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September 23, 2021

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a daily newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.


Good morning.


Does quantum computing have the power to transform business? Fortune’s Jeremy Kahn writes about two developments this week that get us closer to a “yes” answer on that question.


Cambridge Quantum Computing, which recently agreed to merge with the quantum arm of Honeywell and spin out as a new company, announced a groundbreaking project with Nippon Steel to simulate the behavior of iron crystals, using an IBM quantum computer. The technique could eventually help in the creation of new types of steel.


Researchers from Goldman Sachs, IonQ and QC Ware have also demonstrated that a fundamental mathematical technique that underpins the pricing of financial risk—known as a Monte Carlo simulation—can run faster on a quantum computer than a conventional one. And in today’s financial markets, fast means money. Jeremy explains the two breakthroughs here, and suggests the day is rapidly approaching when we will all have to shift from bits to qubits.


Other news below.



Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com


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TOP NEWS


Evergrande day


Today's the day on which China Evergrande is supposed to make $83.5 million in dollar-bond interest payments, or trigger China's biggest debt restructuring to date. To say investors in China are nervous would be quite the understatement. Now Chinese Estates Holdings, one of the developer's biggest backers, has sold all its Evergrande shares—which have lost 85% of their value this year. Fortune


Comptroller pick


President Joe Biden will reportedly pick Saule Omarova to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which has oversight over the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. She's no cryptocurrency fan and wants to move consumer deposits to the Federal Reserve, so it would be a controversial nomination for sure. Fortune


Booster call


The FDA has backed the use of COVID-19 vaccine boosters by over-64s and vulnerable younger people, including those with pre-existing conditions or jobs that put them on the pandemic frontline. But there are further regulatory hurdles ahead and, whatever happens now, it's clear that Biden's boosters-for-all plan isn't happening anytime soon. Fortune


Boz level


Boz—as in Facebook metaverse guru Andrew Bosworth, not Charles Dickens—will become the social network's new chief technology officer next year, when Mike Schroepfer steps down. Schroepfer has been quite apologetic about Facebook's failings; Boz may not follow in those footsteps. Fortune



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AROUND THE WATER COOLER


German elections


Germany's federal elections take place Sunday and, while recent polling gives the Social Democrats an edge, it's all very close—and whatever happens, the country is likely to get its first three-way coalition government. Here's why that is, and why it matters. Fortune


Hurry up


President Biden has urged Democrats to come up with a final framework that they can all agree on for his "build back better" agenda. Republicans are uniformly opposed to the $3.5 trillion package, so Biden's whole party needs to be on board if the effort stands a chance. Fortune


Snoop surprise


Snoop Dogg has been collecting NFTs under the alias of Cozomo de' Medici, the rapper/bunch-of-other-stuff announced on Twitter. Seems Cozomo's wallet has around $17 million in holdings, including nine CryptoPunks and—surprise!—a lot of marijuana-themed NFTs. Fortune


Sasol emissions


The South African fuel and chemicals giant Sasol now aims to cut 30% rather than 10% of its emissions by 2030, and to become a zero-carbon emitter by 2050. The increased target comes under investor and activist pressure, and also in the context of South Africa as a whole stepping up its emissions-reduction targets. Sasol is one of the country's biggest polluters, alongside state energy firm Eskom, which is trying to raise funds to move away from coal. Reuters


This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.


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