“I would not want to invest in a company that is only running their business for the short-term,” said Michael Bloomberg in opening the 3rd CEO Investor Forum (CIF), organized by the CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative (SII). “Things are changing, every business is getting disrupted . . . . You have to plan for the long-term, you have to think about what-if.”
Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and former mayor of New York City, highlighted the main point for the event, held on February 26 at Time Warner’s headquarters in NYC. After initial remarks, five CEOs—from UPS, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and Unilever—presented their long-term business plans to an audience of more than 275 major institutional investors that together represent more than $25 trillion in assets under management (AUM).
David Abney, Chairman & CEO, UPS, identified several mega-trends impacting a global logistics business and outlined key strategies to capitalize on those trends through investments in new technology, including fuel efficiency and clean vehicles, and collaborations in the fastest growing emerging markets.
Kenneth Frazier, Chairman & CEO, Merck & Co., noted that long-term investors can help managers “stiffen their spines” to focus on the long-term. In highlighting research and development as Merck's capital allocation priority, he indicated that there were "no shortcuts" to long-term value.
“CECP's CEO Investor Forums are operationalizing the call from leading investors for long term plans,” said Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP. “The third CEO Investor Forum further demonstrates the growing interest we are seeing from companies and leading investors. In the C-suite and on Wall Street, a shift is occurring from merely short-term financial thinking to the comprehensive communication of long-term plans. Eighty-six of CEOs surveyed say they have been too short-term oriented and 78% of investors surveyed yesterday agreed. CECP's CEO Investor Forums help open the door to sustainable value creation."
CECP: The CEO Force for Good, created SII to lever CECP’s network of business leaders to fundamentally change the conversation between CEOs, boards of directors, and investors, from merely short-term profits to sustained long-term corporate performance. The CEO Investor Forums are a part of SII’s effort to promote sustainable value creation and encourage the development and communication of multi-year strategies that include strategic priorities, significant stakeholders, and material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks.
“The goal of the Investor Letter and the CEO Investor Forum is to outline the expectations and provide the platform for executives to address how they are positioning their companies for growth, strategy, and risk,” said Mark Tulay, Director of CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative. “In doing so, we aim to shift trillions of dollars of ‘patient capital’ to reward companies that can mitigate risks and leverage opportunities.”
Photo: Time Warner Inc.
John Howell, Chief of Thought Leadership and Editorial Director, is a co-founder of 3BL Media, the parent company of Triple Pundit, begun in 2009. Howell oversees original editorial content procurement and creation. He is also the author of the weekly Brands Taking Stands Newsletter. He has written and edited for Elle, Artforum, High Times, the New York Times Magazine, and the LA Times. Howell is based in Wonalancet, NH.