PowerTalk

Fellow Investors,

Thanks for joining me again this week at PowerTalk. If you’re new to the show, this is the place where I have one-on-one conversations with CEOs of public and private companies as well as other key people in business, politics and any sector that could impact our investing decisions. 

I’m your host Chris Versace, editor of the investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits and my goal with PowerTalk is to take you behind the scenes and in the know.

Can we count on the CEO?

 

I always get a bunch of questions from subscribers to PowerTrend Profits or at my public speaking engagements. But the one question that tends to crop up rather frequently is what do I think of this CEO or that CEO? Are they doing a good job running the company? Can we count on them?

My answer is that over my 20+ years of dissecting industries and companies, I’ve found that there are some great CEOs out there, but there are also some that should be gone. Take it from me,-- someone who sat across the table from a number of CEOs -- there are some who get it and then are some who don’t see the writing on the walls. 

Like many, I hold Steve Jobs the former CEO of Apple (AAPL) in high regard as well as A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble (PG), Jim Bezos at Amazon.com (AMZN) and Howard Schultz at Starbucks (SBUX) and a number of others.  

Each of these gentlemen have done fantastic jobs at each of their companies and I would argue that in their own right each recognized the power of PowerTrends to transform their companies.  

  • Steve Jobs clearly saw the impact of being Always On, Always Connected when he and his team were developing the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iCloud;
  • Howard Schultz is targeting growth outside the U.S. by capitalizing on The Rise and Fall of the Middle Class;
  • Naren K Gursahaney, the CEO of ADT Corp. (ADT) a Safety & Security company is seeing his business benefit from the rebound in housing, but is also looking to the future by bringing to market a number of connected services that will sweeten ADT’s revenue per customer. 

 Unfortunately for you and me, for each really good CEO out there, there are a number that, well, let’s face it -- need to go. Two examples in my view are Steve Ballmer at Microsoft (MSFT) and Andrew Mason at Groupon (GRPN). It seems that no matter what these CEOs do, the companies don’t seem to get any traction and that's not good for shareholders.

CEO’s and what you Need to Know

 

As you can imagine, evaluating a CEO and his or her team is necessary, if not crucial, for me to have a high degree of confidence in the team’s strategy and its ability to execute.  

If you can’t get behind what the management team is doing, you can’t get behind the stock. It’s a deal breaker plain and simple.

 That’s why I was thrilled to talk with Bob Kelleher, author of Creativeship, and founder of The Employee Engagement Group. Over the years, Bob has worked with Shell, the TJX Companies (TJX), Prudential, Abbot Labs (ABT), Fidelity, the Center for Disease Control, Balfour Betty, Unocal and dozens of others.  

Over the course of our PowerTalk, we discuss a number of key issues when it comes to being a successful leader and Bob shares his quadrant view on company performance, leadership and employee engagement. All told, Bob shares ways to identify those CEOs and others that are true leaders and charting the course ahead. 

As I mentioned earlier, identifying the CEO that can not only talk the talk but walk the walk is key.

Here are some other nuggets from my PowerTalk with Bob Kelleher:

 

  • It’s not just technology companies like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) that are innovators. Proctor & Gamble (PG), Nike (NKE), General Electric (GE) and even well known denim company Levi Strauss are great examples of how a company can bring new products to market in and many cases create new product categories. I agree with Bob whole heartily on this and that’s why each of those companies are contenders for different PowerTrends. 
  • Innovation needs to be sustainable and not simply a one hit wonder like we saw at Motorola, now owned by Google, and Sears (SHLD). While a new product can create some great excitement at a company, if there is not follow up and follow through all that excitement can simply flame out.
  • We need to avoid those companies that are not recognizing the sand shifting under their feet. Bob mentions Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL) as two examples and as subscribers to PowerTrend Profits, I have voiced my concern over the direction of those two companies that lack a smartphone, tablet and connected device strategy. 

 

Yep, there’s a lot of ground to cover in this week's PowerTalk with Bob Kelleher so let’s get to it.

 

Direct download: 02-28-13_CREATIVESHIPPOWERTALK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:57pm EST