Snap Strategy, iPhone Manufacturing, Moonves Complications: CEO Daily for September 11, 2018
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Fortune last night at a dinner on the sidelines of the Toronto International Film Festival, along with a group of actors, filmmakers, and media, tech and entertainment executives. Instead of talking about NAFTA, Trudeau steered the conversation in a different direction, asking what “story tellers” can do to address the problem that he said was top of mind for him these days: the intransigence, polarization, unwillingness to listen to diverse points of view, and tribalism-run-amuck that afflicts society. What followed was a fascinating two-hour conversation that I can’t fully report here, because the dinner operated under the “Chatham House” rule. But I’m looking forward to revisiting some of that conversation when I sit down with the prime minister for an on-the-record talk at the Fortune Global Forum in Toronto Oct. 15–17. We may talk about NAFTA, too.
Also joining us on Day One of the Forum will be GE CEO John Flannery. Flannery has had a brutal first year in the job—can you think of any CEO who had a rougher start?—watching his stock price and market cap plummet by half. But he is ready now to lay out his vision for the new GE, and I suspect both investors and GE business partners will be eager to hear what he has to say. If you have questions you’d like me to ask, send them my way.
David reported on other CEOs who will be in attendance at the Forum in this newsletter on Friday. (You can read his report here.) A few he didn’t mention: Starbucks’ Kevin Johnson, Element AI’s Jean-Francois Gagne, RBC’s David MacKay, Mass Mutual’s Roger Crandall, PayPal’s Dan Schulman, Ampere Computing’s Renee James, Mondi’s Pierre Oswald, CA Technologies’ Michael Gregoire, as well as Veon Chair Ursula Burns and ex-Dow CEO Andrew Liveris.
Thinking you should be there too? We still have a few spots open. To avoid FOMO, shoot me an email…or apply here.
Snap’s chief strategy officer, Imran Khan—not to be confused with Pakistan’s new prime minister—is leaving the messaging firm to start an investment fund. Khan has been with Snap since 2014, when the company still shared its name with its chief product, Snapchat. He’s expected to hang around for a transitionary period. Techcrunch
How much more would an iPhone cost if Apple made them in the U.S., as President Trump is urging? 20% more, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, whose analyst Wamsi Mohan thinks Apple may give in. Apple has begged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to avoid more tariffs on Chinese imports, saying “it is difficult to see how tariffs that hurt U.S. companies and U.S. consumers will advance the Government’s objectives with respect to China’s technology policies.” Fox Business
Les Moonves is only now out at CBS (except as an unpaid advisor, apparently) but the company’s board had been discussing the allegations of his sexual misconduct since the start of the year. It seems the spat with controlling shareholder National Amusements was complicating matters, as some on the board believed Shari Redstone was asking other directors about the rumors because she wanted to stymie Moonves’s resistance to her desired merger with Viacom. Wall Street Journal
Alibaba in Russia
Alibaba is setting up a new ecommerce venture in Russia along with a variety of local players, including online giant Mail.ru, mobile operator MegaFon and the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Alibaba’s AliExpress Russian platform will be absorbed into the new venture, with its Russian partners gaining a combined 52% stake in it. The venture will use the Russian Mir payments system, which was developed as a response to post-Crimea-annexation Western sanctions. CNBC
Around the Water Cooler
Mexico’s finance minister, José Antonio González Anaya, has said the country is willing to sign a bilateral trade pact with the U.S. if the latter country and Canada can’t agree on a revised NAFTA. González Anaya also told the Financial Times that Mexico has signed a “side agreement” with the U.S. that freezes tariffs on Mexican car imports at 2.5%, so the industry is safe from any future tariff increases. Financial Times
Koos Timmermans has been kicked out as chief financial officer of ING, following the Dutch bank’s $900 million mega-fine over clients’ money-laundering activities. “Given the seriousness of the matter and the many reactions among stakeholders since the announcement and in the interest of the bank, we came to the conclusion it is appropriate that responsibility is taken at executive board level,” said ING chairman Hans Wijers. Bloomberg
California has moved ahead with its legal commitment to only use carbon-free electricity sources by 2045, becoming the second state after Hawaii to make such a promise. The new law was signed yesterday, with Governor Jerry Brown vowing to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement. Utility companies in California will have to get 60% of their energy from renewable sources within the next 12 years. BBC
Jimmy Buffett is getting into the medical marijuana business, licensing his Coral Reefer brand to Surterra, a Georgia-based operation that’s invested in and chaired by former Wrigley chewing gum CEO William “Beau” Wrigley, Jr. Buffett isn’t taking a stake in Surterra, but he will get royalties from Coral Reefer-branded items such as vape pens and edibles. Fortune