‘I’m an immigrant, and definitely know what it is to be welcomed with open arms’—CEOs step up to help Ukraine refugees

April 12, 2022, 10:30 AM UTC

Good morning.

U.S. companies are stepping up to provide resettlement aid as well as training and jobs for Ukrainian refugees. Accenture CEO Julie Sweet and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai will announce this morning that they’ve formed a “CEO Council” that has pledged more than $75 million in new financial and in-kind donations, and whose members will work to create jobs for many of the refugees. 

Welcome.US CEO Council, as the initiative is called, currently counts 35 chief executives who’ve signed on as inaugural members. In addition to cochairs Sweet and Pichai, the council includes Tim Cook of Apple, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, and Brian Chesky of Airbnb. The full details are here.

I spoke with Pichai and Sweet on Friday, and both were passionate about the need for the private sector to help the estimated 4.2 million Ukrainians who have fled the country since the start of the war. (The U.S. has agreed so far to accept 100,000.)

“Accenture has been involved with refugees for over a decade,” Sweet said. “We have a very large veterans’ community. And when Kabul fell, we said we wanted to focus on refugees and really honor and help our veterans.” Sweet’s family, at the urging of her daughter, has personally resettled a number of Afghan refugees, and the company has hired 10 of them, with more in the pipeline. Helping Ukrainian refugees was a natural extension of those efforts, she said: “This is both very personal, and at the very core of Accenture.”

Pichai noted, “Google has had, as part of our values, long-standing support for immigrants, dreamers, and refugees in the U.S. Our cofounder Sergey [Brin] came as a refugee to the United States. I’m an immigrant here, and definitely know what it is to be welcomed with open arms by a new place.” 

Pichai was in Warsaw last month, and found that his company had “opened up a portion of our office space to NGOs assisting Ukrainian refugees. And I was struck by how, almost to the person, every Google employee I met there was hosting one, two, and in some cases three refugee families in their homes.”

Other companies and organizations whose CEOs have joined the effort include Adobe, Advent International, AIG, Comcast, Delta, Gap, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, HP, Lyft, ManpowerGroup, Marriott International, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, American Express, Blackstone, the Business Roundtable, Chobani, Pfizer, Snap, Starbucks, TelevisaUnivision, T-Mobile, TripAdvisor, Uber, United Airlines, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart. The group is working under the auspices of Welcome.US. More details here.

Separately, I apologize for the broken link yesterday leading to the sign-up page for our celebration of 25 years of the 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The event is April 25 at 1 p.m. ET, and will focus on the best practices of great employers, with Accenture CEO Sweet, Target CEO Brian Cornell, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, and Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta. Sign up here if you want to learn what it takes to get on this important list. Apologies, also, for mangling my friend Nassetta’s name.

Alan Murray



Inflation day

The U.S. consumer price index figure comes out today at 8:30 a.m. ET, and economists expect the inflation reading will show a year-on-year price jump of 8.4%—a 40-year high. On cue, U.S. futures have been under pressure all morning. That’s after a dismal trading day on Monday that saw all three major averages fall, led lower by tech stocks. CNBC

Go home!

The U.S. government has ordered all nonessential staff (and their families) at its Shanghai consulate to leave the city as COVID cases soar and the financial hub enters a second “horrific” week of lockdowns. Fortune

Spiral of violence

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was the first European leader to fly to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin in person. Back home now, he says the meeting left him “rather pessimistic” on the prospect for peace as attacks intensify in the east of Ukraine. The Moscow Times

Musk watch

Elon Musk won’t sit on Twitter’s board after all, but the alternative—having the company’s biggest shareholder remain an independent voice looming over the social media platform—has Twitter employees “super stressed.” Bonus read: Musk’s latest move could trigger a “Game of Thrones” battle between Musk and Twitter’s management. Bloomberg 


The ROI of extrovert bosses 

Charismatic corporate leaders might be good at rallying the troops during the lean times, but their track record of maintaining strong and steady shareholder returns is less than ideal. A series of academic studies bear this out, including a new one from researchers at Texas Christian University, Utah State University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Georgia. Fortune

Why Russian oligarchs should steer clear of U.S. waters

If it’s one thing we’ve learned since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, it’s that Russia’s ultrawealthy have a lot of superyachts, many of which continue to get seized at ports around Europe. But these vessels are largely untouchable out at sea. Ah, but there’s a catch. Fortune’s Jeremy Kahn explains why the U.S. has unique powers to test that law of open-sea immunity. Fortune

The cost of leaving Russia

At last check, more than 600 businesses have announced either a complete pullout from the Russian market or a big scaling back of operations there. With the spring earnings season kicking off later this week, investors will begin to learn just how costly these corporate exoduses are. We have some clues. For example, Shell said cutting ties with Russia would cost up to $5 billion, and French banking giant Société Générale reported at $3.3 billion hit. The New York Times has compiled a list. New York Times

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by Bernhard Warner.

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