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CEO confidence in the recovery is declining

October 16, 2020, 10:31 AM UTC

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Good morning.

CEO confidence about the recovery seems to have declined ever-so-slightly since June, according to a new poll conducted by Fortune Analytics, in collaboration with Deloitte. Of the CEOs surveyed, 47% said they expected revenues to be fully recovered by January 2021, down from 51% who said the same in June. And 35% don’t see revenues recovering until 2022, while 23% said they plan to reduce the size of their work force in the next 12 months.

But the picture is an uneven one and varies by company and industry. Forty percent of CEOs say their revenues have already recovered or never dropped, and 50% say their employment levels already have recovered or never dropped.

There is broader agreement as it relates to commercial real estate: 76% say they will need less office space than they had before the pandemic. And 28% said they’ll need a lot less office space.

The survey also found that 96% of CEOs say that diversity, equity and inclusion is a “strategic priority/goal for me as CEO,” and 81% say their “DEI efforts have significantly accelerated in the wake of the death of George Floyd and injustices toward other Black individuals.” You can receive the Fortune Analytics newsletter by subscribing to our premium plan.

More news below. And a correction from yesterday: There were 207 companies whose top executives signed the Business Roundtable statement on corporate purpose in the last year, and of those, 152 were included in Just Capital’s rankings of 1000 companies. All but 19 ranked in the top half of the rankings, reinforcing my point: By Just Capital’s metrics, the Business Roundtable signatories are like children of Lake Wobegon—nearly all above average.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Boeing 737 MAX

Good news for Boeing: Europe's aviation safety regulator EASA is set to green-light the 737 MAX's return to the skies, according to executive director Patrick Ky. Ky says his agency will likely issue a draft airworthiness directive next month, even though a software-based "synthetic sensor" EASA recommended will take up to two years for Boeing to implement. Bloomberg

Tax evasion

The largest-ever criminal tax case involving an individual has been launched in the U.S., with the target being Robert Brockman, CEO of automotive software firm Reynolds & Reynolds. Brockman has been charged with hiding around $2 billion in income, largely in the form of gains made through Vista Equity Partners, in which he is the sole investor. Wall Street Journal

Foxconn ambitions

Foxconn, manufacturer of iPhones and numerous other gadgets, wants to become the "Android of electric vehicles"—meaning it's come up with a platform upon which companies can design and market electric cars that would be made by, you guessed it, Foxconn. The analogy doesn't quite scan (Google doesn’t make phones for other companies) but it's based on the idea that, like Android, Foxconn's platform will be "open" and allow a high degree of customization. CNBC

Remdesivir disappointment

Remdesivir, the antiviral drug that was developed for diseases such as Ebola and hepatitis C, unfortunately does not cut COVID-19 deaths at all. That's the conclusion of a large, international, WHO-sponsored study (which, it should be noted, has not yet been peer-reviewed.) Remdesivir is the only antiviral to have been authorized for use against COVID-19 in the U.S., on the basis that it modestly reduces inpatient stays for severely ill patients. New York Times

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

Instagram shilling

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority has forced Facebook's Instagram to crack down on the phenomenon of influencers getting paid to market stuff in their posts and not disclosing that fact. As part of the crackdown, businesses will be given tools to monitor when their products and services are being promoted on Instagram, so they can't plead ignorance when disclosure rules are being flouted. Fortune

Fukushima water

Japanese authorities are reportedly planning to release into the sea over a million tons of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was struck by a tsunami in 2011. Local fishermen are not thrilled, as they have spent years trying to rebuild trust in their catch. If the release goes ahead, it will start in 2022 at the earliest and take decades to complete. Guardian

Town halls

Last night President Trump and Joe Biden held separate televised town hall events, in lieu of a second debate that was cancelled due to Trump's infection with the novel coronavirus. Trump's performance was particularly notable for three things: his long-awaited denunciation of white supremacy, his refusal to denounce the QAnon conspiracy theory about Trump leading a revolt against Democratic cannibal pedophiles—he said adherents "may be right" in their beliefs—and his assertion that he would accept a peaceful transfer of power in the event of a Biden win. Fortune

JPMorgan commitment

JPMorgan Chase co-president Daniel Pinto has written a piece for Fortune about how the bank plans to work towards meeting the Paris Agreement climate accords. He says it will achieve this in part by monitoring the “carbon intensity” of the companies it finances in the energy and automotive sectors: “We do business with most Fortune 500 companies, including many in the energy sector, so we believe our capacity to make an impact is considerable." Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.