Wisdom from Day Two of the Fortune Global Forum

Good morning.

Day Two of the Fortune Global Forum brought more insights into how CEOs are navigating a year like no other—which is undercutting their financial health, accelerating their technological transformation, and demanding more action on social issues, all at the same time. Several of the CEOs referred to it as the “defining moment” of their careers. The key challenge they face, as Hilton’s Chris Nassetta put it, is: “How do we position ourselves to be better, faster, stronger….so that we turn the crisis into opportunity.” Some excerpts:

On the speed of change:

“This whole circle of change is coming faster and closer…The real differentiator of us as leaders is being able to navigate change.”

—Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA

More on the speed of change.

“This is a new world. We won’t go back to the old world, that’s just gone. So what do we do? Do we just wait? Or do we accelerate transformation?”

—Alexandre Dayon, Chief Strategy Officer, Salesforce

Why the crisis has led CEOs to increase their commitments to social issues.

“What COVID has done is expose underlying issues in the economy in an even more stark way. SMEs and service-oriented businesses which tend to employ more women and minorities have been more heavily impacted.”

—Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard

On the defining moment:

“It occurred to me in early March that this was going to be my defining moment as CEO…How do we make sure we do the harder right, rather than the easier wrong?”

—Chip Bergh, CEO, Levi Strauss

More on the defining moment:

“This is truly the mother of all defining moments…In previous defining moments, if as a business leader you came out with the top and bottom line intact, that was defined as good enough. Now that is no longer good enough. People want to see that you’re making a positive contribution to some of these societal issues.”

—Mark Schneider, CEO, Nestlé

On the importance of reskilling:

“Every organization needs now to recommit to reskilling as a competency of their organization. I am still surprised by how many organizations still don’t have a reskilling competency, and I’m hopeful this moment will change that.”

—Liz Hilton Segel, Managing Partner, North America, McKinsey

More on reskilling.

“We see many companies today, on the one hand, laying off, restructuring, and at the same time hiring new people. It’s quite strange. What we say is it is much cheaper and much more socially responsible to look at your own workforce and look at the people you can upskill and reskill and make that investment.”

—Alain Dehaze, CEO, Adecco

On work from home and innovation:

“Our patent applications are down 50%.”

—Greg Hayes, CEO, Raytheon Technologies

On testing at airplane gates:

“It’s probably the only way we will get international travel back.”

—Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta

On empathy as a leader.

“One of the things that has been a silver lining, through Zoom and other contacts, we’ve actually become closer to our people and closer to their daily lives. All of our leaders have a better sense of the day to day lives of our employees.”

—Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow

How the crisis has broken down business hierarchies:

“All the social codes of leadership have kind of all disappeared. We are all little pictures on Zoom.”

—Alexandre Dayon, Chief Strategy Officer, Salesforce

On China:

“Capitalism and capital markets could in a few years be more embraced in China than in the United States.”

—Ray Dalio, founder, Bridgewater Associates

On the wait for a vaccine:

“We have already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses, and reequipped five manufacturing sites around the world. We will be ready if the FDA approves the vaccine…We have committed to the US government to provide this year 30 million to 40 million doses.” By the end of the first quarter “we will have 100 million doses.” (The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses per person.)”

—Albert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer

On navigating crises:

“Keep your eye on the prize. Play the long game.”

—Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England & Bank of Canada

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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