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CEO Daily Brief – Mar. 8, 2011

Oil Prices Continue to Rise as U.S. Banks and Oil Companies Halt Trade with Libya Wall Street and oil companies …

Oil Prices Continue to Rise as U.S. Banks and Oil Companies Halt Trade with Libya

Wall Street and oil companies have announced that they will comply with sanctions against Libya by stopping crude oil trade with the country.  Oil prices are already high and this move may push them even higher. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that since the start of the revolt in February against authoritarian leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya’s production of oil has plummeted by two thirds. As the world’s 12th-largest oil exporter, Libya produces 1.6 million barrels of oil per day during stable times.  Currently, the North African nation is losing more than $100 million in revenue each day.

The following companies have announced their plans:

  • Morgan Stanley has stopped purchasing oil for clients.
  • ConocoPhillips Co. stopped exporting the 46,000 barrels a day of oil it produces in Libya.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. said it is complying with the sanctions against Libya.
  • BP is not doing any new deals in Libya.

Libya’s political uncertainty has had, and will continue to have, huge economic implications for economies around the world. Crude-oil futures are up 25% in three weeks and oil is trading at its highest level in 2½ years.  Crude futures rose $1.02 per barrel, or 1%, to $105.44 at the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday.

There is concern that political unrest could spread from Libya to bigger oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries claims it will make up any shortfall in Libyan production, but so far OPEC suggests there is no need to increase output.

Saudi Arabia said it would pump more oil. The United Arab Emirates has been increasing production over the past three months, largely because of increasing demand from Asia.

For more about oil and Libya, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, please click here.


Toyota’s Revamping Strategy? Cut Your Board in Half

Toyota Motor Corp. will introduce a plan on Wednesday that will reduce the number of its board members by roughly half, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The plan is called 2020 Global Vision and represents a new chapter for an auto maker that has weathered unprofitable periods followed by massive recalls. In cutting the board from 27 members, Toyota hopes to speed decision making, but its critics say it is an effort for CEO Akio Toyoda to consolidate power.

Toyota follows a similar decision made by Honda Motor Co. to reduce the size of its board to 12 members from 20 to encourage speed and efficiency.

For more about Toyota, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, please click here.


U.S. Lags Far Behind China in Number of Female of CEOs

As the number of women in senior management positions decreases throughout the world, China and other Asian nations offer models to the U.S. and European companies for promoting women in the workplace.  According to Fast Company and The Grant Thornton Business Report, among China’s female workforce in managerial positions, 19% hold the title of CEO. That’s 10% higher than the average in Europe and 14% higher than the average in the United States.

Thailand came in first with 30% of female managers holding the title of CEO and Taiwan came in third at 18%.  A majority of women in senior positions, 69%, work in financial departments rather than departments like human resources, which have traditionally been seen as softer.

As Asian companies grow more and more successful, the promotion of women through the top-tiers of their ranks may become an innovative trend to compete with the West.

For more about women as CEOs in Asia, as reported by Fast Company, please click here.


The Power of Persuasion: A Necessity for the CEO

William Ellet, a Harvard Business School professor, says that persuasion is a practical art. His tips for mastering this art are:

  • Recognize your purpose. Then ask:
  • Do I want to change the way the audience thinks or feels about something? Or motivate them to do something? Or change their thinking (and feelings) and motivate them do something?
  • Who are you trying to persuade? You should know four things:
  • Who are they? Are there differences among them relevant to persuasion?
  • What’s my relationship to them?
  • What do they think and feel about my purpose?
  • What do they think and feel about me?
  • As far as content, What are the best arguments to achieve my purpose?
  • Are there arguments that will appeal to different segments of the audience?
  • What evidence do I need to support my arguments?

According to Ellet, business decisions are not made strictly according to reason. Emotion impacts thinking and decision-making.

This leads to questions such as:

  • What audience emotions will help achieve a purpose? Which ones should I avoid?
  • How can I stimulate the appropriate feelings in the audience?
  • How does my audience perceive me now?
  • How do I want them to perceive me?
  • How can I move my audience to the desired perception?

For more about persuasion, as reported by The Harvard Business Review, please click here.

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