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CEO Daily Brief – Jan. 18, 2011

Apple Plans for Contingencies Word this week that Steve Jobs, a cancer survivor, will be taking an extended medical leave, …

Apple Plans for Contingencies

Word this week that Steve Jobs, a cancer survivor, will be taking an extended medical leave, was not good news. It is not clear why the CEO needs the medical leave. It is unknown how long he will be out of work.

Apple tried to handle the announcement well. The Inquirerpoints out that the announcement was made on a legal holiday, when the stock market was closed. That helped to prevent a major impact to the company’s stock. In addition, Apple is expected to announce later Tuesday the company had impressive earnings, The Inquirer said. The moves make good business sense.

But there are other things to consider when looking at Jobs’ role at Apple.

The last time he left for medical treatment, even though the stock dropped, it bounced back, says All Things Digital. “In the end, Apple really didn’t miss a beat the last time Jobs stepped away to focus on his health, despite all the hysterical speculation that it might,” noted John Paczkowski in All Things Digital. “And it’s not likely to this time, either–regardless of the open-ended nature of his leave and what some folks are describing as a ‘less optimistic’ tone in his message to employees.”

Even if Jobs is forced to step down as CEO, Needham analyst Charles Wolf said, “Apple has one of the deepest and strongest managerial benches in this country,” reports All Things Digital. Tim Cook, who has taken over daily operations, is “one of the leading managers in this country.”

There is no question that Jobs has led Apple through numerous innovative cycles, with the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. But a well-managed company, like Apple, has planned for contingencies. Paczkowski credits Jobs for having “designed” the company “to set the bar for the industry, regardless of whether it’s him leading its day-to-day operations or not.”

For more about Jobs and Apple, as reported by All Things Digital, please click here.


World Economic Forum Asks Companies to Include at Least One Woman in Delegations

When the World Economic Forum holds its meeting later this year it is asking that business representatives bring at least one woman with them to Davos, Switzerland.  There will be 100 corporate "strategic partners" at the forum, with each company having five delegates. At least one of the five has to be female. The requirement shows how much further businesses need to come as far gender equality. Just the fact there is a quota illustrates how many more women need to find their way into corporate suites. Fortune says that only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. If companies do not have enough higher-level executives, who are women, that organizers need to impose a quota, where are the future promotions going to come from, when companies work to improve that 3% number?

The forum is supposed to help work out the world’s economic issues. Why would anyone not want women to be part of the discussion?

For more about women’s role at the World Economic Forum, as reported by Fortune, please click here.


Goldman Sachs Scraps Most of its Plan for Unusual Facebook Investment Scheme

It sounded a little suspicious from the start. Goldman Sachs developed a scheme so its wealthy clients could invest in Facebook, a company that is not publically traded. But now Goldman Sachs has changed its plan – restricting the scheme to non-U.S. investors. The investment bank had wanted to sell $1.5 billion of Facebook to private clients, and now these investors cannot be from the United States.

U.S. laws have restrictions on stock offered in private placements. There is far less disclosure than compared to companies which are publically traded.

Bloomberg reports that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said deciding to stop the U.S. offering “was based on the sole judgment of Goldman Sachs and was not required or requested by any other party.” However, it was reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission influenced them to make the move, Bloomberg said. A company with over 499 investors is required to disclose more financial information.

In the future, it may be a good idea for the U.S. securities laws to be updated so that these kinds of situations do not occur again. The laws were written decades ago. A lot has changed since then.

In the meantime, U.S. investors will have to wait for an initial public offering from Facebook to become investors in the successful company.

For more about Goldman Sachs and Facebook, as reported by Bloomberg, please click here.

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