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CEO Daily: Wednesday, June 8

Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a major political party nomination yesterday, and now faces a choice between running a campaign that appeals to Sanders supporters on the left, or one that tries to capitalize on the considerable discontent in the political center. Regardless, the coming campaign will be the nastiest in modern times. Clinton said again that Trump is “temperamentally unfit” to be president. Trump promised a major speech in the next few days attacking the Clintons for turning the “politics of personal enrichment into an art form.”

 

If you prefer to avoid politics today, we have an alternative. We’ve published a number of stories from this year’s Fortune 500 edition of the magazine online, all well worth reading. Among the highlights:

 

–How Ken Chenault, the longest-serving CEO at a U.S. financial services firm, is trying to dig No. 85 American Express out of the hole it is in (and how Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian use his Amex card to buy a Modigliani painting at auction for $170.4 million.)

 

–How No. 304 Hormel, best known for the canned meat Spam, is successfully appealing to changing food tastes, and has moved up nearly 100 spots on the Fortune 500 from a decade ago. (Muscle Milk, anyone?)

 

–How Satya Nadella has taken Microsoft to its highest ever rankingNo. 25 – on the Fortune 500, and has raised the company’s stock price to its highest in 16 years.

 

–How PayPal, joining the list for the first time at No. 307, is trying to become the digital wallet for millennials – with Venmo as its “killer app.”

 

–How No. 379 Netflix became the best performing stock in the Fortune 500.

 

More news below.

 

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

Top News

World Bank cuts global growth forecast

The World Bank slashed its 2016 global growth forecast to 2.4% from the 2.9% estimated in January due to stubbornly low commodity prices, sluggish demand in advanced economies, weak trade and diminishing capital flows. Commodity-exporting emerging market countries have struggled to adapt to lower prices for oil, metals, and other commodities, accounting for half of the downward revision. The euro area saw a slight downgrade of its 2016 forecast to 1.6%. The World Bank’s 2016 forecast for the United States was shaved eight tenths of a percentage point, now targeting 1.9% growth. That was due to a steep decline in energy sector investment and weaker exports. Reuters

Probe indicates McClendon didn’t commit suicide

A two-month investigation by the Oklahoma City Police Department has found nothing to suggest Aubrey McClendon, a co-founder of Chesapeake Energy, killed himself when he drove his Chevy Tahoe into a bridge on March 2, a day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury. While the conclusions of the probe don’t completely rule out suicide, investigators say they didn’t uncover anything in interviews with McClendon’s friends and associates – or in the wreckage of the crash itself – to lead them to believe he was seeking to end his life. A final report from the medical examiner’s office is set to be released soon. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Ousted Lending Club CEO mulls takeover

Ousted Lending Club CEO and co-founder Renaud Laplanche has been speaking to private equity firms and banks about financing a potential buyout of the online lender, according to people familiar with the matter. The French entrepreneur, one of the highest-profile names in the fledgling industry, left Lending Club in May after an internal probe found the company had falsified documentation when selling $22 million of loans to an investor. That scandal badly dented Lending Club’s stock and also sent shock waves through a sector that was already dealing with investor concerns. In the weeks following his departure, Laplanche approached firms about financing a bid to take the company private, though the talks were preliminary and may not lead to a deal, Reuters reports. Reuters

Keurig to stop selling pricy soda machine

Keurig Green Mountain has announced it will end production of the coffee company’s cold beverage making device, backing off of a bid to convince shoppers to spend $370 to make their own sodas at home. Called the Keurig Kold, the device debuted last fall as Keurig tried to expand the brand’s potential away from at-home hot coffee making machines, pointing out at the time that most of the beverages consumers drink are actually cold. But the price appeared too steep for a large device that would take up a lot of room in America’s kitchens. It was also estimated that the sodas made by the machine – which took over a minute to produce – were also far more expensive than the price of a traditional can of soda. Fortune

Around the Water Cooler

Employees say these CEOs are the best

The chief executive officers of Bain & Company, Ultimate Software Group, McKinsey & Company, Facebook, and LinkedIn took the top five spots in a list of the highest-rated CEOs in the U.S. According to a report from career website Glassdoor, each of the CEOs had an employee approval rating of 97 percent or higher. Last year, Google’s Larry Page took the top spot and women were completely absent from the list. Bloomberg reports that this year, four women made the list. The highest ranking was In-N-Out Burger’s Lynsi Snyder at No. 17. Other well-known CEOs making their first appearance on the list include Nestlé Purina PetCare’s Joseph Sivewright at No. 9, NBCUniversal’s Stephen Burke at No. 39, and Lululemon’s Laurent Potdevinat in 48th place. Bloomberg

Microsoft finds cancer clues in search

Microsoft scientists have demonstrated that by analyzing large samples of search engine queries they may in some cases be able to pinpoint internet users who are suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before those patients receive a diagnosis of the disease. The researchers zeroed in on searches conducted on Bing that indicated someone had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. From there, they worked backward, looking for earlier queries that could have shown that the Bing user was experiencing symptoms before the diagnosis. Those early searches, they believe, can be warning flags. While five-year survival rates for pancreatic cancer are extremely low, early detection of the disease can prolong life in a very small percentage of cases.  New York Times (subscription required)

21 million self-driving cars may be on the road by 2035

United States will be an early leader in deploying autonomous vehicle technology, an effort that will eventually help put nearly 21 million self-driving cars on the world’s roads by 2035, IHS Automotive predicts. The forecast, which is much higher than previous estimates, is influenced by recent research and development by major automakers, suppliers, and tech companies as well as regulatory changes and a wave of investments, according to the research firm. IHS Automotive adds that while the U.S. leads the world in initial deployment, Japan will be responsible for ramping up industry coordination and investment ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Deployment in the U.S. will begin with several thousand autonomous vehicles in 2020, the firm adds. Fortune

T-Mobile freebie may have tax implications

T-Mobile CEO John Legere earned a ton of free press when he recently unveiled a new plan to reward loyal customers with free swag, including pizza, in-flight Wi-Fi and shares in the company. The scheme promises that every customer who installs a T-Mobile app by June 21 will receive one bona-fide share, which they can keep or trade. Customers get something of value – a single share is now worth around $44 – but the offer could create new tax headaches for T-Mobile customers, many of whom are unlikely to own any other stock. T-Mobile has downplayed the tax implications of its offer, essentially arguing the gift would amount to a one-time credit on a wireless bill. But it does advise customers consult with their tax advisors for more information about the offer. Fortune