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October 22, 2021

Good morning.

We have a new CEO poll out this morning, done in partnership with Deloitte. Three things stand out for me in the results: 

1) CEO expectations for the current year have changed significantly since we polled in early June. At that time, 53% said they expected that the “business effects of the pandemic will be over for their organization” by the end of 2021. Now, only 11% expect the effects to be gone by year-end. (Thank you, Delta variant.) Another 23% say the effects of the pandemic will be over by mid-2022, and an additional 35% say by the end of 2022.

2) Business commitments to reach net-zero emissions by or before 2050 continue to increase. Only 29% of the CEO polled now say they don’t have a plan to reach net-zero, down from 40% in January. Some 90% of the CEOs agreed with the statement that “climate change needs to be addressed urgently,” and 86% said “my organization can play a positive role in addressing climate change.”

3) The battle to attract, recruit and retain talent remains the top concern for CEOs. To address it, CEOs say they are providing increased flexibility to employees (80%), putting more emphasis on corporate purpose (68%), more emphasis on diversity and inclusion (68%), and more emphasis on well-being and mental health (65%).

By the way, it’s clear from the poll that the battle for talent and commitments to climate are not unrelated. Eighty-five percent of the CEOs agreed that “executing on our climate agenda will positively affect our ability to attract, retain and engage our workforce.” Only 17% said executing on their climate agenda will negatively affect short-term growth, and only 4% said it will negatively affect long-term shareholder value.

More on the survey here. Other news below.

Alan Murray





Pfizer/BioNTech booster

Pfizer and BioNTech have released extremely encouraging data about their booster, saying it is 95.6% effective against the coronavirus. In other words, it restores the level of protection that people generally have after their second dose, before the effectiveness starts to wane (it hits 84% after four months.) Reuters

Evergrande debt

China Evergrande Group paid a bond coupon ahead of a grace-period-expiration deadline this weekend, meaning it avoided default by the skin of its teeth. Chinese regulators have been encouraging the embattled property giant to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds. Fortune

Corporate taxes

President Joe Biden does not think enough Democrats will back his proposed corporate tax hike, saying: "Look, when you’re in the United States Senate and you’re president of the United States and you have 50 Democrats, everyone is the president." Biden also admitted the 12 weeks of paid family leave he'd like to see have been cut back to four, and community college likely won't be made free. Fortune

Digital taxes

The U.S. has struck a deal with the U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Austria over the removal of those countries' digital services taxes, now that the global tax deal has been agreed. The U.S. wanted the unilateral taxes to be lifted earlier this month, as soon as the global deal was struck, but will have to wait until implementation in 2023. However, multinationals may be able to claim credits against future tax payments. The U.S. has now dropped its tariff threats against the five European countries. Fortune



Wrongest number

The CFO of Canadian telecoms giant Rogers reportedly made one heck of a boo-boo: Tony Staffieri called chief legal officer David Miller to discuss a secret plot to oust CEO Joe Natale (with the support of company chair and family scion Edward Rogers) and accidentally dialed in Natale himself. Natale ran to the board, which backed him, and now Staffieri and Edward Rogers are both out. Fortune

Oh Snap

The supply-chain crisis is hitting social media, too, by leading advertisers to hold back spending for the looming holiday season. The warning came from Snap, which provided a disappointing forecast and knocked the shares of rivals including Google, Facebook (which is also suffering from declining numbers of young users) and Twitter. Fortune

Walmart and Bitcoin

Walmart is trialing Bitcoin purchases at some of its U.S. stores. It's essentially extended functionality for the Coinstar kiosks that let people exchange coins for paper bills and gift cards, and the pilot includes 200 such kiosks. Bloomberg


Lumber prices keep rising and are now up 40% from their recent floor in August. What's more, experts expect the price to keep soaring to nearly double that August price of $389 per thousand board feet. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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