Disney’s Bob Chapek probably could have handled the Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ debacle better

Good morning.

Several CEO Daily readers have written in to ask what effect Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s misadventures in Florida will have on stakeholder capitalism. They wonder if it will cause other CEOs to retreat to their corner offices, and steer clear of sticky social issues.

But that, of course, is what Chapek tried to do in the first place. And his employees refused to allow it. Under severe pressure from them, he belatedly spoke out against Florida’s law restricting school discussions of sexual and gender identity, which sent the governor and state legislature into action, repealing a key law that has enabled Disney World to operate effectively since 1967.

Could Chapek have handled this lose-lose situation better? That’s a question the Disney board will have to answer. But my guess is yes, and that Chapek will be out within a year. And here’s the key point: His successor won’t have the option of retreating to the cool comfort of spreadsheets. Instead, job number one will be to repair ruined relations with both a critical contingent of Disney employees and Florida’s governing politicians—important stakeholders all.

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Is the “great resignation” hurting companies’ ability to defend against cyberattacks? A recent study from data management company Splunk says the answer may be yes. The study surveyed 1,200 enterprise security leaders and found 68% said talent shortages had directly led to the failure of one or more cybersecurity projects or initiatives; 58% said they can’t find talent with the right skills; and 53% said they can’t hire enough cybersecurity staff. That’s hardly encouraging, given the recent increase in attacks.

I talked with Splunk’s new CEO, Gary Steele, last week, in his first week on the job. More than half of the data-handling company’s business is cyber-related, and Steele comes to the job from security startup Proofpoint, with a “deep security perspective and deep security knowledge.” With the Russian attack on Ukraine, Steele argues, “cyber has never been more important.”

More news below.

Alan Murray



China policy

China’s adherence to its COVID-zero policy has prompted the country’s worst stock selloff in over two years—in the order of a 5% drop—and U.S. stock futures are also down following a grim Friday. (Bonus read 1: Beijing residents fear a Shanghai-style lockdown, and many have been panic-buying groceries as a result.) (Bonus read 2: Sri Lanka’s stock exchange opened for the first time in two weeks, and the market responded to a 700-point interest rate hike by knocking stocks so badly that a shutdown was triggered.) Wall Street Journal

Musky Twitter

Negotiations between Twitter’s board and suitor Elon Musk reportedly continued into the early hours of this morning, and a deal may be imminent. Musk has lined up $46.5 billion in financing for his unsolicited takeover attempt. New York Times

Macron reelected

France has a two-term president for the first time since Jacques Chirac: The centrist Emmanuel Macron was convincingly reelected yesterday, defeating the far-right Marine Le Pen, much to the relief of most of the EU. The nationalist, anti-environmentalist, Putin-adjacent Le Pen still did better than she ever has before. Meanwhile, in Slovenia’s election, liberals have booted out the right-wing government of Janez Janša. Politico

Palm oil

Indonesia has instituted a surprise palm oil export ban, which will have an immediate and drastic effect on edible-oil markets as Indonesia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, and the alternatives (think Ukrainian sunflower oil, for example) are already in short supply. Reuters


Bitcoin drop

Bitcoin’s down more than 3%, as investors shy away from risk assets in the expectation of Fed rate hikes. Bloomberg

Asteroid mission

China is examining ways to take out asteroids that threaten Earth, and will send a spacecraft out to an asteroid in a few years’ time, to study it and somehow change its course. Bloomberg

Non–mea culpa

Do read this extraordinary interview with Russian-gas executive and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, in which he refuses to see anything wrong with being so close to Putin, and defends the now-canceled Nord Stream 2 pipeline for which he so strongly lobbied. This interview may be what leads Schröder’s Social Democratic Party to finally try kicking him out. New York Times

Malls to clinics

Many shopping malls in the U.S., having been hammered by the pandemic, are now being partially converted to medical clinics. Kaiser Health News

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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