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May 17, 2022

Good morning.


How to attract and retain great talent continues to be top of mind for CEOs, even as a possible recession looms on the horizon. That was my takeaway from a virtual conversation yesterday with 24 corporate leaders. Some takeaways:


“We’re all trying to figure out what people want. They want something different. And we think choice equates to happiness, happiness equates to better work, and that that phenomena is not going away… We do not believe we’re one good recession from going back to the way it was.”
—Tim Ryan, U.S. chair, PwC, which sponsored yesterday’s session


“We proved in the pandemic we can operate major companies remotely. But I still think there are question marks. Did we collaborate at the right level? And did we innovate at the right level?”
—Paul Hudson, CEO, Sanofi


“We are really focused on thinking through the impacts on equity of the programs that we have around choice—making sure that an employee who chooses to work remotely, five years from now doesn’t find themselves limited in their career options, or less networked and connected than other employees. We fear that could cause a backward progression on the diversity of our workforce.”
—Kathy Warden, CEO, Northrop Grumman


“You can’t just tell people to come in, just like they did two years ago. I think that toothpaste has left the tube.”
—Tricia Griffith, CEO, Progressive


“We’ve doubled, tripled down on communication. I do a communication to our organization every week.”
—Pat Geraghty, CEO, GuideWell


“The manager in the end is the one that is closest to people… And we see that being even more critical in the future than it is today. So we have made a lot of investment to make sure we have the best managers possible.”
—Alexis Garcin, CEO, Michelin North America


“Even at the micro business level, purpose-driven hiring is winning. Even when you are looking at living wage jobs, folks want to know: Who’s their boss? What’s their flexibility? And how am I making an impact?”
—Elizabeth Gore, president, Hello Alice


“Leaders are now being asked to be more inclusive and empathetic, to be coaches, to lead virtually, to lead in these very uncertain environments. And one thing that’s loud and clear is they’re not sure how to do it.”
—Stephen Bailey, CEO, ExecOnline


“The acquisition and retention of talent to drive strategy is, even in our business with so much in manufacturing, more critical than access to capital.”
—Mark Newman, CEO, Chemours


More news below. And it is now accepted wisdom: the Fed screwed up. Even Ben Bernanke thinks so. Read why here.



Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com


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TOP NEWS


Apocalyptic warning


The inability to get wheat and cooking oil out of Ukraine could lead to "apocalyptic" food shortages in the developing world, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned lawmakers yesterday. Bailey on the idea that the U.K.'s central bank could have warded off inflation with higher interest rates: "I don’t think we could foresee a war in Ukraine. Another factor that we’re dealing with at the moment is a further leg of COVID, which is affecting China. We have seen a series of supply shocks coming one after another, and that’s unprecedented." Guardian


Bot spat


Is Elon Musk just looking for a better deal in his Twitter takeover? Nope, he says: "This deal cannot move forward until" Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal proves the company's assertion that fewer than 5% of its accounts are spammers or other fakes. Musk believes the real figure is more like 20%. (Bonus read: it's not clear if Musk is taking part in a private sale of SpaceX shares by that company's employees, which reportedly values SpaceX at around $125 billion.) Fortune


Vaccine waiver


The U.S. is demanding that China should not benefit from a potential waiver of WTO intellectual-property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. The result could be the sinking of the mooted waiver, and with it the WTO's claim to relevance. Bloomberg


Digital euro


A "digital euro" could maybe appear around 2026, according to European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta: "At the end of 2023 we could decide to start a realization phase to develop and test the appropriate technical solutions and business arrangements necessary to provide a digital euro. This phase could take three years." RTÉ



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AROUND THE WATERCOOLER


Google office


Fortune's Beth Kowitt dives into Google's mammoth effort to go fully hybrid: "There is no formula that can be written, no algorithm that can be tweaked, for the logistically challenging and emotionally fraught act of returning to the office tens of thousands of employees who have spent the last two-plus years working from home during a devastating pandemic." Fortune


Baby formula


The U.S. will be more flexible about the baby formula products it allows into the country, to counter a serious domestic shortage. The flexibility will apparently not extend to health and safety standards, but rather things like the order in which ingredients are listed on labels. Fortune


Human composting


There's apparently growing interest in being composted after death, due to demand for more sustainable burial solutions. John Niedfeldt-Thomas, the chief association executive of the Green Burial Council: "It's a movement creating a market." Fortune


Executive pay


The median pay packet for S&P 500 execs rose around 12% last year, providing new record levels for the sixth year in a row. The highest-paid CEO in 2021 was Expedia Group's Peter Kern, with $296 million in compensation. Fortune


This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.


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