LIVE: Yahoo Finance's Andy Serwer moderates a panel of top CEOs at the Milken Conference
Ladies. And gentlemen please welcome your, panel on shifting. Tides how, CEOs, navigate, today's challenges. Moderated. By editor-in-chief, of Yahoo Finance. Andy server. All. Right good morning everyone I'm Andy serwer editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance, and welcome to this stellar, panel we. Have an incredible, lineup here, of super, accomplished, CEOs, who, are leading some of the most iconic companies. On the planet and I will introduce stem, to. You right now on the far left David Solomon goldman sachs barbara, hampton CEO, of Siemens USA, Jeff Harmony CEO. Of General Mills to my right carmine DeSapio CEO. Elect, of ey. July, 1st and then, to the far right Bob Backus chief executive, of Viacom. So. I think this discussion is, really all about how. The responsibilities. Of the chief executives, have changed, and if, you think about it this way so traditionally. Being a CEO you had 10 Q's 10 KS in your reports annual meetings board meetings operating. Heads. Strategic. Stuff a little M&A then, you do some succession, you're. Gone and, that's. All very very different right, now and. I think over the past five and 10 years there's been a whole host of new issues things. Like diversity and inclusiveness. Sustainability. And the environment, privacy. And those. Types of issues along, of course with technology, and I think the point is is that while, maybe, 10 years ago these are sort of peripheral issues, you bring someone in once a quarter to maybe have a little conversation put, some in the annual report these. Are all very core, core, issues and increasingly, their core, to the business, so it's not something you just like bring the person in anymore it actually. Entails. Working, with all the constituencies, that a CEO has to engage with so of course employees, and shareholders and, business heads etc so, the discussion, today I'm started to be a little bit long-winded is about, how David's, looking at me like come on is. It it's. About how you. Guys that all of your companies, are changing. And engaging. With your constituents, with regard to these historically. Non core issues that all of a sudden have become very, very core and with that I want to I want to turn to the chief executives, and maybe David start with you and ask you so. With all these types, of things to choose from say diversity inclusiveness, all. Those things I talked about nevermind nology how do you choose.
Which. Ones to focus on with regard to Goldman Sachs and are they things that you're interested in personally, or do they speak to, the line business, of Goldman. Well. Thank you for having me I'm happy to be here with with all the other panelists. You. Listed a bunch every, every single topic that you listed, are, things that were focused on at Goldman Sachs were focused on them because, they're, relevant to Goldman Sachs they're, relevant to our clients, they're, relevant to our shareholders. The relevant to our employees, and so. I don't think you have the luxury of picking and choosing and I, think these organizations. That we all run are big. Complex, global, platforms, and, as. You're. Involved, and engaged in, big complex, global platforms, you, have to have a system. You know for appropriately, addressing, working, on, making. Progress on, all these issues I think one of the biggest evolutions, for. Me just personally, and making the transition I'm, a I'm a new CEO only. Seven months is I've, always thought about perfection. In the context, of everything I've, done now I think much more about progress, so. You know how are you making progress on these issues as. Opposed to perfection, but I think they're issues that we all have to wrestle with Bob. Let me go over to you obviously. Your. Business is about content, creation to a great degree you. Have audiences out there that are global, that are diverse, does. That mean that's sort of a key area for you to focus on yeah, sure look I look at the role of CEO, as, leading, a company through, what, is clearly you. Know a changing, marketplace as, you as you point out we do that on. A global basis, and you. Know in that, role, you certainly, need to have a plan you need to have priorities. Part of that, gets, to making, sure you can execute well and part, of executing well goes to the, culture of the company which you, know is really core for. Not. Only. Attracting. Employees but, retaining, them and having them do their best work and and so in that regard. You. Know we have a set, of priorities and. Many. Of them actually trace back to our, audiences, we you, know we've long been yes. A content, creation company, really one, that is passionate. About the audience as we serve be them children be them young adults, be them. Adults. All around the world and we. Think we're. Able to do our best work when our company, mirrors those audiences, so from. A composition, standpoint, so things, like diversity, inclusion whether that's related. To gender, whether, that's related to visual, diversity, whether that's related to other, forms of diversity it's. Very important, to us and and a priority, and again it, feeds this culture, which allows people to do their best work and quite frankly stay, and grow at our company, in, a world where there's a lot of opportunity. Barbara. I want to turn it over to you so Siemens. Working. With industrial. Customers. And I think for, instance about oil and gas with you guys a lot of different types of businesses that you touch and so. Perhaps climate, change and, sustainability, are critical. To what you guys are doing you're absolutely right. You. Know Siemens. Is a company, that has built its business strategy around. Global, megatron's, if. You think about climate change you, think about the, urbanization. Of the globe the aging, demographics. Of people the ever interconnected. Global supply, chain and the. Digitalization, of everything, these are the, things that we bring our know-how to, work to solve every single day and so I'd. Echo Bob's comment about alignment. Getting. The cultural, alignment. Knowing. That we're building a workforce that is dedicated. To solving these problems, those. Are the those are the topics that we need to speak up about so. You'll hear us talking a lot as Siemens about sustainability. Goals a goal to be carbon, neutral by 2030. And all the progress we're making toward, that but. Maybe the most important, area right now for us to speak up on is workforce development here, in the US we have record, low unemployment. So, getting involved, in activities like the American, workforce policy, advisory, aboard using. Our voice to, help find.
