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Why We Need to Retrain the C-Suite: CEO Daily

June 5, 2019, 10:26 AM UTC

Good morning.

We write a lot in CEO Daily about the challenge of retraining employees to handle rapid technological change. But there’s been less focus on the need to retrain the C-Suite. That’s the topic of an Accenture study out this morning, based on in-depth interviews with 200 top executives.

The surprising conclusion: 89% of C-Suiters were educated in business, finance, science or technology, and have well-honed, left-brain analytical skills. But where a majority (65%) admit weakness is in right-brain skills—creativity, empathy, intuition, openness to the external environment. Successfully managing change, the study argues, requires a “whole brain” approach, which in turn requires reshaping and retraining top executive leadership. There’s also a lesson there for business schools.

Meanwhile, Fed Chief Jerome Powell got markets excited yesterday by acknowledging renewed recession fears—driven in part by trade tensions—and saying the Fed “will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” The Dow rose 400 points. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers also sees recession risks rising. And so do many other economists.

I’m in Paris, which is hosting the Fortune Global Forum in November. It’s invitation-only, but CEO Daily readers can get special consideration by applying here—or sending me a note.

More news below.

Alan Murray

Top News

Mexican Tariffs

President Trump is heading for a rare showdown with Republican senators over his planned tariffs against Mexican imports. Ted Cruz: "I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment to securing the border, but there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes." Trump said senators would be "foolish" to try stopping him. Guardian

Trump vs NHS

The president yesterday said the U.K.'s beloved, free-to-use National Health Service would have to be "on the table" in trade talks between the countries, which can take place one Brexit fully takes effect. Trump's words sparked furious pushback from politicians across the spectrum, who maintained the NHS is "not for sale," and he later walked back his comments in a TV interview. Fortune

Chip Stocks

The share prices of U.S. semiconductor firms have taken a beating thanks to the U.S.'s blacklisting of Huawei. Companies such as Qorvo, Skyworks and Lumentum have explicitly downgraded their revenue forecasts, and semiconductor-tracking ETFs have performed even worse than the Nasdaq Composite in the last month. CNBC

BMW and Jaguar

Germany's BMW and the U.K.'s Jaguar Land Rover have struck a deal that will see them jointly develop key components for electric cars, such as motors, transmissions and power electronics. Going electric is an expensive business, and automakers are having to collaborate in order to keep costs down. Reuters

Around the Water Cooler

Woodford Equity

The prominent British fund manager Neil Woodford has said he is "extremely sorry" he suspended trading in his Woodford Equity Income Fund yesterday, but he had to do so to "protect investors' interests." Investors had been rushing to pull their money out of the poorly performing fund, withdrawing around $712 million in the last four weeks. BBC

Italian Currency

The Italian parliament last week endorsed the idea of introducing a new domestic sort-of-currency with which to pay off the country's debts, and possibly pull Italy out of the Eurozone. Citizens would also be able to use the new "mini-bills of Treasury" to pay their taxes. As this Financial Times explainer notes, the idea is still relatively light on details, but worth paying attention to. FT

Tech vs Democracy

A host of EU lawmakers, academics and civil society defenders—plus George W. Bush's old homeland security and national intelligence chiefs—have called on the EU top brass to initiate a parliamentary inquiry into the impact on democracy and elections of companies such as Facebook. Particularly Facebook, in fact: they complain that it didn't keep its promise to stop people in one country buying ads to influence elections in other countries. Marietje Schaake

Climate Activism

The U.K.'s fossil fuel industry body has told prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg that it is "listening, because we want the world to be a better place too." The 16-year-old Swede has been spearheading massive school strikes across Europe, in protest at perceived inaction over the deteriorating global climate. "While we believe that our industry's global contribution has improved the lives of billions of people, we are clear that climate change is a real and present danger that we must deal with together," said Oil and Gas U.K. CEO Deirdre Michie. BBC

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.