It continues to amaze me how often CEOs bring up the mental health of their employees in conversation today. If talent is a CEO’s #1 concern, the mental toughness of that talent is not far behind.
Some of this is clearly a direct result of COVID. Comprehensive data is hard to come by, but the data that does exist is shocking. Cigna CEO David Cordani said that during the pandemic, “we’ve seen a 51% increase in young adolescent girls presenting to emergency rooms for attempted suicide.”
While the problem is shocking, the level of corporate concern is encouraging. Cordani, who spoke with me and Ellen McGirt on this week’s episode of our podcast Leadership Next, should have said:
“Now employers have this front and center. They understand the impact, they see the impact… in workplace engagement, presentability, productivity, employee turnover. They see the data that shows whether someone is dealing with a mental health issue themselves or in their family, they bring that into the workplace. This reduces their productivity and engagement, and it also reduces the productivity and engagement of those around them. So whether an employer looks at it through the lens of philosophy or through the lens of business, it brings them to the same place. They need to step up by expanding the dialogue, awareness programs and services around it. We think this is positive.”
You can listen to the full interview with Cordani this morning on Apple or Spotify.
Also, Micah Kaufman, CEO of Israeli freelancing platform Fiverr, stopped by the office yesterday. He said the company’s millions of customers give it a real-time window into what’s happening in global labor markets. The company saw a slowdown in the number of jobs at the beginning of the year as people canceled contracts with freelancers. And he believes the recovery will also start early, as companies hire freelancers before they hire full-time workers. For now, “freelance markets are stabilizing, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get worse.”
Kaufman went on to talk about the dangers of forecasting in today’s economy, a sentiment I hear from many CEOs:
“It was the hardest time in my history to predict anything… We used to have an extremely predictable business. Then the pandemic came along and then inflation and geopolitics and all that and created this whole mess…Running a public company and trying to provide leadership was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever faced.”
More news below.
Google has agreed to the largest online privacy settlement in US history, paying $391.5 million to the treasuries of 40 states that accused the company of misleading users into providing it with location tracking data. Google says it has already changed some of the practices that led to the settlement, but has also agreed to make location tracking information easier to understand starting next year. New York Times
A push for peace
The G20 summit in Bali produced some encouraging news on the peace front. The draft communique, which will reportedly be released today, will say the current era “must not be war” and most G20 members condemn the war in Ukraine. Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping also held a three-hour meeting in which the US leader said there should be “no new Cold War” and that a Chinese attack on Taiwan was inevitable. However, the two-way conversation did not lead to a joint statement, indicating a persistent lack of trust and agreement. Financial Times
Paris > London
The London Stock Exchange is no longer the most expensive stock exchange in Europe. The French stock market is now worth $2.823 trillion, up from $2.821 trillion, according to Bloomberg data, marking a significant turnaround from pre-Brexit times when British stocks were worth $1.5 trillion more. Former Bank of England Governor Michael Saunders: “The UK economy as a whole has been hit by Brexit.” Bloomberg
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Fear of compromise on core global temperature limit of 1.5°C as fossil fuel talk dominates COP27 By Sophie Mellor
The Rise and Fall of FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried: The 30-Year-Old Who Built a $30 Billion Empire, Then Burned It Down in 48 Hours by Chris Stockel-Walker
Binance to Create ‘Crypto Industry Recovery Fund,’ CEO Says to Associated Press
Biden’s Transportation Department cracks down on 6 airlines for overcharging, refunding passengers $600 million, Associated Press reports
Shares of TSMC soared after Warren Buffett, who rarely invests in tech stocks, bought a $5 billion stake, Bloomberg reported.
This edition CEO Daily edited by David Meyer.
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