A drum roll for this one, please. The best company to work for this year, according to the analytics done for Fortune by our partners at Great Place to Work (for more about the factors they measure, click here), is not a tech firm like Salesforce last year, or Google the year before. And it doesn’t have free gourmet food or nap pods (although it does have lots of beds.)
The winner is Hilton. And a good bit of the credit goes to CEO Chris Nassetta, who understands that happy and engaged employees are the key to a great customer experience, and who says he is “obsessed” with taking care of his employees. The company employs a whopping 62,403 people, spread all over the globe. But Nassetta has worked to upgrade the staff experience, and placed a special emphasis on education and training. The folks at Great Place to Work say Hilton particularly outperforms among “line level” workers, such as cleaning and kitchen staff, who often feel the most disenfranchised.
In Hilton’s case, happy workers lead to happy customers, which lead to good business: the stock is up 274% from its IPO price in 2013. (By the way, this year is Hilton’s 100th anniversary.)
Others in the top six:
You can see the full list of 100 here. More news below.
Apple and IBM
Ginni Rometty and Tim Cook will be advising the Trump administration on how to deal with the shift toward automation and A.I. in the workplace. The IBM and Apple CEOs have signed on for Trump’s business advisory board, as have the CEOs of Walmart, Lockheed Martin and Home Depot. The board’s chairs are Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Fortune
Airbus is finally scrapping its A380 program, following order cancellations from major customers such as Emirates. The world’s biggest passenger jet is simply too inflexible—it’s heavy and not very fuel-efficient, which means it’s only economical to run on fully-booked long-haul routes. Emirates and others are instead turning to the smaller A330neo and A350. Wall Street Journal
President Trump is considering extending the sort-of-truce between the U.S. and China for 60 days, so the countries can sort out their trade argument without any new tariffs being thrown around. However, Trump says he’s not “inclined” to push back the deadline. Trump: “I think it’s going along very well. They’re showing us tremendous respect.” Bloomberg
Four of Deutsche Bank’s 10 biggest shareholders want more cuts to the outfit’s loss-making U.S. investment bank. This puts pressure on CEO Christian Sewing, who is not turning things around quickly enough for investors’ liking—Deutsche Bank’s share price has fallen by a third since he took over 10 months ago. Financial Times
Around the Water Cooler
Income inequality in the U.S. is now as bad as it was just before the Great Depression. UC Berkeley economics professor Gabriel Zucman: “Wealth inequality has increased dramatically since the 1980s, with a top 1% wealth share around 40% in 2016 vs. 25%–30% in the 1980s.” The only country with inequality this high is Russia, apparently—though the researchers admit there isn’t good enough data on wealth levels. Fortune
Germany posted flat growth for Q4 2018, which may be below the Reuters forecast of 0.1%, but is still kind of good news—it means the country hasn’t entered a technical recession. It’s also kind of bad news, though, as it reflects the Eurozone slowdown that has everyone worried. CNBC
Former Apple lawyer Gene Levoff, who was responsible for Apple’s compliance with insider trading policies, has been charged with insider trading. The SEC unveiled the charges yesterday, saying Levoff—fired by Apple last year after the authorities came knocking—used confidential information to trade Apple securities for personal gain. BBC
Levi Strauss & Co. intends to return to the stock market after a 34-year absence. Its 2018 revenues were up 14% year-on-year, and it seems like the company has successfully reinvented itself against strong odds. Fortune‘s Phil Wahba explains how. Fortune