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CEO Daily Brief – Nov. 19, 2010

Fewer New Businesses Are Starting Want-to-be CEOs and those who already are leading an organization have a new reality in …

Fewer New Businesses Are Starting

Want-to-be CEOs and those who already are leading an organization have a new reality in the current economy: Fewer new businesses are getting off the ground in the United States, a situation that The Wall Street Journal says could cloud prospects for job growth and innovation.

While still in the early part of the economic recovery, start-ups have failed to keep pace with closings, and even those businesses that do get launched are hiring less than in the past. The number of companies with at least one employee fell by 100,000, or 2 percent, in the year that ended March 31, based on recent data. That was the second worst performance in 18 years, the worst being the 3.4 percent drop in the previous year.

The recession has led many into business for themselves, either as consultants or selling items online. But many of these potential business owners are not taking the next step of forming a company and hiring their own employees.

Many would-be business owners cannot get needed funding. Typical sources like home-equity loans and credit cards have largely dried up as banks face defaults and a weaker housing market. Venture capitalists and angel investors are pulling back on investments as they struggle to sell the companies they already own.

From the CEO’s perspective it does mean there are fewer competitors for existing businesses, but it also means that there are fewer places where innovative goods and services can be tested by start-ups, before mass production.

For more from The Wall Street Journal, please click here.

Beth Mooney to Be First Woman CEO at Top 20 U.S. Bank

Woman business leaders have broken another barrier, banking, with KeyCorp, Ohio’s second-largest bank, announcing that Beth Mooney will take over as chairman and CEO in May, making her the first woman to lead one of the 20 biggest U.S. banks. She has lots of experience in the field. Mooney is vice chairman of the bank and head of community banking. She was named president and chief operating officer effective immediately. She was named a member of the board and takes over as CEO on May 1.

“Our industry has many capable, competent and accomplished women,” Mooney said. “I’m proud to be among them and being the one to go into this role, I will carry that mantle with a little extra responsibility to perform well for all of us.”

Mooney joined KeyCorp in 2006, after being chief financial officer of AmSouth Bancorp, which was bought by Regions Financial Corp. that year. She previously worked at financial companies including Citicorp Real Estate Inc. and Bank One Corp.

For more about Mooney as reported in Bloomberg News, please click here.

Job Seeking When You’re Over 50

With the aging of the Baby Boomers and the weak economy, many of those over 50 find it hard to land a job. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was passed to protect people over 40 from being discriminated against, but on a case-by-case basis it’s rarely worth it to sue. It’s hard to prove age discrimination since there are so many other possible reasons to deny someone a job. The good news is that the Baby Boomers have made 40 seem young, and “old” is getting older. The bad news is that laid off over-50-ers are having a tough time in the current job market.

Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies, Inc., recommends that if you are over 50 and looking for a job or a promotion — whether or not you have been laid off — reflect on these questions to help revitalize your pursuit:

Are you energized and excited about what you are doing? Or do you seem tired and depressed, longing for the good old days? When you have been laid off, when you haven’t had a raise in a while, or when you feel overworked, it’s easy to express negative feelings. But people prefer to work with positive, upbeat colleagues.

Are you wearing to work what you wore 15 years ago? If so, it’s time for a makeover. Keeping up an appearance makes a difference in self-confidence, and it shows.

Are you fooling yourself about your skills and experience? Even senior managers need to maintain some technical expertise to be viable professionally. There are plenty of online courses, seminars, and professional organizations that are willing to help keep you up to date.

How is age an advantage in your industry? Unless they are in social media, expert jobs generally call for years of experience. Coaching and counseling jobs have similar requirements.For more suggestions from Claman, writing in The Harvard Business Review, please click here.

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