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CEO Daily Brief – Dec. 10, 2010

Business Roundtable Releases Roadmap for Growth The Business Roundtable has come up with a “Roadmap for Growth,” a plan to develop long-term economic growth, create jobs and make the United States a global economic leader. The plan is offered by the association, which is made up of U.S business CEOs. It offers some cogent solutions …

Business Roundtable Releases Roadmap for Growth

The Business Roundtable has come up with a “Roadmap for Growth,” a plan to develop long-term economic growth, create jobs and make the United States a global economic leader. The plan is offered by the association, which is made up of U.S business CEOs. It offers some cogent solutions for fiscal policy, market access, education, regulation and energy policies.

Business leaders will be presenting the plan to President Barack Obama, as well as members of Congress. The incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives is likely to be very receptive. Democrats, at least the ones who believe in the free enterprise system, will have to consider the policy recommendations as well, given the sluggish state of the economy.

Nearly one in 10 U.S. workers is unemployed, and more than 17 percent are underemployed. Public debt will increase to 100 percent of GDP within a decade. Change is needed.

Here are some of the policy recommendations:

  • Change the corporate tax system to promote investment and strengthen U.S. competitiveness in the global economy.
  • Cut government spending.
  • Pass all pending free trade agreements and increase U.S. exports.
  • Invest in education programs that focus on performance and encourage innovation. Place a stronger emphasis on math and science education.
  • Re-evaluate financial, environmental and healthcare regulations to ensure they promote competition, choice and growth.
  • Invest in new energy technologies and expand access to traditional energy sources to advance environmental, economic and energy security interests of the United States.

In connection with the plan, Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, stated the United States “must foster the ability of American businesses to drive innovation and prosperity.” The business sector, not the government, has the ability to bring back prosperity though its technology, expertise and capital. However, it needs “support from policymakers in Washington,” Liveris said.

For more about the Roadmap for Growth, please click here.

Apple’s Steve Jobs Named ‘CEO of the Decade’ By MarketWatch

It should come as no surprise that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, was named CEO of the Decade by MarketWatch. Perhaps most revealing was that Jobs was called the “rock star of corporate America.” Jobs brought Apple from near bankruptcy to great success. A purchase of $1,000 worth of Apple stock at the end of 2000 is now worth nearly $43,000. Apple offerings such as iPod and iTunes helped to save the recording industry, says MarketWatch. His company is highly inventive. Just look at popular handheld devices and touch-screen technology with the iPhone. The iPad has been wildly popular in its first year of sales. It is very true that Apple is a highly innovative company and Jobs encouraged this innovation. He has done many things right.

But in considering any such accolade as CEO of the decade, the nation needs to remember that not every CEO is in a position to become a rock star. Even among the most successful ones, they are faced with enormous challenges. The global market, the sluggish economic recovery and heavy government regulations are among the forces that are making their jobs difficult on a daily basis. On top of that, their salaries appear to be more scrutinized than any other field, with the possible exception of professional sports. Boards and shareholders are also demanding a lot from CEOs these days. It is hard to single out clear superstars in this kind of environment.

For CEOs these days, to be a quiet success, is worth an award, too.

For more about Jobs’ latest honor, as reported by Apple Insider, please click here.

Pfizer’s New CEO Has Many Challenges

Ian Read just took over as Pfizer’s CEO, a few days ago, after Jeffrey Kindler suddenly stepped down. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Kindler retired because of fatigue. There are a growing number of challenges facing Read. Hopefully, he will not be overburdened as was Kindler.

Read was tapped for the position in large part because of his background in emerging markets. But Pfizer has recently lost two company officials who were specialists in emerging markets. In addition, China last week cut the prices of many medicines by an average of 19 percent. Read plans to emphasize Pfizer’s sales in Brazil and China, with Read saying recently that emerging markets being “a major growth opportunity” for Pfizer, according to The Journal.

On top of that Pfizer’s Lipitor will face a generic competitor in 2011 that may lead to a loss of a fifth of the company’s annual revenue, The Journal reports.

Read has been forced to hit the ground running. He needs to handle major short-term challenges, as well as implement his longer-term vision for the company, no doubt relying heavily on growth in global sales. At the same time, he like others in the pharmaceutical industry, need to keep their eyes on what U.S. policymakers have in mind for healthcare reform now that the troubled current law is likely to be revisited by the new Congress.

The last thing Pfizer needs is to lose another CEO, quickly, with all that is on his plate.

For more about Read’s challenges, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, please click here.

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