Every Company Is a Digital Company

January 13, 2020, 12:30 PM UTC

Good morning.

I had a long conversation Friday with Julie Sweet, who six months ago took the top job at consulting firm Accenture. This morning, she is unveiling her growth plan for the new decade. Accenture takes growth seriously: in the last decade, the company’s market value grew five-fold, largely by helping corporations meet the challenges of a digital age.

So what’s next? “2020 is a new inflection point,” Sweet told me. “We are now beginning the decade of delivery on the promise of digital and technology.”

Three things, in particular, struck me about Sweet’s plans:

First, digital goes away as a separate business unit. That’s because digital is now a capability that underlies virtually every business. “Digital is technology,” she says, “but digital is also transformation of how you work, how you make decisions, how you interact with customers.” As a result, you need “digital everywhere.”

Second, the company is making organizational changes to improve cross-industry learning. “Digital disruption has blurred industry lines. You have industry convergence. You have cross-industry platforms. And you have CEOs who are benchmarking the best, regardless of industry.” That requires a different approach.

And third, “shared success” will be a guiding principle for everything Accenture does—shared success with employees, with clients, with their shareholders and with their stakeholders.

When I asked her why this new emphasis on shared success, she gave me three reasons. (Apologies for delivering everything in triplicate this morning.)

First: “Companies, communities and governments have to be innovators, and they cannot do it alone . . . Innovation by definition cannot be only internal.”

Second: “The impact of digital and technology without a shared success mindset can be very detrimental to communities around the world,” in terms of its impact on climate, jobs, etc.

And third: “Young people today want to have both value and values…To get the best people, you have to have this mindset of shared success.”

More news below.

Alan Murray


(Another) Big Day for Boeing 

Today is the first day on the job for Boeing's new CEO, David Calhoun, who faces an epic to-do-list, including crisis management, after letters emerged last week showing employees appearing to demean regulators and complain about a lack of concern for safety in the development of the 737 Max. "Calhoun is heir to one of the biggest messes, not only in the company's history, but in modern business," writes Erik Sherman. Fortune 

Iran Crash Fallout 

Public anger is growing in Iran, after the regime admitted last week that it had accidentally shot down a passenger jet with a missile at the height of U.S.-Iran tensions. That has prompted rare public appeals for forgiveness, but also a crackdown by security forces on protests that have erupted once again. New York Times

A Renault-Nissan Split?

As Carlos Ghosn continues to generate drama from Lebanon, the executive's former companies may be on the verge of a break-up. Senior executives at Nissan, the Japanese carmaker, have reportedly been making secret contingency plans for a split from their French counterpart, Renault. FT

Ford Faces Trouble

There's more trouble ahead for Ford in China, the company said Monday, after its sales in China fell in 2019 for the third year in a row. They dropped 26.1% from the previous year, slumping to less than half of what Ford sold at its peak in 2016. It isn't just Ford: China's car market has slowed sharply in the last year and a half, but American brands have been hit particularly hard. WSJ


A Volcano Threatens Manila 

An eruption from the Philippines's Taal volcano, about 40 miles south of Manila, as well as scores of earthquakes that could signal “further eruptive activity,” have led thousands of people to flee their homes in the region. Manila's airport briefly suspended flights.  Bloomberg

Help the North, Hurt London?  

Political and business leaders are complaining to the U.K. government that a plan to narrow the gap between London and the rest of the country—to "level up" opportunity and economy performance across the U.K.—could come at the capital's expense. "The way to make the country more equal should not be to make London poorer," the city's mayor said. FT

The Price of Life on the Run    

Carlos Ghosn's fortune has dropped about 40% since he was arrested, with forfeited bail money and a pricy escape both adding up. Now, Fortune's Shawn Tully explores his next steps, and his legal options, including whether he can use human rights arguments to try to defend himself from an Interpol "Red Notice." Fortune

Fire on the Farm 

As Australia continues to battle fires that have destroyed an area roughly 10 times the size destroyed in California in 2018, the economic cost appears to be growing: some experts have estimated it could take 0.4% off economic growth in this quarter, with hundreds of millions in insurance costs. For farmers, the fires have been particularly devastating. WSJ

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Katherine Dunn. 

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet