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Home >News >World >What CEOs are seeing and saying about covid, the election and the economy

This is what some of the world’s corporate leaders are saying on their quarterly earnings calls about issues ranging from Covid-19 to the U.S. presidential election.

The Pandemic

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. CEO Lisa Su:

“Our core business is doing very well. I think if you look at some of the components of that, the PC market environment is strong. If you look at all the work from home, school from home trends, I think that has certainly helped this year." (Oct. 27)

AutoNation Inc. CEO Mike Jackson:

“What’s happening here is a reorientation and prioritization of the household budget. What the American people are saying and doing is: ‘You know what, I want to move away from density. I want more space at home. I may be working more at home in the future than I thought I would be. And by the way, I love the independence of deciding when I move around and how I move around, and I’m not real excited to get back on public transportation.’ The fact that we have very attractive interest rates is a multiplier effect on this reorientation of the household budget." (Oct. 21)

Reopening the U.S.

Coca-Cola Co. CEO James Quincey:

“We continue to see progress, but the environment remains dynamic, and it is not a straight-line recovery around the world.…It’s important to remember the world is in a fragile state. We see reopening trends moderating and signs of stalling in September with the increase of restrictions in several markets. There is potential for increased regional lockdowns as we enter colder seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. We are prepared for setbacks." (Oct. 22)

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CEO Brian Niccol:

“We’re getting close to being back to where we were performing pre-Covid, even though we’re still in a Covid world. And, clearly, the composition of our sales are different, coming from our much more significant digital business." (Oct. 22)

Delta Air Lines Inc. CEO Edward H. Bastian:

“To see a meaningful step up in demand from here, we’ll need business travel to further improve, local quarantines to end and international restrictions to lift. That will only come with widespread advances by the medical community and offices reopening, which many expect will start to happen in the first half of next year." (Oct. 13)

American Airlines Group Inc. CEO Doug Parker:

“Certainly, you’ll see a better environment than we have today, irrespective of what may or may not have happened as it relates to the pandemic itself, because people are getting more and more comfortable with travel. And cities are opening up, and business is returning somewhat. So I think six months from now, it will certainly be better." (Oct. 22)

Netflix Inc. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos:

“Look, I think what’s been happening with consumers’ desire to see films at home has been growing, and we’ve been satisfying it. And I think that was kind of a natural migration that was already happening that this may have accelerated in some dimensions. But I think, at some point, theaters are going to reopen and people are going to go back out to the theaters. I hope so." (Oct. 20)

The Economy

JPMorgan Chase & Co. financial chief Jennifer Piepszak:

“We saw a surge in M&A activity this quarter with announced volumes returning to pre-Covid levels as companies began to shift their focus from day-to-day operations to more strategic and opportunistic thinking." (Oct. 13)

Union Pacific Corp. CEO Lance Fritz:

“We saw the economy coming back through the quarter. It snapped back pretty quickly and then grew more slowly, a little bit in fits and starts." (Oct. 22)

Unilever PLC CEO Alan Jope:

“We’ve moved from response mode to now living with Covid-19. But the environment that we’re operating in remains highly unpredictable, and we believe an economic downturn is inevitable. We think that planning for a quick macroeconomic recovery is too optimistic, and we don’t expect to see an acceleration in the near future." (Oct. 22)

Restaurant Brands International Inc. CEO José Cil:

“Our guests are still grappling with considerable uncertainty around the evolution of the pandemic and associated response measures as well as the implications for the economy and availability of stimulus and other resources." (Oct. 27)

The Rise of Digital

Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella:

Overall, what we have learned over whatever—the last nine months or so—is the best way for any business to ensure both resilience as well as pivot and transform and reimagine how to work with some of the constraints is digital tech. So whether it’s infrastructure, whether it’s data or on [software as a service], it’s in fact increased adoption rate. (Oct. 27)

Nestle SA CEO Mark Schneider:

“This is the coming of age when it comes to digital in food and beverage. (Oct. 21)

Supply Chains

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. CEO Lisa Su:

“Our second half has certainly been very strong, and it was stronger than we originally planned. And so we’ve worked closely with our suppliers to improve the supply availability. And I would say that, even with that, demand still exceeds supply in certain segments.…We’re working very closely across the supply chain to ensure that we have enough wafer capacity as well as back-end capacity. And we’re going to continue to work on that. But certainly, there are areas where we would like the supply to be higher." (Oct. 27)

Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella:

On the supply chain side, we have worked through. We did get, when we had the initial rush, we did have demand surges that needed us to sort of work through on our supply chain. We feel very good right now on how the supply is working to support the demand. (Oct. 27)

Unilever PLC CEO Alan Jope:

“There’s a crazy notion that nationalizing your supply chain creates greater resilience. That’s not the case. It’s having a globally connected supply chain with multiple points of back up." (Oct. 22)

Politics

Northrop Grumman Corp. CEO Kathy Warden:

“We expect to see continued, strong, bipartisan support for national security in the future as indicated by the $740 billion targeted for fiscal year 2021 appropriations.…While we plan for various budget scenarios, defense spending is largely threat-driven. And today’s threat environment warrants a strong defense. Emerging threats are intensifying, and we believe both political parties are committed to effectively countering these threats." (Oct. 22)

Union Pacific Corp. CEO Lance Fritz:

“What we care about, regardless of who is in the administration, regardless of who controls Congress, is we want elected officials to focus on free, fair and open trade. We want them to be focused on helping the industrial economy grow and thrive in the United States. That means solid infrastructure and good tax policy." (Oct. 22)

Southwest Airlines Co. CEO Gary Kelly:

“We know what the current administration’s view is on imposing quarantines. What we wouldn’t know is…if we have a new administration, what would they require? We just don’t know. And so that would be a concern, and it would certainly blunt the air travel recovery, if you have to contend with quarantine, no question about it." (Oct. 22)

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. CEO David Deno:

[On former Vice President Joe Bidenproposing to raise the minimum wage to $15:] “We don’t know where the policy is going to go.…We’ll be ready for whatever comes to fruition. A very large majority of our employees make above $15 an hour. So we’ll be ready, and we’ll be ready to address it and move forward." (Oct. 23)

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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