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CEO Daily Brief – Nov. 3, 2010

Business Looks to Republicans to Block Obama on Rules, Taxes The Republican gains in Congress mean U.S. companies may be …

Business Looks to Republicans to Block Obama on Rules, Taxes

The Republican gains in Congress mean U.S. companies may be able to weaken or block what they consider President Barack Obama’s anti-business policies on health care, the environment, taxes and financial reform. Republicans are likely to push to extend Bush- era tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 and to defeat Obama’s proposals to increase taxes on companies’ overseas profits. And on health care, they are likely going to be pushing back on the regulations.

Republican control of the House may provide the best chance to pass free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama since they were approved by President Bush in 2007.

Companies such as IBM, Microsoft Corp., Blackstone Group LP and Occidental Petroleum Corp. all have lobbied against the Obama proposals to increase taxes on overseas profits. The election gives them some important allies.

Labor leaders are likely to scale back their legislative ambitions and increase efforts to make gains through regulatory agencies. Unions face little chance of achieving legislative goals envisioned from a Democratic-majority Congress, such as easier organizing rules, mandatory paid sick leave, and bigger fines for workplace safety violations. For more from Bloomberg what the election means for business interests, please click here.

Lloyds Names Santander’s Horta-Osorio CEO, Replacing Daniels

Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, named Antonio Horta-Osorio, head of Banco Santander SA’s U.K. unit, as chief executive officer, replacing Eric Daniels. He will join Lloyds in early 2011, before becoming CEO on March 1, the London-based lender said. Daniels, 59, led Lloyds’ takeover of HBOS Plc in September 2008, a purchase that forced the lender to seek a 17 billion-pound ($27 billion) taxpayer-funded rescue. He said in September he would step down within 12 months after the bank returned to profit. Lloyds yesterday forecast a “good” financial performance for 2010.

Horta-Osorio, 46, has overseen Santander’s expansion in Britain. Since 2008, the Santander, Spain-based bank has acquired British banks hit by financial crisis including Alliance & Leicester Plc, as well as parts of Bradford & Bingley Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to add to the Abbey unit it bought in 2004. The bank is preparing to sell a stake in its U.K. division in an initial public offering in the first part of next year.

For more about Horta-Osorio’s appointment as reported by Bloomberg, please click here.

Even Busy Executives Can Find an Hour More in Their Daily Schedule

What would you do with an extra hour? Business consultant Ron Ashkenas raises the question this time of year with the shift from Daylight Saving Time (or Summer Time in the EU) to Standard Time when we turn back our clocks and repeat one hour.The reality is that we all have “extra” hours available, without having to turn back the clock. Sometimes it takes a presidential request or a customer crisis to find them; and sometimes it takes a personal incentive such as clearing the decks before a vacation. But we all know that those hidden hours exist, buried in unnecessary meetings, inefficient work processes, interruptions, false starts, PowerPoint perfection, misplaced files, and a host of other time-wasters. Our time-wasting patterns are often invisible to us — but apparent to those around us. Also, look forward at your next couple of months and see if there are meetings or activities that you could bypass or eliminate without any consequence. For more about improving time management, see Ashkenas’ article in the Harvard Business Review.

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