CEO Time Management, iPhone China Tariffs, Microsoft ICE: CEO Daily for June 19, 2018
Electronic communications have taken over most people’s lives, but for CEOs, face time still rules. A study of how CEOs spend their time, by Harvard’s Michael Porter and Nitin Nohria, found 61% of it is in face-face-meetings. “Face-to-face time is viewed as a signal of what or who is important,” Porter and Nohria write. While some CEOs have begun to use videoconferencing as an alternative, they “must never forget that at its core their job is a face-to-face one.”
The two professors collected data on 27 big-company CEOs (average annual revenue = $13.1 billion) over a three month period, asking their executive assistants to track time use in 15 minute increments. The study was published yesterday by Harvard Business Review. A few takeaways:
- CEOs in the study worked an average of 62.5 hours per week. Even on weekends, they put in an average of 3.9 hours daily; on vacations, they averaged 2.4 hours a day.
- The CEOs slept on average 6.9 hours a night.
- The vast majority of CEO work time (75%) was scheduled in advance. Only 24% was available for spontaneous interaction.
- CEOs spent 72% of their time in meetings, with one hour being the most common meeting length. (One CEO’s advice for time management: cut all meetings in half.)
- CEOs spent 70% of their time dealing with employees, and only 3% of their time with customers—less than the 5% they spent with consultants or the 5% they spent with board members. Bankers, who seem to be claiming the lion’s share of my time these days, got 2%.
Porter and Nohria asked each of the CEOs to describe the agenda he or she was pursuing, then tracked how much time they spent on activities that supported that agenda. The result: CEOs on average spent 43% of their time on activities that furthered their agenda. But that result varied greatly among the group, ranging from 14% to 80% of the leader’s work hours. Exercise time also varied greatly among the CEOs, suggesting the notion of CEO as “corporate athlete” has not yet fully taken hold.
More news below.
As President Donald Trump threatened tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods, the New York Times published a story on how Apple CEO Tim Cook became tech’s chief diplomat. It includes this nugget: the Trump administration has assured Cook that it will not place tariffs on Apple’s iPhones, which are assembled in China. New York Times
Under Fire Over ICE
Microsoft has come under fire for a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A blog post from January—in which the company says it’s “proud to support” ICE with its cloud-computing software—has resurfaced amid the agency’s enforcement of a Trump policy to separate families at the U.S. border. As critics slammed the tech giant on social media, it released a statement saying it is “dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families” and urging the administration to change its policy. Fortune
Last month, Xerox reached a truce with activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason to end plans to merge with Fujifilm, but it’s still fighting its one-time partner over the soured deal. Fujifilm Holdings Corp. sued Xerox yesterday for breach of contract and estimated damages of more than $1 billion after the printer and copier company walked away from a planned tie-up earlier this year. Wall Street Journal
Procter & Gamble yesterday set a goal to have women direct at least 50% of its commercials by 2023. (They currently direct 10%.) The conglomerate behind Tide, Bounty, Pampers, and Gillette is the world’s largest advertiser with a yearly ad spend of $7 billion. “Some of P&G’s best performing brands have the most gender-equal campaigns,” says Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard. “It’s clear that promoting gender equality is not only a force for good, it’s a force for growth.” CNNMoney
Around the Water Cooler
First Ladies in Formation
All four living former first ladies—Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama—have spoken out publicly against the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border. At an event Monday, Clinton called the practice “an affront to our values.” Current First Lady Melania Trump has also seemed to condemn the approach, saying she “hates to see children separated from their families” and urging lawmakers to “[govern] with heart.” NBC News
Up for Debate
Fortune got a peek at IBM’s Project Debater, an AI system, as it debated a human for the first time in public. According to reporter Kevin Kelleher, “Debater scored points on marshaling ample evidence for its arguments in a short period of time, [but] the answers sometimes rambled and the delivery at times fell flat.” Still, “the technology, which remains in its early stages, represents a step forward in conversational AI.” Fortune
Bloomberg has a profile of the CEO President Donald Trump picked to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. AccuWeather’s Barry Myers spent 30 years fighting the weather agency, and his selection by Trump raises the question: Who owns the weather? Bloomberg
Back on Their Feet
WeWork, the co-working space company, started hiring refugees through a pilot project with the International Rescue Committee in 2017. Six months in, it had hired over 50 refugee employees. To date, it’s brought onboard 150 refugees from more than 25 countries. Late last year it set an even more ambitious goal to hire 1,500 over the next five years. Fast Company