Skip to Content

CEO Daily: Thursday, 6th July

Good morning,

Which companies care most about their customers? Fortune’s Laura Entis reports on a SurveyMonkey poll that asked that question of 14,000 U.S. adults, and gave them the top 75 companies on the Fortune 500 list to choose from. The top ten are below. Disney remains America’s sweetheart, but we also love companies that provide prompt delivery of our packages:

1) Disney

2) Amazon

3) UPS

4) FedEx

5) Costco

6) Microsoft

7) Home Depot

8) Alphabet

9) Lowe’s

10) Apple


And which companies care least about their customers? Well, financial firms, the cable company, and airlines have a lock on that list. The losers:

1) Wells Fargo

2) Comcast

3) Freddie Mac

4) Fannie Mae

5) JP Morgan Chase

6) Delta Airlines

7) American Airlines

8) Pfizer

9) Citigroup

10) Archer Daniels Midland

By the way, Comcast is spending lots of money advertising its new customer friendly approach. But yesterday, I had to navigate the call-in customer service options, and got disconnected twice. My advice: fix the service first, then advertise.

News below.

Alan Murray


Top News

Trump in Poland

President Donald Trump arrived in Poland ahead of his visit to the G20 summit in Germany tomorrow. Advance excerpts of his speech suggest he will play up concerns about migration, amid signs that the migrant crisis is bubbling up again in southern Europe. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump will say (according to Reuters). It’s a turn of phrase apparently calculated to cause discomfort in Berlin, which remembers what happened the last time Oswald Spengler’s ‘Decline of the West’ narrative informed policy-making. The visit will also provide insight into the dynamics of Trump’s ‘energy dominance’ agenda: Poland wants U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas to reduce its dependence on Russia. For now, though, Gazprom’s product is still much cheaper. Fortune

Tesla Investors’ Electric Shock

Tesla shares had their worst day in over a year as the market caught up with news about weak delivery numbers and battery bottlenecks that the company released while the country was getting ready for July 4 holiday. Nerves were also rattled by Volvo’s news Wednesday about it completing the transformation to an all-electric model by 2019, a reminder that Tesla’s competitors aren’t as far behind it as is often believed. The shares fell 7.2% to a six-week low. Fortune

Non-Core Fintech Spin-Off Seeks Similar for $12 Billion Merger

Worldpay’s board decided to ignore the ballyhoo about JP Morgan’s return to dealmaking, and instead accepted the all-share offer from Cincinnati-based credit card processor Vantiv. The offer values it at just under $12 billion in an effective merger of equals. As a pure play on electronic payment processing, Worldpay shares more DNA with Vantiv than it does with JP Morgan, and the two companies’ respective evolutions are also eerily similar. Both were spun off from traditional banks under the pressure of the financial crisis and both passed through the hands of private equity group Advent International.  Fortune

Petya Costs a Pretty Penny

The cost of the Petya cyber-attack is starting to become clear. Reckitt Benckiser, the company behind Lysol, Air Wick and Mucinex, said its revenue for the second quarter would be 2% down from the previous year. Without the hack, sales would have been flat. It also cut its full-year forecast to a 2% rise, from the 3% it predicted earlier, noting that some of its factories still aren’t back to normal. The fast-moving consumer goods sector looks like it will produce more such stories, due in part to Petya’s disruption of A.P. Moeller-Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping company. Maersk needed five days to get all its systems back online. Germany’s Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea, was one of many to suffer, according to the German magazine Stern. Bloomberg

Around the Water Cooler

Swiss Re Throws Down an Ethical Gauntlet

Swiss Re, one of Europe’s biggest insurers, said it will benchmark all of its $130 billion investment portfolio against new, ethically-based indices. It will ask both its in-house and external managers to use MSCI’s environmental, social and governance indices. The move affords a concrete, if still marginal, incentive to gear corporate governance to a broader range of metrics than just market value. The incentive will increase by orders of magnitude if fund giants like Vanguard and Blackrock take similar decisions. For Swiss Re, the move has significant marketing value in playing to the social awareness of retail and institutional investors. But for it to succeed, it must validate the underlying theory that socially-responsible business actually does deliver more long-term value than the alternative. FT, metered access

Welcome to America! (Here’s Your Subpoena)

Kroger has no intention of being the next dish on the menu for the German discounters that have eaten the lunch of competitors across Europe. It’s suing Lidl, which only set up shop in the U.S. in the last couple of months, alleging that the German chain’s “Preferred Selection” line of goods is a rip off of its 20 year-old “Private Selection” line. Lidl and its rival Aldi focus on aggressively-priced no-frills offerings, and they have thrived in a Europe where incomes have stagnated (or worse) since the financial crisis. U.S. grocers should be wary of focusing exclusively on the Amazon threat: Lidl and Aldi have hurt Wal-Mart’s Asda in the U.K. as much as anyone else, without even having a delivery service to boast of. Fortune

Amazon’s Next Dish: Dish?

Could satellite TV firm Dish Networks be the next course on Amazon’s never-ending menu? The Wall Street Journal reporte that Jeff Bezos and Dish CEO Charlie Ergen have struck up a close relationship and “discussed a partnership to enter the wireless business.” It said no deal is imminent, but mooted the ides that Amazon could finance a network that Dish is building focused on the Internet of Things, or cross-sell a future Dish wireless service through its Prime product. The latter is an option that Ergen has also discussed with others, the WSJ notes. WSJ, subscription required

United Struggles With David Dao Legacy

United Airlines sleepwalked into another PR mess, after taking a fully paid-for seat away from a toddler and forcing his mother to sit him on her lap for a flight lasting more than three hours. Shirley Yamauchi, a teacher, said she had kept quiet rather than complain, mindful of how race had appeared to contribute to the abuse of another United passenger, David Dao, in an incident only a couple of weeks earlier. United said it had failed to scan the boarding pass of Yamauchi’s son properly, thus freeing up a seat for resale on a standby basis. It apologized and gave Ms Yamauchi a refund and a travel voucher. Fortune

Summaries by Geoffrey Smith;