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Quotes From the Most Powerful Women: CEO Daily

October 23, 2019, 10:31 AM UTC

Good morning.

Some quotes from Day 2 of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C.:

“Flying is the great equalizer.”  — Major Rachael Winiecki, the first female F-35 test pilot

“Extreme communication. You say something 75 times, and then you have to say it another 75 times.” AMD CEO Lisa Su, on how to execute a turnaround

Social purpose “is critical…You can’t go on campus and recruit without (it)—they want all the stats on how your are doing environmentally, ESG investments, they want to know about diversity. It’s table stakes.” — Deanna Mulligan, CEO, The Guardian Life Insurance Company

“Median farmer income is minus $1,500…. They have been living on their balance sheets… We are seeing devastation.” — Beth Ford, CEO, Land O’Lakes, on rural America

Spinning Old Navy out of Gap is like being “7 1/2 months pregnant with a 10-pound baby, and we’re ready to deliver” — Sonia Syngal, CEO of Old Navy

The most talked-about session of the day was with Kirstjen Nielsen, former Secretary of Homeland Security, who gave her first public interview since resigning from the job, and faced tough questioning on the separation of families at the border. Asking if she regretted it, Nielsen replied: “I don’t regret enforcing the law, because I took an oath to do it.”

By the way, Lisa Su, mentioned above, was one of only four women on the Harvard Business Review’s new list of the 100 best-performing CEOs, published yesterday. She came in at 26th. Also on the list was Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson, who ranked 37th, and who will be on the MPW stage today. Top of the HBR list this year was NVIDIA’s Jensen Huang.

You can read more from the MPW conference here. Other news below.

Alan Murray


SoftBank and WeWork

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann is set to enjoy a $1.7 billion windfall as SoftBank takes an 80% stake in the office-space firm. Neumann will however lose his board seat. WeWork opted for SoftBank's rescue offer over that of JPMorgan Chase. The deal values WeWork—which was given a notional $47 billion price tag at the time of SoftBank's last investment—at just $8 billion. Wall Street Journal

Nike CEO

Nike CEO Mark Parker is stepping aside, though he will remain chairman of the board. Parker, who has been CEO for 13 years and last year apologized for not taking workplace culture complaints seriously, will in January be succeeded by board member and former eBay CEO John Donahoe. Fortune

Brexit Delayed

The British Parliament yesterday voted to continue scrutinizing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal—which is further than his predecessor Theresa May ever got—but also voted against Johnson's accelerated, three-day timescale for doing so. That means there's no way the deal can pass by the end of this month. Now it's up to the other 27 EU countries to say how long an extension (if any) they are willing to grant the U.K. It seems likely that Johnson will now try to trigger a general election, rather than give Parliament time to examine the details of his deal. Bloomberg

Drug Pricing

The House Ways and Means Committee has green-lit Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill, which now stands a good chance of being passed by the Democrat-dominated House. Republicans say the bill will be killed in the Senate. Analysis from the Congressional Budget Office suggested the plan would save Medicare $345 billion over a decade, but also lead to 8-15 fewer new drugs hitting the market over that period. CNBC


Consumer Spending

Consumer spending is by far the primary driver of American GDP growth right now, which might set off alarm bells for those who remember the run-up to the Great Recession—except for the fact that today's consumer spending is much less based on debt, and people are also saving more. As Fortune's Geoff Colvin writes, "the great question for the U.S. and world economies is whether U.S. consumers’ mood will sour, and specifically what might spook them into pulling back." Fortune

Trade Adviser

White House trade advisor and G7 "sherpa" Kelly Ann Shaw is moving into the private sector after a decade in the federal government. Her departure removes one of the most senior women in President Trump's economic team—and a key advisor in the China trade talks. Reuters

Online Anonymity

There's a potential push against online anonymity looming in Germany, in the wake of the anti-Semitic Halle attack earlier this month. Austria might also try forcing online platform providers to register the real names and addresses of users—though that depends on which party Chancellor Sebastian Kurz manages to win over as a coalition partner. Fortune

Copyright Enforcement

The House has overwhelmingly approved a new law called the CASE Act that would make it easier for online content creators to claim damages for the infringement of their work. There's a $30,000 cap on claims, but digital rights activists warn the law could penalize regular Internet users who share memes. The Verge

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