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Forget talk of a ‘soft landing.’ The U.S. is headed for recession next year, market watchers say

April 7, 2022, 9:13 AM UTC

Good morning.

Add billionaire investor Leon Cooperman to the list of folks who think a recession in 2023 is now likely. “I think the Fed has totally missed it,” Cooperman said yesterday. “I would think the price of oil or the Fed would push us into a recession in 2023. It’s not written in stone, but that would be my guess.” 

To those who still think the Fed can engineer a “soft landing,” former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers had this to say:

“There is a first time for everything, but over the past 75 years, every time inflation has exceeded 4% and unemployment has gone below 5%, the U.S. economy has gone into a recession within two years. Today, inflation is north of 6%, and unemployment is south of 4%.”

Meanwhile, serial CEO Margo Georgiadis—who held the top jobs at Mattel and—is taking another turn. She is joining Flagship Pioneering, which spawned vaccine maker Moderna, as CEO of a new Flagship biotech firm that she said is still “in stealth mode.” She’ll also be a Flagship partner. 

(You can learn more about Flagship’s unique approach to building new businesses by listening to founder Noubar Afeyan on this episode of Leadership Next.)

I talked with Georgiadis yesterday, and asked her how this move into life sciences fit with her former gigs making toys and exploring genealogies:

“If you look at every place I’ve gone, it’s always about using data and technology to redefine ecosystems to make life better…When you think about the possibilities of this decade, the intersection of technology and biology are giving us unprecedented opportunities to rethink what is possible in life sciences, and also in the delivery of care.”

Stay tuned for more. Also this morning, kudos to my alma mater UNC, which may have lost the NCAA final Monday night, but won the top spot on Fortune’s new ranking of the best online MBA programs, out this morning…More details here. And a look at our methodology here.

I promise, my finger was not on the scale.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Tightening, tightening, tightening 

Investors are looking at the end of an era—that is, the Federal Reserve’s shift from a loose and easy policy (quantitative easing, or QE) to hawkish and tight (QT, or quantitative tightening). The Fed minutes yesterday revealed the central bank will begin dumping its mammoth holding of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities onto the market as soon as next month. While the pace of balance-sheet reduction is more timid than expected, stocks sold off yesterday, as did bonds. Add it all up, and it’s bad news for, among others, house hunters. Fortune

Big Oil gets grilled on the Hill

CEOs from Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Devon Energy, and Pioneer Natural Resources, among others, testified yesterday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee—and the whole scene went down as you’d expect. Looking to score points with cash-strapped constituents back home, House Democrats asserted energy companies are gouging consumers. How else to explain four bucks a gallon at the pump, they suggested? (Yeesh, come to Italy. Then you’d see really nutty gas prices.) The energy execs fired back that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and restrictive energy policy are to blame for the price at the pump. They also cautioned that it takes up to two years before their latest investments to boost output will impact the market. Wall Street Journal

Mister Coffee

Howard Schultz may have the interim asterisk next to his CEO title these days, but that hasn’t stopped him from setting down a big agenda for restoring the fortunes of Starbucks. Not only is he fighting slowing growth and a stock that’s fallen nearly 29% this year, but also growing unionization efforts. He’s got a few ideas to stop the slide, including entering the NFT space. Bonus read: The uncertain future of Starbucks. Fortune

Zuck Bucks

In-game currencies have proved to be a huge revenue driver for gaming platforms like Fortnite and Roblox. Why not devise something like that for a social network that’s falling out of favor with (young) users? That’s the general conceit behind Meta’s plan, as reported first in the Financial Times, to introduce a kind of virtual currency that users can spend only on its platform. Fortune


Back to work—but how?

It’s the great management conundrum of our time: How do you get the work-from-home brigade back in the office without getting them so peeved that they up and quit? Fortune’s Geoff Colvin assesses how five companies—Twitter, Netflix, General Motors, REI, and Citigroup—stand on the merits of remote work, hybrid, back-to-work orders, and what’s to be learned from the differing views. Bonus read: Four keys to getting workers to return to the office after COVID. Fortune

The good news/bad news on a second booster shot

Researchers have crunched the data on Israel’s decision to administer millions of doses of a second COVID booster—or, if you’re counting, jab No. 4—and found some so-so results. Yes, the additional booster—in this case a Pfizer-BioNTech jab—confers further immunity, but it wears off in a matter of weeks, a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine this week found. Fortune

Sanctioning the boss

The latest round of Moscow sanctions (the EU still hasn’t finalized theirs, but the U.K. and U.S. are ready to proceed) will hit the Russian C-suite hard. The big names on the list include banker Herman Gref (Sberbank), aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, e-commerce chief Alexander Shulgin (Ozon), and mining tycoon Said Kerimov (Polyus Gold). They would join Putin’s daughters, Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova. Financial Times

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Bernhard Warner.

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