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What a year it was for Leadership Next

December 15, 2020, 10:39 AM UTC

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Good morning.

When we started Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast back in February, I had no idea we would be launching into the most tumultuous year in modern business history. The drama unfolded each week before our eyes—or rather, ears.  

Ellen McGirt and I talked with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, in the midst of his journey from travel lockdown to $10 billion IPO billionaire; with Flagship Pioneering founder Noubar Afeyan, whose company Moderna was on its way to creating one of the first vaccines for COVID 19 at record-breaking speed; with GM CEO Mary Barra about her powerful and personal response to the George Floyd killing; with tech CEOs like Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Workday’s Aneel Bhusri, HP’s Enrique Lores, and Cisco’s Chuck Robbins who saw their businesses soar; retail CEOs like Levi’s Chip Bergh, Kohl’s Michelle Gass and Lowe’s Marvin Ellison who were forced to make dramatic moves to digital channels; and hospitality CEOs like Hyatt’s Mark Hoplamazian, who saw his business largely disappear overnight. If you want to understand the profound impact 2020 had on business, I suggest you go back and listen to all 40 episodes.

Yea, okay, I know—nobody has a spare 20 hours. So here’s a short cut: Ellen and I made a summary, with clips from some of our favorites, and with help from our favorite sponsor—Deloitte CEO Joe Ucuzoglu. You can hear it this morning, on Apple or Spotify.

We will be back with a new season in the new year. News below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Boeing inspections

Boeing has discovered more manufacturing defects in its new 787 Dreamliners and is expanding inspections of the production lines. The company and U.S. regulators agree that the newly discovered problem—regarding "skin flatness tolerances"—isn't an immediate threat to safety, but the expanded inspections explain why Dreamliners aren't being delivered right now. Wall Street Journal

Russian hack

The (suspected) Russian hacking of U.S. Treasury computers hit other departments too, according to Trump administration officials who said the State Department, Homeland Security and parts of the Pentagon were also targeted. The attack was apparently highly sophisticated, compromising the software of IT administration firm SolarWinds. It looks like a lot of data may have been stolen. New York Times

Digital regulation

The European Commission is today introducing much-anticipated legislation known as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, which will have a huge impact on Big Tech. The DSA will update two-decades-old legislation governing online platform operators' responsibilities, while the DMA will update competition law to make it easier to detect and tackle market abuses. Meanwhile, the U.K. also unveiled its DSA analog today, threatening fines of up to 10% of global revenue. Euractiv

Ellison out

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has become the latest Silicon Valley mogul to leave California. He's moved his primary residence to Hawaii, he announced Monday following Oracle's announcement that it too is leaving Redwood City, for Austin, Texas. Fortune

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

Biden time 1

Fortune had a chat with former White House insiders Peggy Hamburg, Laurie Zephyrin, Valerie Jarrett, Maria Contreras-Sweet, and Frances Townsend, about the big challenges sitting in President-elect Biden's inbox. Covering issues such as vaccine skepticism and international ties, here are their thoughts. Fortune

Biden time 2

David Topel, who authored a book on Biden's 1972 Senate campaign, writes for Fortune about the president-elect's chances for reuniting the nation. He's optimistic: "Ideally suited to calm a climate of anarchy, Biden's values include an insistence on civility; an instinct for reaching across the aisle, often creating solutions at times when impasse seems inevitable; and a belief in giving voice to the next generation, evidenced by a lifetime of dedication to youth empowerment." Fortune

Biden time 3

Russian President Vladimir Putin has finally congratulated Biden, following the U.S. Electoral College's affirmation of the win yesterday. "Russian-American cooperation, based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, would meet the interests of both nations and the entire international community," his office said in a statement. CNN

Fitness+ review

Fortune's Aaron Pressman takes a spin through Apple's new workout video service, Fitness+, which requires an Apple Watch plus some other i-device that can show videos. He writes: "The Apple Fitness + seems best suited for beginners and intermediate exercisers, and not more advanced users. Videos are classified only as 'absolute beginner' or just typical. There are no double black diamond workouts here." Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.