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CEO Daily: Wednesday, June 29

Is purpose more important than profit? That’s the question I discussed with three CEOs at the Aspen Ideas Festival yesterday – Ursula Burns of Xerox, Tom Wilson of Allstate, and entrepreneur Adam Lowry, whose latest startup, Ripple, makes plant-based milk. All three rejected the Milton Friedman view that the social responsibility of business is to make a profit, period. Instead, each described impressive efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of their employees, their communities, and the world. I can’t do the conversation justice in this brief space, but I came away inspired – and not just by the scenery. 

The three, of course, are outliers in the business world – hence their presence on the Aspen stage. But their ilk are growing. An increasing number of CEOs argue purpose-driven leadership has become a business imperative – important for attracting and retaining top talent and guiding organizations through tumultuous times. Moreover, a new generation of business leaders are dedicating themselves to demonstrating the power of business to address social problems.


At Fortune, we hope to encourage that trend this fall by publishing our second annual Change the World list – which highlights organizations that have made measurable progress addressing global social problems as part of their core business strategy. If you’d like to nominate a company for the list, send me an email with a brief description of why they belong on it.


And since I’m in Colorado, I’d urge you this morning to read Jennifer Alsever’s story on how this state is having second thoughts about its rush to legalize marijuana. Marijuana-related hospitalizations have tripled since legalization, and ER visits are up 30%. Moreover, two of Colorado’s neighbors – Nebraska and Kansas – are suing the state, claiming it is contributing to illegal drug trade in their states.

More news below.


Alan Murray

Top News



U.K. Gets Cold Shoulder from Spurned EU Leaders 

European leaders scoffed at British Prime Minister David Cameron’s push on Tuesday for favorable trade conditions for Britain after his country exits the EU. At the Brussels summit, a string of EU leaders pushed back at Cameron—despite his urging—with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and others insisting that the U.K. cannot simply pick and choose certain benefits of the EU marketplace following the divorce. Merkel said she sees “no way to reverse” the country’s path toward the Brexit, as EU leaders brushed aside attempts to negotiate favorable exit conditions by Cameron, who said it was “a sad night.”  Wall Street Journal (subscription required


• Global Stocks’ Dead Cat Keeps Bouncing

Many analysts expected a so-called “dead cat bounce” for global markets this week, as investors pull back slightly from the massive sell-off in the wake of last week’s Brexit vote. But, the temporary rebound could be sticking around for another day, with global markets rallying for the second day in a row while the dollar weakened slightly early Wednesday. The rally came after increasing speculation among investors that policy-makers outside of Europe will take steps to stabilize the global economy, including further stimulus in Asia as well as the expectation that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue holding off on further interest rate hikes.  Bloomberg

• Trump on Trade

Earlier on Tuesday, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump fired off an intense speech in which he fiercely opposed free trade and globalization. Standing in an aluminum-recycling plant in Pennsylvania, the convenient timing of Trump’s speech was difficult to miss, coming as it did less than a week after the U.K.’s historic vote to reject European Union membership. Immigration fears were a hallmark of the “Leave” side of the Brexit campaign, and they have remained a constant in Trump’s own surprising political ascendancy. In his speech, Trump played up the assertion that globalization efforts have helped the elite class while hurting American workers. The billionaire laid out specific plans to pull the U.S. out of various free trade agreements while bashing Hillary Clinton for her past support of such agreements—a tactic previously employed by her Democratic rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whose supporters Trump is now targeting in an effort to pick up ground in the upcoming general election.  Fortune

• Nike Shares Slump on Sluggish Sales

Wall Street’s concern over slowing growth at Nike weighed down the share price of the world’s largest sportswear company in after hours trading. Nike’s stock dipped about 7% after markets closed on Tuesday, and it remains down slightly in pre-market trading, as investors show their disappointment in the fact that the athletic apparel company just missed projections for total fourth-quarter sales. (Nike reported a 6% bump to $8.24 billion in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, but analysts were expecting $8.27 billion in sales.) The market reacted to the slower-than-expected sales growth, but likely found Nike’s surprisingly weak future orders in North America troubling, as well. Still, Nike CEO Mark Parker seemed confident in a conference call with analysts that Nike can still hit its ambitious annual sales goals—$50 billion by 2020—after fiscal year sales for 2016 climbed 6% to $32.4 billion.  Fortune

Around the Water Cooler

• Leaders React to Terror in Istanbul Airport

A group of suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s Ataturk airport late-Tuesday, killing at least 36 people and injuring more than 140, and in the aftermath, various world leaders issued public statements about the horrifying act as more details of the attack surfaced. Several leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, offered variations on the theme of America standing with its Turkish allies against what the latter described on Twitter as a “campaign of hatred and violence.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump again accused those in power of failing to act appropriately to combat terrorism across the globe: “Yet another terrorist attack, this time in Turkey,” Trump tweeted. “Will the world ever realize what is going on? So sad.”  TIME

• Toyota Is Recalling Over 3 Million Cars

Toyota Motor said on Wednesday that it is recalling another 2.87 million cars over a potential defect in their emissions control units. The announcement followed Tuesday’s news that the Japanese automaker is recalling 1.43 million hybrid Prius and Lexus CT200h cars globally due to potentially faulty airbag inflators. The recall involving the emissions issue covers vehicles produced between 2006 and 2012 under the hybrid Prius, Auris compact hatchback, and Corolla models. The vehicles cited to have potential airbag inflator issues were made between 2010 and 2012, and the airbag inflators may have a small crack that could cause injury and leave the safety device only partially inflated. The airbag inflators involved in the recall were not produced by Takata, the Japanese supplier that has been the subject of more than 100 million related recalls due to safety devices the company made that have been linked to more than a dozen deaths a over 100 injuries worldwide. Reuters

• This CEO Went from Selling Energy Bars to Herb Juices

Sheryl O’Loughlin once served as CEO of Clif Bar, the maker of organic energy bars, and as a co-founder of a baby-food company that Campbell’s Soup bought for $250 million. But, as she recently told Fortune, her latest venture looks to get Americans hooked on juices made with herbs and roots. O’Loughlin is now CEO of REBBL, a San-Francisco based startup that makes juice using “adaptogenic” ingredients, or what the company calls “super herbs,” like ginseng and maca, that REBBL claims can do anything from reducing inflammation to relieving anxiety. O’Loughlin said the company is “based on purpose,” and a portion of net sales go to charities fighting human trafficking. Fortune

• Read This If You Use Symantec or Norton Brands for Security

A new set of flaws discovered in Symantec and Norton security products can allow hackers to compromise your computer without you even having to open emails or click on links they send containing malicious self-replicating code. Google’s “project zero” team of security analysts, which hunts for computer bugs, recently spotted the security vulnerabilities that affect millions of Symantec’s users of its namesake enterprise products as well as the consumer and small business products that fall under the company’s Norton brand. One Google hacker on the “project zero” team called the security flaws “as bad as it gets” and described them as having “potentially devastating consequences,” due to the fact that hackers are able to compromise an entire connected fleet of enterprise software users without any of those users even needing to actively open a questionable email or click on a malicious link.  Fortune