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CEO Daily Brief – Feb. 7, 2011

President Obama Speaks at U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEOs will have another opportunity to interact with President Barack Obama as …

President Obama Speaks at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

CEOs will have another opportunity to interact with President Barack Obama as he speaks to business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday. It is the latest in Obama’s attempt to reach out to the business sector after the Democratic defeat in the November election. So far, he has changed positions on the Bush-era tax cuts, backed the trade agreement with South Korea and gave vague endorsements to some of the business community’s top issues.

In recent weeks, he has met with CEOs in the White House. His State of the Union address touched on the importance of innovation and increasing the number of jobs. There is still a long way for Obama to embrace the agenda held by many CEOs. The Chamber disagreed with Obama on health care reforms and stricter regulations on business. In addition, Obama could be using much of this as a cover for increased spending – at a time when the growing national deficit is one of the biggest concerns among business leaders.

In the meantime, it’s good for the President to meet with CEOs. Hopefully, more actions will follow.

For more about Obama appearing at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as reported by Money, please click here.


Advisory Group for Investors Backs CEO Succession Plan at Apple

An advisory group for investors has backed shareholders at Apple who want a succession plan for CEO Steve Jobs, CNET reports. The proposal was released after Jobs announced in January he was taking a medical leave from the company. It was his third medical leave in recent years. It is for an indefinite period and there were no details about his health released to shareholders. Jobs is a pancreatic cancer survivor.

While he is gone, day-to-day responsibility is being given to Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook.

CNET reports that Institutional Shareholder Services backed the proposal for the succession plan by the Central Laborers' Pension Fund, which has about 11,500 shares in Apple. Under their plan, Apple’s board would report annually on the CEO succession plan.

Apple shareholders may vote on the proposal on Feb. 23.

How the situation is resolved at Apple could be watched carefully at other U.S. corporations. Even where a CEO is not in ill health, CEO succession has become a hot topic and many CEOs find that their personal lives are increasingly brought up by shareholders.

For more about CEO succession at Apple, as reported by CNET, please click here.


U.S. Companies Beating Estimates for Sales

There is good news for many top U.S. companies. Bloomberg is reporting that more U.S. companies are exceeding sales estimates than any time in the last four years. Bloomberg said that 72 percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies reported more revenue in the 4th quarter of 2010 than market analysts had predicted, according to Bloomberg.

That is the largest proportion since at least 2006, according to Bloomberg. In addition, actual sales beat projections by 2.3 percent (on average.) That is the most it’s been in two years, Bloomberg said.

Total revenue for S&P 500 companies may increase 7.5 percent in 2011, Bloomberg predicts. That would be the highest since 2007.

Sales had decreased 13 percent between November 2008 and October 2009 because of the recession.

The sales figures are good news for the country. But sales alone won’t bring strength to the economy. The government needs to enact more business-friendly policy – which will lead to fewer mandates and regulations, as well as increased foreign trade and innovation. That will also lead to more hiring – something everyone would like to see.

For more about sales at U.S. companies, as reported by Bloomberg, please click here.

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