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The pandemic shut down Fortune’s in-person conference business, but it seems to have intensified demand for it. The acceleration of digitization, the re-thinking of offices, the increasing involvement of stakeholders on issues like safety and diversity, have created a greater need and desire by executives to convene and share ideas and best practices.
That’s why Fortune has planned a full fall of virtual events. We’ve been building our virtual muscles since March, and have been pleased with the free exchange of ideas we’ve witnessed on our conference platforms. While there is certainly something to be said for rubbing shoulders on the banks of Lake Como, in the shadow of Aspen mountain, or on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, trading information via well-planned video conversations has proven surprisingly productive—and saved our attendees a ton of time, money and jet fuel!
First up later this month—September 29 to October 1—is the Most Powerful Women Summit, which has become the premier gathering of top female executives. This year’s attendees include CEOs Mary Barra of GM, Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Corie Barry of Best Buy, Gail Boudreaux of Anthem, Michelle Gass of Kohl’s, Margo Georgiadis of Ancestry, Mindy Grossman of WW, Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments, Mary Dillon of Ulta, as well as Home Depot’s Anne-Marie Campbell. We’ll also hold Most Powerful Women Next Gen two weeks later, October 13 and 14; details to come.
Then later in October—on the 26th and 27th—the Fortune CEO Initiative and the Fortune Global Forum will hold a joint meeting with a collection of CEOs that includes Brian Cornell of Target, Ajay Banga of MasterCard, Albert Bourla of Pfizer, Roberto Marques of Natura, Beth Ford of Land O’ Lakes, James Mwangi of Equity Group Holdings, Anthony Tan of Grab, Lawrence Culp of GE, Guo Guangchang of Fosun Group, Greg Hayes of Raytheon, Diane Hoskins of Gensler, Enrique Lores of HP, Deanna Mulligan of Guardian Life, Arne Sorenson lof Marriott, Dan Schulman of PayPal, Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani, Ray Dalio of Bridgewater, and Yu Xuefeng of CanSino Biologics.
We will end the year December 1 and 2 with Brainstorm Tech. More on that program in the weeks ahead.
As always, these Fortune events are by invite only. But if you are interested in attending, you can find more information here—or shoot me a note directly. The future will be clearer for those who attend.
More news below.
Boeing just can't catch a break. Air-safety regulators are now probing quality-control lapses in the production of the 787 Dreamliner that may stretch back almost a decade, after Boeing notified them that some parts made at its South Carolina facilities—affecting the rear fuselage—failed to meet its own design and manufacturing standards. Wall Street Journal
The British low-cost airline EasyJet has cut its planned capacity for the fourth quarter due to U.K. curbs on international travel. The decision, and EasyJet's abandonment of its guidance for the current quarter, knocked the carrier's share price by as much as 8.2%. The British government has recently instated two-week quarantines for passengers arriving from hot-ticket destinations such as Crete and Santorini. Bloomberg
SoftBank's shares are falling again after yesterday's 7% plummet, which was down to concerns over the Japanese conglomerate's big, market-shifting bets on U.S. tech-related options. Last week the FT revealed SoftBank was the "Nasdaq whale" that had been stoking the now-uncertain tech rally. Saxo Bank strategist Peter Garnry: "Given SoftBank is back on the radar since its epic decline [during the coronavirus pandemic] in February and March, it is worth asking the question whether SoftBank Group is a black box and poses a systemic risk to the overall system." Financial Times
New research out of Hong Kong suggests that COVID-19 patients continue to have a prolonged viral infection in their guts after the respiratory infection has cleared, even if there are no gastrointestinal symptoms. Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said the finding "highlights the importance of long-term coronavirus and health surveillance and the threat of potential fecal-oral viral transmissions." Fortune
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
The European Commission has seen a minor reshuffle following the resignation of Phil Hogan—hit along with other senior Irish politicians by a golfing-related breach of coronavirus rules—as Ireland's member of the team. Hogan's trade brief has now gone to the Latvian commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, and the new Irish commissioner is Mairead McGuinness, who was a member of the European Parliament. McGuinness gets the financial services, financial stability and capital markets union portfolio, which until now was one of Dombrovskis's many areas of responsibility—and which ensures an Irish commissioner stays connected to the ongoing Brexit saga. RTE
There's a good chance that the next boss at the World Trade Organization will come from Africa (the outgoing director-general is Latin American, Europe has no candidate, and neither China nor the U.S. would abide the other getting the role.) Here's an interesting piece looking at the four African candidates, and asking whether the right person for the role would be a political big hitter or an expert insider. Politico
Far-left activists have been trashing branches of the South African drugstore chain Clicks, after it published a hair-care ad that identified Black women's hair as "dry, damaged, frizzy and dull," and white women's hair as "color treated, fine, flat or normal." Attacks by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party led Clicks to shutter its entire 880-store franchise yesterday, despite an apology from management. Daily Maverick
Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon and Motorola president Sergio Buniac argue in a piece for Fortune that the pandemic has made 5G more important, because "this shift in how consumers are working, socializing, and consuming products and services is forcing manufacturers to rethink how to solve one of today’s biggest consumer pain points: staying connected." Fortune
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.