber attack hits U.S. federal data

Hackers broke into U.S. government computers and possibly compromised the personal data of 4 million current and former federal employees. U.S. officials say investors are probing whether the culprits were based in China, and possibly linked the breach to earlier thefts of healthcare records from Anthem and Premera Blue Cross.  Reuters

 Greece defers IMF payments

Greece has rejected demands for more austerity to receive bailout funds and instead opted for an unconventional deferral of International Monetary Fund payments. While that move isn't a breach of IMF rules, it may signal Greece is readying for a potential breakdown of talks after a four-month-long impasse with creditors. Some experts say the move could increase the risk of bankruptcy.  Bloomberg

Around the Water Cooler

 Wells Fargo wants to scan your face

The San Francisco-based bank is certainly finding inspiration in its tech-driven location. Executives at the bank have recently shown off the latest in a type of technology that can scan your face and voice to ensure you are who you say you are. Why would a bank want to employ such technology? It could improve on the security checks that the bank already uses in its mobile banking app, which for now requires a series of security hoops that customers find a bit annoying.  Fortune

Clean up needed in Walmart's aisles

The world's largest retailer has made it a priority to make his fleet of 4,500 U.S. stores cleaner and more attractive. Greg Foran, who leads the U.S. division, said "about half of them (stores) are where we want them to be, and the other half need improvement." A big part of his plan to improve customer service and also push the mantra of a cleaner store is by raising the pay of hundreds of thousands of workers to better motivate them.  Fortune

 A female Viagra gets FDA panel nod

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has given its stamp of approval to a first-of-its-kind drug that would treat lagging sexual desire in women. The advisory committee voted to approve the drug as long as steps were taken to minimize the risk of side effects. While it is unclear how big the market is for the drug, if Viagra is any benchmark, it could be a cash cow. Viagra brought in more than $2 billion in annual sales at the drug's height. Fortune

5 things to know today

The latest twist for Greece and May jobs — five things to know today. Today's story can be found here.