Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert
Katie Kuehner-Hebert has more than two decades of experience writing about corporate, financial and industry-specific issues. She is based in Running Springs, Calif.

CEO of the Week: Altria Group’s William “Billy” Gifford

Altria Group Inc., the parent company of Philip Morris USA, has a new CEO: William “Billy” Gifford. Gifford had been temporarily serving in the top post as then-CEO Howard Willard contracted COVID-19 in March. Willard last month then decided to retire as chairman and CEO after working nearly three decades at the Richmond, Virginia-company and its subsidiaries. In addition to the tobacco product maker, Altria’s other units include U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.; John Middleton; Nat Sherman; Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital Corp. “Our election of Billy as the next CEO reflects the board’s belief that his collaborative leadership style, strategic mindset and deep financial and industry expertise are right to lead Altria towards that future,” newly elected chairman Thomas Farrell said in the announcement. Altria’s board separated the roles of chairman and CEO, and chose Farrell, formerly the board’s independent presiding director, to be the company’s independent chairman. “We believe we’re well positioned to make significant progress against our vision,” Gifford said in the announcement. “I’m excited to work with our strong leadership team, fantastic employees and key stakeholders to lead Altria forward in its pursuit of the 10-year vision.” Gifford is 25-year veteran of the company, most recently serving as vice chairman and CFO where he was responsible for Altria's financial functions as well as its core tobacco businesses, sales and distribution business and consumer & market insights team. He joined Philip Morris USA in 1994, and served in numerous leadership roles in strategy & business development, finance, marketing information & consumer research and as president and CEO. Prior to that, Gifford was vice president and treasurer for Altria Group. Prior to joining Philip Morris USA, he worked at the public accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand, which currently is known as PwC. For its first quarter, Altria earned $1.09 per share adjusted for non-recurring items, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 97 cents per share and representing an earnings surprise of 12.37%, according to Yahoo Finance. The company posted revenues of $5.05 billion, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.23%. “We had an excellent start to the year, growing our first-quarter adjusted diluted EPS by 18.5%, driven by the strength of our smokeable and oral tobacco products segments,” Gifford said in the earnings announcement. Due to the uncertainties related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the timing of economic recovery, Altria withdrew its full-year 2020 adjusted diluted EPS guidance of $4.39 to $4.51, as well as its 2020 to 2022 compounded annual adjusted diluted EPS growth objective of 4% to 7%. In March, Altria temporarily suspended operations at Philip Morris USA’s manufacturing center in Richmond “out of an abundance of caution” after a second employee tested positive for COVID-19. The company has since reopened the center under enhanced safety protocols and all of Altria’s manufacturing facilities are currently operational, the company said. As of April 30, the date of Altria earnings release, the company said its units had not experienced any material disruptions to their supply chains or distribution systems. The units are continuing to monitor these risks and are executing against business continuity plans.   Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia Age: 50 Education: Virginia Commonwealth University First joined company: 1994 (at subsidiary, Philip Morris USA) Prior to joining Altria: Accountant, Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) Named CEO: April 2020   Gifford is No. 121 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

