CEO Daily readers know that I generally steer clear of politics in this newsletter. But I’ve heard from a number of business leaders who think it will be a shame if Congress sends President Biden to Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference without a legislative win. This is a rare opportunity for global leaders to begin to craft a common approach to the climate challenge. Unless he gets at least some of his climate agenda passed, however, President Biden President will head into those negotiations with diminished credibility.
At a Fortune webcast on the Glasgow summit with BCG Global Chair Rich Lesser yesterday, one reader asked whether it was disingenuous of business leaders to push for climate action even as they lobby against other provisions in the Build Back Better bill—particularly the $3.5 trillion price tag and the heavy corporate tax burden. The question made me wonder: When did politics become an all-or-nothing game? Like many business leaders, I’m sympathetic to many changes moderate Democrats are urging. But compromise seems to be a lost art in Washington.
Separately, Fortune’s CFO Collaborative met yesterday, and heard from Accenture CEO Julie Sweet and CFO KC McClure about how they manage environmental, social and governance metrics. In the breakout groups that followed, many of the CFOs said ESG is also critical to their efforts to attract and retain workers. These are CFOs, mind you, who must manage the company’s financial metrics. But clearly today, they are being asked to cultivate a much broader set of stakeholder measures.
Separately, Fortune’s list of the Fastest Growing Companies is out today. Finance firms lead the way, accounting for a third of the hundred. Brooklyn-based Etsy, which has given creators a place to sell their wares, clocked in at number 5. We interviewed Etsy CEO Josh Silverman earlier this year on Leadership Next. It’s worth listening to how the pandemic has fueled his company’s extraordinary growth.
More news below.
U.S. President Joe Biden's upcoming spending package will probably not give Americans access to paid family and medical leave, because of opposition from Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Meanwhile, Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale says any prominent men who take six months off to spend time with their newborn are a "loser". Fortune
Activist investors want Shell to split in two, to separate its cash-flow-generating fossil-fuel business from its investment-hungry renewables side. Doing so would make life simpler for Shell, as different investors are demanding different things from it, says Daniel Loeb's Third Point. Financial Times
Nvidia and ARM
The European Commission has launched a formal investigation into Nvidia's proposed takeover of the British, SoftBank-owned chip-architecture giant Arm. Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager: "Whilst Arm and Nvidia do not directly compete, Arm’s IP is an important input in products competing with those of Nvidia, for example in datacentres, automotive and in internet of things. Our analysis shows that the acquisition of Arm by Nvidia could lead to restricted or degraded access to Arm’s IP, with distortive effects in many markets where semiconductors are used." CNBC
The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly looking into whether Facebook's recent scandal-fest—specifically about the internal research that the company never publicized, regarding harm to users—amounts to anything that could have violated the company's 2019 privacy settlement. A deceptive-practices case would be hard to push through, though. Wall Street Journal
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Experts say a record-breaking $200 million award to a Deutsche Bank whistleblower could spark a fresh wave of whistleblower complaints. Financial Times
Some immunocompromised people in the U.S. can now get a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control has advised. However, it's only supposed to come six months after the third shot, and those have only been green-lit for a couple months now. Fortune
An unusual spike over the space of just a few hours pushed Singapore's COVID-19 daily case count above 5,000. In recent days the more normal tally has been just north of 3,000. Authorities are investigating what's going on. Fortune
The dog-themed cryptocurrency Shiba Inu is on a tear, up 777% in the last 30 days. Here's an explainer of what SHIB is, and indeed what Shiba Inus are. Fortune
This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.
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