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AT&T Business CEO Anne Chow: ‘Seek and foster meaningful relationships’

April 16, 2021, 10:03 AM UTC

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Good morning.

The most exciting thing Fortune did during the pandemic year was launch Fortune Connect, a platform for the next generation of business leadership. Yesterday, several hundred Connect Fellows gathered virtually for their quarterly summit, and I had the opportunity to moderate conversations between them and two exceptional CEOs, Anne Chow of AT&T Business and Mark Hoplamazian of Hyatt. A couple of excerpts: 

“Life is about relationships, okay? Life is about people. Every business, every organization is a people organization. So my advice to all of you is to embrace that fact…Your mission, your objective is to seek and foster meaningful relationships.”
—Anne Chow

“The rumors of the death or demise of business travel is greatly exaggerated. I think the fact is that the value of human connection and the fulfillment of human connection is absolutely clear. The pent-up demand is massive. We already see corporations coming to us, desperate to figure out a way to create convenings.”
—Mark Hoplamazian

Separately, the surge in corporate commitments to address climate change continues. Nestlé yesterday unveiled a new set of initiatives at its annual meeting to spend $3.5 billion over the next five years as part of a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company’s shareholders approved the ambitious net zero plan.

In his final letter to shareholders as CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos also made a strong statement on why business should pursue climate action.

“Smart action on climate change … will make our economy more efficient, help drive technological change, and reduce risks. Combined, these can lead to more and better jobs, healthier and happier children, more productive workers, and a more prosperous future. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It won’t be. The coming decade will be decisive. The economy in 2030 will need to be vastly different from what it is today, and Amazon plans to be at the heart of the change.”

More news below. And check out our advice on the best investments to take advantage of the tectonic technology shifts expected in the next few decades. That’s part of our quarterly investment guide, available only to subscribers here.

Alan Murray

Correction, April 16, 2021: A previous version of this newsletter essay misspelled the first name of the CEO of AT&T Business in one instance.


Chinese economy

China's economic recovery from COVID is looking pretty solid, with Q1 seeing an 18.3% year-on-year rise. That's a record growth rate, though economists were expecting a little more. As Fortune's Grady McGregor notes, quarter-on-quarter growth was only 0.6%, whereas the growth from Q3 to Q4 2020 was 2.6%. Fortune

Facebook action

Digital Rights Ireland, a privacy-focused non-profit, is organizing a mass lawsuit against Facebook over the company's response to the leakage of 533 million users' personal data. Ireland doesn't generally allow class action suits, but the EU's GDPR privacy law does allow organizations to launch mass actions on behalf of people who opt in. DRI reckons this is a more effective way to get Facebook in line than waiting for the Irish privacy watchdog to fine the firm. RTÉ

Google ruling

Google misled Android users into thinking their location data was safe from the company if they turned off the "location history" setting, Australia's federal court has found. Google says it may appeal, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which launched legal proceedings in 2019, is talking about unspecified fines. CNBC

Wirecard scraps

The final stage of Wirecard's dismantling is underway, with administrators striking a deal to sell the collapsed payment firm's Asian business operations to another payments firm backed by Amsterdam VC fund Finch Capital. Wirecard's Indonesian unit has already been sold off, as have operations in the Americas, the U.K. and continental Europe. Financial Times


U.K. cronyism

Revelations in recent weeks—starting with those over former prime minister David Cameron's lobbying on behalf of the collapsed Greensill Capital—have created what is now a spiraling government cronyism scandal in the U.K. The latest episode involves Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who it turns out owns shares in a company that won contracts from the Welsh division of the National Health Service. BBC

VF'd Supreme

Fortune's Phil Wahba takes a look at VF's takeover of Supreme, which has caused consternation among some fans of the streetwear firm: "If VF has one message for the Supreme faithful, it's this: Don't worry, you won’t even notice we're here…Indeed, VF's so-low-key-it's-invisible, behind-the-scenes corporate competence has been the key to its steady recent success." Fortune

Making vaccines

Much attention is paid to Pfizers and Modernas of this world, but what about the contract manufacturers whose names are less known, but whose efforts are crucial to vaccinating the world? As Fortune's Sy Mukherjee explains, "the success of contracting firms going forward when it comes to COVID will depend on their experience and existing capabilities—and willingness to learn new tricks." Fortune

Crypto chatter

The WallStreetBets subreddit is to allow discussions of Bitcoin, Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies—in a dedicated, daily thread; the rest of the space is still kept crypto-free. Fortune  

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.