CEO Of The Week: Raytheon Technologies’ Gregory J. Hayes

Gregory J. Hayes is the CEO of Raytheon Technologies Corp. after the all-stock merger of equals closed April 3 between Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. Tom Kennedy, formerly CEO of Raytheon Co., is now executive chairman of Raytheon Technologies. The Waltham, Massachusetts-based aerospace and defense company now has roughly $74 billion in pro forma 2019 net sales and a global team of 195,000 employees, including 60,000 engineers and scientists. “As we move forward, Raytheon Technologies will define the future of aerospace and defense through our focus on innovation, our world-class people and our financial and operational strength to create long-term value for our customers and shareowners,” Hayes said. Raytheon Technologies has four segments: -- Collins Aerospace Systems based in Charlotte, North Carolina, which specializes in aerostructures, avionics, interiors, mechanical systems, mission systems and power controls that serve customers across the commercial, regional, business aviation and military sectors. -- Pratt & Whitney based in East Hartford, Connecticut, which designs, manufactures and services engines and auxiliary power systems for commercial, military and business aircraft. -- Raytheon Intelligence & Space based in in Arlington, Virginia, which specializes in developing advanced sensors, training and cyber and software solutions. -- Raytheon Missiles & Defense based in in Tucson, Arizona, which provides end-to-end solutions to detect, track and engage threats. Commercial aerospace has been “particularly hard hit” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hayes this month wrote in a letter to employees. “Airline travel in the U.S. alone is down 96% and we are seeing similar trends globally,” he wrote. “Our commercial business partners have begun dramatically scaling back on their operations in order to preserve capital and protect the long-term needs of their businesses, and now we must do the same. Beginning June 1 and continuing through year-end, Raytheon will institute a temporary 10% pay reduction for all salaried employees across its corporate offices and its Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace businesses. Affected employees will be given an added 15 days off this year, with dates designated by each respective business and function leader. Hayes himself has volunteered to the board to reduce his pay by 20% for the same period. Additionally, based on the decrease in customer demand, the company’s Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace businesses will implement furlough programs across their operations for hourly employees, which will vary by country and site, factoring in customer needs, local regulations and collective bargaining agreements. Hourly employees in those businesses will be part of the furloughs but will not be impacted by the temporary reduction in pay. Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense will not be included in these actions. As the vast majority of these businesses align to the industrial defense base, these parts of the company have “a duty to stay fully operational to serve the critical needs of the U.S. Department of Defense and its allies,” Hayes wrote. “The robust strength of these segments of our business will help shield the company overall as we manage through this complex business environment.” “As we work through this crisis, we can be confident that our global team, our partners and our communities will emerge stronger — and our business and the commercial aerospace industry will once again thrive,” he wrote. “Raytheon Technologies is a diversified aerospace business with the scale and operational strength to adapt in these challenging economic times. As one company, we are stronger together.” Hayes has had a nearly 21-year career at United Technologies, holding several senior leadership roles across finance, corporate strategy and business development, culminating with his appointment to CEO in 2014 and chairman in 2016. As CEO, Hayes led the reshaping of United Technologies from industrial conglomerate to focused aerospace company. Beginning with the divestiture of Sikorsky Aircraft in 2015 and the acquisition of Rockwell Collins in 2018, Hayes continued to focus the business with the spinoffs of Otis Elevator Co. and Carrier Corp. in 2020. Hayes, who joined UTC in 1999 through its merger with the Sundstrand Corp., also served as United Technologies’s chief financial officer from 2008-2014. Headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts Age: 58 Education: Bachelor's degree, economics, Purdue University First joined company: April 2020 (upon completion of merger) Prior to joining Raytheon: CEO, United Technologies Corp. Named CEO: April 2020 He’s No. 114 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

CEO Of The Week: HP’s Enrique Lores

HP products are proving essential as most of the U.S. workforce is ordered to stay home, says CEO Enrique Lores.

CEO of the Week: Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert B. Ford

Under new CEO Ford, Abbott is providing COVID-19 point-of-care tests.

CEO of the Week: Richard D. Fairbank Capital One Financial Corp.

Capital One’s CEO Fairbank has been regarded as an executive "at the top of his game" and “among the most well-rounded individuals on the planet.”

CEO of the Week: Olivier Le Peuch of Schlumberger

On the job for less than six months, Schlumberger Ltd.’s new CEO Olivier Le Peuch is leading the world's largest oilfield services company to surpass Wall Street’s expectations. For the fourth quarter, the Houston-based company beat Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second time in a row – earning 39 cents a share adjusted for non-recurring items, compared to the analysts’ consensus of 37 cents, according to Yahoo Finance. For the third quarter, Schlumberger beat the consensus estimate by 2 pennies. As for revenues, company has topped consensus revenue estimates four times over the last four quarters. For the fourth quarter, Schlumberger posted revenues of $8.23 billion, compared to revenues of $8.18 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018. “I would like to say how proud I am of the Schlumberger team’s performance throughout 2019,” Le Peuch said in the company’s earnings call. “The progress we made in operational execution in a challenging year has been outstanding,” he said. “During the last six months, we set new benchmarks for safety and much improved our service quality performance. Execution matters greatly to our customers and is the foundation of our performance vision. I feel privileged to lead such a high-performing team.” Schlumberger is the world's leading provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry, according to the company’s website. With product sales and services in more than 120 countries and employing approximately 100,000 people who represent over 140 nationalities, Schlumberger supplies the industry's “most comprehensive range” of products and services, from exploration through production, and integrated pore-to-pipeline solutions that optimize hydrocarbon recovery to deliver reservoir performance. Le Peuch assumed the top post in August after longtime CEO Paal Kibsgaard retired. “Olivier possesses the company’s values, an in-depth knowledge of our business, and a proven industry track record—all together, he is ideally suited to lead Schlumberger into the next chapter of our history,” Kibsgaard said in the company’s July announcement of Le Peuch’s appointment. In his 32 years with Schlumberger, Le Peuch has held a variety of global management positions. Prior to his current position, he served as the company’s chief operating officer. Le Peuch previously held various global management roles, including executive vice president of reservoir and infrastructure; president of the Cameron Group; president of Schlumberger Completions; vice president of engineering, manufacturing and sustaining; and president of Software Integrated Solutions. In addition, Le Peuch held a number of leadership roles, including management of technology development in both Europe and the United States. He joined Schlumberger in 1987 as an electrical engineer and spent his early career in custom software integration and development and in high-temperature electronics development for wireline equipment. He’s No. 97 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies Headquarters: Houston Age: 56 Education: Bordeaux Engineering School; Bordeaux University of Science First joined company: 1987 Prior to joining Schlumberger: N/A Named CEO: 2018

