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CEO Daily Brief – Dec. 7, 2010

Obama Meets with CEOs, Claims to be Looking for Change President Barack Obama appears to be asking CEOs for their …

Obama Meets with CEOs, Claims to be Looking for Change

President Barack Obama appears to be asking CEOs for their advice on how to add more jobs to the economy. Bloomberg reports that Obama has met with Michael Duke, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Alan Lafley, a former CEO of Procter & Gamble Co., and Steven Reinemund, former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc. More meetings with CEOs are expected over the next several weeks.

But if the president is serious about the need to reach out to the business sector, most business leaders would agree he has to come up with a more business-friendly agenda. There can’t just be talk about change, like he did in the 2008 campaign, without real change. It also cannot just be a temporary response to the electoral defeat the Democrats suffered in November. It needs to be more fundamental.

A good place to start would be some of the issues raised by the CEO Council from The Wall Street Journal. These include: promotion for global trade, medical tort reform, cutting various taxes, and reducing the U.S. budget deficit. For more about Obama’s initiative to meet with CEOs, as reported by Bloomberg, please click here.

Cloud Computing May Require a CTO to Oversee the Transformation

CEOs have been hearing lots of positives about cloud computing. While it’s still early in the history of this new approach to remote hosting, many businesses have already made the jump to the cloud and left the traditional on-premise technology. More are expected to make the change this coming year. There are different kinds of cloud computing: public, private and hybrid, each with its own benefits.

Overall, cloud computing leads companies to transform the way they approach technology. This new form of web-based technology means that many functions can be done for less money using the cloud. The cloud can bring about changes in productivity. Things may be completed quicker using the cloud. Many of these changes were not initially expected, nor planned for, but come about because of the added benefits of moving to the cloud.

These diverse changes in technology may require a new high level position in the corporate suite: a chief technology officer for the cloud. This person can predict how cloud computing may change the business and then explain the changes to the company. Without the new position, the implementation may be too disruptive for many organizations. For more from Fortune about how cloud computing is changing business and other organizations, please click here.

Investing in Women in the Workforce Makes Sense for Business Profits

There is increasing evidence that investing in women in the workforce is good for a company’s bottom line and the economy as a whole. That is as true in the developing world as it is in the high-tech sector in the United States.

The McKinsey Quarterly recently published an article about how companies benefit by empowering women in the workforce, particularly in developing countries. There are of course economic benefits to the women. But there are also numerous benefits to the corporations: bigger markets, high quality of the workforce, increased size of the workforce, and improvement to the company’s reputation.

“Women’s unfulfilled potential significantly hinders economic growth,” according to the McKinsey study. But out of the 83 percent of the companies questioned in the survey who said that economic growth in the developing world was important to their growth and success over the next ten years, only 19 percent of them responded that their companies invested in activities directed at women in developing markets.

Ben Kerschberg, founder of the Consero Group LLC, argues that just as companies benefit by investing in women in developing countries, investing in women as tech entrepreneurs is good for the company’s financial health. Women own 40 percent of the private businesses in the United States, but they create only eight percent of all venture-backed start-ups. Women represent only six percent of the CEOs of the top 100 tech companies. And women comprise only 14 percent of all venture capitalists.

He points out that Cindy Padnos, a venture capitalist, found that venture-based start-ups run by women typically use 40 percent less capital than start-ups run by men. Diversity promotes greater innovation, he adds.

For more about how investing in women helps corporations, as reported by the Huffington Post, please click here.

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