5 Ways CEOs Can Prepare for and Maximize the Trump Presidency

GettyImages-136723463-compressorFast repeal of Obamacare, imposition of border penalties on imports, an overhaul of the national infrastructure and the adoption of comprehensive tax reform are not overnight fixes; they may take longer than anyone anticipates, according to executives from PwC, who shared their insights in a quarterly webcast this week.

“Putting ideas into legislative language alone is difficult, and then you have to build political backing behind that,” said Dave Camp, senior policy advisor in tax policy services for PwC and former chairman of the Ways & Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. “So tax reform and ACA repeal will be as challenging as anything these House Republicans have ever done.”

In addition, said Mike Gallagher, managing partner of assurance quality for PwC, Trump has indicated, “in addition to the key goal of investor protection, an emphasis on capital formation and making sure the regulatory environment doesn’t stifle the ability to create capital.”

“Trump has indicated, in addition to the key goal of investor protection, an emphasis on capital formation and making sure the regulatory environment doesn’t stifle the ability to create capital.

Rather than stand still awaiting fallout, however, PwC’s panelists suggest that CEOs do the following 5 things.

1. Pay attention. Early indications from the administration already are laying out several policy directions. “Make sure you understand your scenario and exposure, and the opportunities that exist for your company in this environment,” said Roz Brooks, managing director of government, regulatory affairs and public policy for PwC. “There are both opportunities and challenges in each policy position.”

2. Engage the brain trust. CEOs should be discussing with their board members about how Trump administration policies will affect their strategy.

3. Be mindful of the larger picture. Developments around the globe are influencing domestic-policy choices, so CEOs and directors need to have sensibilities to what’s happening worldwide.

4. Network like heck. Take advantage of the unprecedented high quotient of business people who populate the new administration. “More than any administration we’ve seen, there are connections with professionals who have existing relationships with business, including former CEOs and advisors,” Brooks said. Think about “different ways you can engage them.”

5.Tell your story. Nearly any company could become subject to a sudden focus by Trump—via pronouncement or tweet—about its policies. “So companies must be developing their own public-affairs strategies and get their facts out,” Brooks said.

Businesses will be in for a wild but, potentially, positive ride during the Trump era, panelists said. Corporate leaders should buckle up and be prepared for anything that might rev their engines.

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Dale Buss
Dale Buss is a long-time contributor to Chief Executive, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and other top-flight business publications. He lives in Michigan.

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