CEO of the Week: Christopher M. Crane of Exelon

Cleaner air and affordable, reliable energy “are no longer mutually exclusive objectives,” says Exelon's Christopher M. Crane.

CEO of the Week: John May of Deere & Co.

Farm and construction equipment maker Deere & Co. has a new CEO: John C. May. In November, May, 50, assumed the top post at the Moline, Ill.-based company, as Samuel R. Allen, 65, stepped down while maintaining the board chairmanship. May had served as Deere's president and chief operating officer since April. “John's record of success and proven leadership skills make him highly qualified to lead Deere and guide its success in the years ahead,” Allen said in August, when the company’s board announced May’s election to CEO and to the board of directors. “His experience in precision agriculture, information technology, and overseas operations will be instrumental in driving the company's digitalization journey and extending its success in agricultural and construction equipment,” Allen said. May joined Deere in 1997 and became part of the senior management team in 2012 as president, agricultural solutions and chief information officer. Last year, he was named president, worldwide agriculture and turf division, with responsibility for the Americas and Australia, the global harvesting, turf and utility, and crop care platforms, and intelligent-solutions group. In addition, May has experience in Deere's worldwide construction and forestry division having been factory manager at the John Deere Dubuque Works. In other roles, he was vice president, global turf and utility platform, and managing director of Deere's China operations during a period of significant growth. He joined John Deere in 1997 after working as a management consultant at KPMG Peat Marwick. In the third quarter, Deere reported net income of $722 million, or $2.27 a share, compared with $785 million, or $2.42 a share, a year ago – and 15 cents above the analysts’ consensus estimate polled by FactSet, according to MarketWatch. Excluding one-time items, earnings were $2.14 a share, a penny above the estimate. Sales rose 5% to $9.9 billion – above the $8.47 billion analysts had expected. Deere's performance reflected “continued uncertainties in the agricultural sector,” May said in the company’s earnings release. “Lingering trade tensions coupled with a year of difficult growing and harvesting conditions have caused many farmers to become cautious about making major investments in new equipment,” he said. “Additionally, financial services results have come under pressure due to operating-lease losses.” At the same time, general economic conditions have remained favorable for the company, May said. “This has supported demand for smaller equipment and led to solid results for Deere's construction and forestry business, which had a record year for sales and operating profit,” he said. He’s No. 85 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies Headquarters: Moline, Illinois Age: 50 Education: University of Maine, MBA First joined company: 1997 Prior to joining Deere: Management consultant at KPMG Peat Marwick. Named CEO: August 2019

Under CEO Oscar Munoz, United Airlines Holdings Inc. Ups Its 2019...

United Airlines Holdings is having such a good year so far that CEO Oscar Munoz raised the airline's forecast for the year’s results. The Chicago-based airline reported a third-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $4.07, 33% higher than a year earlier and 10 cents higher than the consensus Wall Street analyst estimate. United also raised its full year 2019 adjusted diluted EPS1 guidance, with a new range of $11.25 to $12.25. "While headwinds affected the sector as a whole this quarter, United’s team once again demonstrated a robust ability to overcome adverse cost pressure, managing to continue growing our network while investing in winning our customers’ loyalty through smart enhancements to the United experience,” Munoz said. “Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our employees, United extended our streak of expanding pre-tax margin on a quarterly basis,” he added. “It provides us further confidence to raise our full year 2019 adjusted diluted EPS guidance, putting us ahead of pace to achieve our goal of $11 to $13 in adjusted diluted EPS by the end of 2020.” On the company’s earnings conference call, Munoz detailed some of United’s recent initiatives to improve passenger experience, including the launch of its ConnectionSaver tool that helps save passengers from missing their flight connections; the deployment of new CR J550 aircraft for regional flights; a “refreshed” United app and expanded complementary snack options. “But ultimately, what makes all of those enhancements truly come alive are the people who deliver them and serve our customers every day,” he said. Munoz, with broad experience in both the transportation industry and large consumer brands, was named United’s president and CEO in 2015. Previously, he served as president, CEO and board director of freight transportation company CSX Corp. Before joining CSX, Munoz held the position of chief financial officer and vice president of consumer services at AT&T Corp. Prior to joining AT&T, he served as senior vice president of finance and administration for U.S. West, regional vice president of finance and administration for Coca-Cola Enterprises and held various financial positions at PepsiCo. Munoz has served on the board of directors of United since 2010 and served on the board of directors of Continental Airlines Inc. from 2004 to 2010. He is active in several industry coalitions and philanthropic and educational organizations including the University of North Florida’s Board of Trustees and the PAFA advisory board of Vanderbilt University. He’s No. 77 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies. Headquarters: Chicago, IL Age: 60 Education: Pepperdine University, MBA First joined company: 2010 Prior to joining United: CEO of CSX Corp. Named CEO: 2015

