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CFO confidence is soaring

March 18, 2021, 10:17 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Deloitte’s quarterly CFO Signals survey is out this morning, and while financial chiefs are usually a dour lot, their confidence currently is soaring.  Some 67% report rising optimism about their company’s financial prospects—the highest in a decade.

Some other interesting takeaways:

—Fewer than one-fifth (18%) of CFOs say they plan to require employees to get a vaccine before returning to on-site work. 41% say they won’t require vaccinations. 35% are still undecided.

—Business travel will not be returning to pre-pandemic levels, if these folks have their way. More than a third said they expect post-COVID travel expenditures to remain at 60% or lower than pre-COVID spending.

—Only 31% expect their finance staff to work on site four days or more a week, post-pandemic. 45% expect the on-site work week to be three days.

By the way, if you are a CFO—or want to be—you should sign up for Fortune’s newest newsletter, the CFO Daily, which will launch at the end of the month. The job of the CFO is changing, and we will track how and why.

More news below.

Alan Murray


U.K. vaccines

It's not just the EU facing a vaccine supply crunch; the U.K., which has been doing very well on the vaccine front thus far, has frozen new vaccination appointments for April, due to supply constraints that government sources are blaming on (who else?) AstraZeneca. As in the EU, the problem appears to be AZ's global supply chain, which means India, which suggests yet more negative knock-on effects from the U.S.'s refusal to export critical raw materials that are needed to make vaccines. Anyhow, most Brits under 50 now won't be getting their jabs until May at the earliest. Financial Times

Russia vs Twitter

Twitter, which faces a ban in Russia over its refusal to delete illegal content, has now been ordered to take down the account of an opposition news outlet. Apparently MBKh Media, which was founded by exiled oligarch and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has been sharing information from "undesirable" groups. Guardian

Greensill fallout

The collapse of Greensill Capital continues to reverberate. Credit Suisse, which exposed its fund investors to Greensill's loans, is now being threatened with litigation and has warned that the fallout could prove "material" for its operating results. Credit Suisse will now reorganize its asset management business and might also claw back some bonuses. Financial Times

Chinese chips

China's biggest chipmaker, SMIC, is building a $2.35 billion factory in Shenzhen. The plant's construction will be partly funded with local government money. SMIC is crucial to China's dream of semiconductor self-sufficiency. CNBC


Boeing hurdles

The FAA is keeping a much closer eye on Boeing these days. The planemaker has for a long time been allowed to perform its own final safety signoffs on new aircraft, on the regulator's behalf, but the FAA will now send its own inspectors to examine four Dreamliners that Boeing wants to belatedly deliver to its customers, following various quality issues. Wall Street Journal

Biden and Xi

If the U.S.-China talks that begin today in Alaska prove successful, Beijing would reportedly like to arrange a high-level chat between Presidents Biden and Xi. The envisioned meeting would take place on Earth Day (April 22) to demonstrate both administrations' focus on climate change—Biden is already planning to gather global leaders to discuss the issue on that day. Bloomberg

Privacy fight

Europe's privacy regulators are at war over the Irish watchdog's failure to crack down on Big Tech over data-protection violations. The companies have their European headquarters in Ireland, where the under-resourced Data Protection Commission is yet to issue any significant fines beyond a $537,000 penalty levied on Twitter over a data breach. German officials are now openly criticizing the DPC. Financial Times

Tanzanian president

Tanzania is getting its first female president, current VP Samia Suluhu Hassan, following the death of President John Magufuli, who died of heart complications that were very likely connected with COVID-19. Magufuli, known as "Bulldozer", was one of the world's great COVID denialist leaders, only admitting last month that the country has cases—he previously claimed Tanzania had defeated the disease through prayer. Nairobi News

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.