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CEO Daily Brief – Oct. 18, 2010

Production in U.S. Likely Rose for 14th Time in 15 Months CEOs in the manufacturing industry have one industry trend …

Production in U.S. Likely Rose for 14th Time in 15 Months

CEOs in the manufacturing industry have one industry trend they can be proud of. Production in the U.S. probably grew in September for the 14th time in the 15 months since the recession officially ended. This shows that manufacturing has been a mainstay of the recovery, economists said before the release of a report from the Federal Reserve today. Output at factories, mines and utilities increased 0.2 percent for a second month, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Improving demand from overseas and a pickup in business investment on new equipment may keep benefitting American manufacturers.

However, gains have cooled from the 0.5 percent average monthly advances in the first half of the year, mimicking the slowdown in growth. The rebuilding of stockpiles, another component of the factory rebound, will probably cool following eight consecutive gains in inventories, a sign assembly lines will not accelerate much more. For details, please see a report from Bloomberg News.

U.S. Companies Are at Risk of Spying by Their Own Workers

Top executives in diverse American companies have a new kind of espionage to worry about. China and other countries have broadened their efforts to obtain Western technology, leading to American industries – beyond the traditional military and high-tech targets – risk having valuable secrets exposed by their own employees, court records show. The new trade in business secrets seems much more opportunistic and occurs in loose, underground markets throughout the world.

As economic crimes become easier to commit – in some cases as simple as downloading data and pressing "Send" –security analysts say some American companies must share the blame for thefts because they do not adequately monitor employees.

Intelligence officials say China, Russia and Iran are among the countries pushing hardest to obtain the latest technologies.

For details from The New York Times, please click here.

Most Big-Company Women CEOs Are Also Mothers, Study Finds

All but two members of the female CEO elite at big U.S. businesses are also mothers. The finding, uncovered by author Douglas Branson, throws a curveball at the "mommy track" idea, and the belief that women must choose between being mothers and reaching the corner office. At present, there are 12 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 11 of whom are moms.

The fact most big-company female CEOs have children may just state the obvious—that the highest achievers can handle big challenges, suggests Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economics professor who has studied earnings penalties linked to motherhood.

Men with children are more likely to rise into management than women with children in most major industries, including retail, health care and financial services, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report on the gender gap released Sept. 28.

To read more of the story from The Wall Street Journal, please click here.

Creativity is Vital to Managing Complexity with Current Economic Uncertainty

CEOs identified creativity as perhaps the most important leadership quality in an economically complex world. This was the result of a recent IBM study that interviewed global chief executives from September 2009 to January 2010 regarding managing complexity in this time of uncertainty. More than 60 percent of CEOs believe industry transformation is the top factor contributing to uncertainty, and the finding indicates a need to discover innovative ways of managing an organization’s structure, finances, people and strategy. To see the IBM study, please visit here.

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