Rutledge Leads Charter Communications Into New Ventures

Thomas M. Rutledge is chairman and CEO of Charter Communications Inc., the nation’s second-largest cable company with more than 92,000 employees and 26 million customers across 41 states. For the third quarter, the Stamford, Conn.-based company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings amid an increase in new internet customer users, which helped offset a drop in video and wireless subscribers, according to TheStreet.com. Charter earned $387 million, or $1.74 a share, compared $493 million, or $2.11 a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $1.67 a share. Revenue for the quarter was $11.45 billion, compared to consensus estimates of $11.41 billion. “Although our product mix is different today than it was several years ago, we're driving customer relationship growth given our superior products, pricing and network, combined with execution capabilities that continue to improve,” Rutledge said in the company’s earnings call with analysts. Quarter highlights include the October launch of Charter’s advanced in-home Wi-Fi in Austin, Texas, he said. Overtime, the company will roll out the product to its entire footprint, starting with additional markets in late 2019. “Given our network, software operating platform and top rated subs support tool, we’re in a unique position to provide enhanced security privacy and control over all IP devices in our customers home, easily managed by customers in a single app, while simultaneously delivering a superior customer experience through better in-home Wi-Fi coverage, and managed Wi-Fi solutions through dynamic bands switching and channel optimization within the bands,” Rutledge said. Charter also recently launched Spectrum Mobile services to small and medium business customers in all channels, he said. “Mobile remains a key area of our focus for China going forward and we're uniquely positioned to take advantage of wireline and wireless network convergence overtime with our fully distributed wireline network,” Rutledge said. The company is also considering a streaming video offering similar to Comcast’s Xfinity Flex product, he said. During the call, Rutledge was also asked recent speculation that Charter might use technologies including CBRS and dual-SIM to move traffic off the Verizon network, thus making their respective mobile offerings far more profitable, according to Multichannel News “We’ve talked about dual SIM technology opportunities and the testing that we've done, and we're quite optimistic about the capability of that strategy,” Rutledge said. “We’re quite optimistic about the ability to make select investments in areas where traffic dictates in such a way as to move services that we pay rent for on to our own platform and that opportunity already exists with Wi-Fi and a significant number of our customers.” According to Rutledge, 80% of data used on Spectrum Mobile is transmitted via Wi-Fi. If Charter could offload anything close to half the cost of monthly service onto its own network, "it would be a game-changer," said Moffett Nathanson principal analyst Craig Moffett. “We think there's continued opportunity to move traffic that way, and we've experimented with a bunch of methodologies to do that and CBRS does work very well,” Rutledge said. “And as you know there's a significant amount of free CBRS spectrum available which we've been using. We've also done some experiments with that spectrum with fixed wireless connectivity. We've got an experiment going with that too and actual live customers going in rural low density areas. So it's a pretty valuable piece of spectrum. There's some private spectrum of CBRS that's going to be auction next year. The question we're evaluating is should we be involved in that. But we haven't determined that yet but we're looking at it closely.” Prior to becoming CEO of Charter in 2012, Rutledge, a 40-year veteran of the industry, served as chief operating officer of Cablevision Systems. He began his career in 1977 at American Television and Communications (ATC), a predecessor of Time Warner Cable where he served in many different capacities, eventually becoming president of Time Warner Cable. Rutledge is the current Chairman of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and serves on the boards of CableLabs and C-SPAN. In 2011, he received NCTA’s Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the cable industry’s highest honor, and is a member of the Cable Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. He’s No. 70 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies. Headquarters: Stamford, CT Age: 66 Education: California University of Pennsylvania, B.A. First joined company: 2012 Prior to joining Bunge: COO of Cablevision Systems Named CEO: 2012
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