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Today is the day Fortune releases its annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. It’s our most popular list, in part because job seekers use it vigorously. But increasingly, I believe the list also has become a critical measure of the underlying health of companies.
That’s because ranking high on this list isn’t just a function of generous pay, benefits and perks—although those certainly help, as Ultimate Software (#2) demonstrates. It’s also a measure of how engaged a company’s workers are, how appreciated they feel, how aligned they are with a company’s purpose, and how satisfied they are with its pursuit of that purpose. At a time when human capital is the most important asset companies have, measuring that capital—which is what the 100 Best Companies methodology requires—may be the best proxy for determining long-term health.
So who ended up on top? Once again, it wasn’t a tech company—although Cisco (#4), Workday (#5) and Salesforce (#6), as well as Ultimate, all ended up in the top 10. Instead, top of the list for a second year in a row goes to Hilton—known not for nap pods, foosball tables and free gourmet food, but rather for its commitment to the premise that if it treats its workers well, they will treat customers well. Worth noting another hospitality company—Kimpton—also made the top 10, and Hyatt (#28), Marriott (#38) and Four Seasons (#100) made the cut as well.
You can find the entire list here.
And an important footnote. Because the methodology behind this list, which is managed by our partners at Great Place to Work, is so intensive, we can only administer it to companies that choose to apply. But we strongly recommend every company do so. Even if you don’t make the list, the process provides an important window into your company’s culture. You can apply for next year here.
Jeff Bezos isn't just trying to get us off Earth—now he's also setting up a global initiative to save our planet, funded with $10 billion of his money "to start." It's the Amazon CEO's biggest philanthropic move by far. Bezos: "We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals." Instagram
Asian and European markets fell after Apple warned Covid-19 would hit its revenues by hitting both production and sales in China. Apple is the first major U.S. firm to acknowledge the coronavirus's effect on its bottom line. It's not clear how big the hit will be, but Apple is no longer anticipating revenues of up to $67 billion this quarter. Fortune
HSBC's annual profits fell by a third last year, and it has revealed plans to cut around 15% of its global workforce—that's 35,000 jobs to be cut; way more than the 10,000 analysts were expecting. The bank also warned about the coronavirus' impact on its profits this year. Its share price consequently fell by over 5%. Bloomberg
Asset manager Legg Mason, the future of which has been uncertain for almost a year, may be bought by rival Franklin Resources. According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal could be announced as soon as today, though the likely price is not clear. WSJ
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke to Fortune's Andrew Nusca about (among other issues) how the tech industry can win back public trust. Nadella: "As technology providers, we are the first responders. We have to build the core infrastructure, and even the engineering processes, to ensure that there is more trust in technology." And on tech regulation: "We can’t wait for [regulators]—so the question is, How do we regulate ourselves?" Fortune
So, how did Mark Zuckerberg fare with his attempt to lobby the EU's top brass on issues around tech regulation? As always, not very well. The Facebook CEO reheated his "we welcome regulation" pitch (see this FT op-ed) to little effect. EU fundamental rights chief Věra Jourová: "Facebook cannot push away all the responsibility. Even if we come with regulation, they will never solve all the problems…It will not be up to governments or regulators to ensure that Facebook wants to be a force of good or bad." Politico
The BBC has an epic piece on Amazon's data-fueled rise, and the competition investigations and privacy concerns that its approach has now sparked. As EU digital policy and competition chief Margrethe Vestager puts it: "We would never accept in a football match that one team was also judging the game. Amazon gets the details of all the retailers and all the shopping that takes place. What you look at, what you look at but don’t buy, what you look at next, how you pay, how you prefer your shipping. All of that rich data." BBC
Alstom investors don't seem to like the French company's deal to buy the rail division of Canada's Bombardier, most likely because of the regulatory scrutiny it will bring—the European Commission nixed a merger between Alstom and Siemens. French and German unions seem cautious about the new deal. Reuters
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.