CEOs Talk About Their 2015 Outlook

As they head into 2015, U.S.-based CEOs wonder if the economic glass is half-empty or half-full both in the United States and around the world. And for the first time since the Great Recession, their collective expectations for the New Year tip toward steady growth and a smoother path for doing business despite lingering questions about the strength of economic recovery.

Jim-LillieConsumers Feeling Tailwinds
Jim Lillie, CEO, Jarden

We see three- to five-percent organic growth for Jarden next year and expansion of our margins. We expect capital expenditures to be two to three percent of revenue. Because of the seasonal nature of many of our products, we tend to have a four- to six-month visibility curve on their future. And I’m not pessimistic. If you look at the U.S. economy in general, unemployment is down, real wages are going up, consumer-credit availability is good and the mortgage-default rate is plummeting. So, a lot of the headwinds are behind us.

Consumers are coming off a couple of years of frugality fatigue. They’re just kind of tired of saving and holding back. You can look at the glass as half-empty or half-full, but a lot of people saw the worst economy in their lives and now people are cautiously getting back into the water.

In Western Europe, it’s evolving nicely but remains a couple of years behind the U.S. We are happy with our progress in Asia. And there are other areas of the world that are healthy, such as many Latin American countries.

Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, the company sells consumer brands ranging from Nuk pacifiers to Holmes air purifiers had 2013 revenues of $7.4 billion.

Harley-LippmanHiring Leads the Way
Harley Lippman, CEO, Genesis10

We’ve just had close to the best two months we’ve had in almost three years, and we have a lot of growth in all of our core clients—which is a good sign. To a certain degree, our industry is a bellwether for the overall economy, and they’re hiring a lot of our people.

What’s happening with the economy is complicated. Full-time jobs have declined significantly; what’s increased is part-time jobs. One reason for this [phenomenon] is that employers have cut workers below the threshold for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

That’s very disturbing. President Obama has ignored the real issue here. It’s not sustainable. And the longer people are out of full-time work, the harder it is for them to get back into work. That can only be debilitating for our economy in the mid- and long-term.

Worldwide, we have somewhat of a recovery, but it’s complex. Europe is stagnating and some of that is due to China’s grabbing some of its growth. And we have greater challenges than in a long time—especially in the Middle East—with ISIS and the Iran nuclear threat.

The New York-based company specializes in IT consulting and staffing and had 2013 revenues of about $200 million.

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