Ways To create new pathways, and generate opportunity, for Americans, these, are things that you, know any, CEO would, proud to support, great. At carmine, you guys are, in the people business in, a big way I mean you have a giant, global workforce and, I, was just delighted to hear backstage, when we were talking that you, are giving your, employees. The, whole week, of fourth. Of July off, Wow. I want, to go work for you why that's awesome. But. How can you do that how. Can you do that I mean doesn't that kill your P&L, no. So, so, first of all thanks, for having me and. You. Know today, the, average age of one. Of our employees is twenty seven and a half years old so to David's point the. Millennials, that, is basically, our employee base and, so. We have to really figure out ways to make sure that they're interested they're, doing interesting work they. Are, progressing, and they're learning, those. Are incredibly, important, so, we've done all the math and and the, cost to us and this is only in the u.s. we're not giving. Fourth of July often in Great Britain. For. Them no but but it is but it is something that we've done all the math and and the math works you, know one of the things you, know when you're going to professional, services are you going to financial services or probably a lot of the industries up here people, work hard and they, work hard most. Of the years so this was really a little, giveaway that has a long long, way to go we have, 270,000. People globally, in, over 150, countries so. We, talked about a complicated. Platform, it's a complicated, platform, but. What's more even, more important, and I think is going to be more important going forward is, culture. As Barbara said because. All, of us we were you. Know joking around backstage were all like clients, of one another we all have to work with one another and having. That type of culture going, forward, it. Is incredibly, important, because as we move forward the. Definition. Of a company, or corporation is, going to get much more vague with a global ecosystem. And everyone, working together joint, managers it's, there or already it's, only going to be more and, Jeff. I want to talk to you about your. Unique perspective because first. Running a food company which, is awesome. 150. Year old business and. You've worked there for decades, which. Is different maybe from well some of you who worked at companies for your companies a long time but, in any event I. Want to ask you sort, of how the, CEO role, has changed. Since. You sort of had that perspective, as you've moved up through, the company and. Obviously you know food that business has just been roiled, over, the past decade, yes. So it's really an honor to be able to to be here but also to be. Able to lead one of America's. Best. Food companies longest live food companies so started on the banks of the Mississippi River in, 1866. And what's interesting is to be able to to, lead a company that, is 150, years old and probably the greatest change we're seeing and in the food landscape in quite some time and you know we talk to our employees a lot we've been around 150, years because we've been willing to change that because we haven't and and now, as we think about the change I would say first it comes in the form of consumer food values, and how those food values have changed 20. Years ago General Mills was not in the natural and organic food, business now we're the second largest in the country eighteen. Months ago we were not in the pet food business now we're the largest natural pet food producer. In the u.s. so that's changed, what's, also changed, is the, focus on climate, and the. Food industry contributes. A lot to climate change and so General. Mills is really involved in a lot of sustainable, agricultural, practices things like regenerative, agriculture which. We're really proud of which we're really gonna need in order to prevent climate change and then finally what's changed, is is really, demands on, inclusiveness. And General, Mills has always fostered, a culture of belonging that's never more important that it is right now so in, 2012. General Mills supported. Gay, marriage in in, Minneapolis, very proud of what we have done there 49. Percent of our professionals. Are women, 40, percent of our officers are women, and so what we've seen is a real change in the workforce and the expectations.
Rightly So on us, as employers to represent, the people that that we serve so let's, just let me just follow up quickly on that gay marriage how was that an issue that, came. To the fore of your company I mean why did you guys decide that that was important, well. For us we're fought, we want to make sure that we are reflecting, the people that we serve and our employee blade base and we want all of our employees to come to General Mills feeling, as if they can give our their best because when they give their best than, the company prospers, and the people that, we serve prosper, and so we, have a large and a large number of LGBT, folks, in our workforce and we want to make sure that they knew they fit into General Mills as, as well as everybody else and one of the things that's really interesting is that over, the past year General Mills has won awards for, from, from, the military for how, we've incorporated military, people into General Mills from. From. The people of people of color networks from LGBT, and, so we've, been able to develop this this culture, of belonging, I would say that, includes perspectives, from a variety of different places which is only served to make us better great. Um. David, I want to talk to you about technology and, you know obviously as I said at the beginning it's something that's changing, all of your businesses maybe, yours the most or at least as much, as anyone elses I mean it's it's a life changing, everybody's right right so. How. Are you coping I mean it's just and how are you keeping up personally, this is so talked about how the CEOs role has changed you could spend all day getting updates, from your team in terms, of how technology, was changing the capital markets for instance so. How, do you stay abreast and how do you know when to make changes, at Goldman and which businesses, to get into how to place your bets well, you, know I think anyone who's running anyone who's running a big company the first thing to do is you've gotta have great people you've got to rely on your people and so, you know we're talking about we're. Talking when you talk about technology broadly. Across a platform like Goldman Sachs we. Obviously use, technology. A lot of our businesses, actually operate, on technology, platforms, are our, base market, making businesses, for institutional, clients, used, to be analog, businesses, there are now really platform, businesses, now, the. Technology the, data that's available the information, the way it's connected, to clients presented with clients, things, everybody in the industry is spending a lot of time on I think you have to invest I think one of the big challenges and one of the reasons why in our business scale matters so much is, the amount of capital that you need to spend to, have the best technology be, in the best position to serve your clients is, increasing. At a reasonable. Pace I think, you've got to pick the, opportunities, that you can't foe Hasaan we're all limited, in terms of what we can't invest in it's, no different than any other part of the strategy what, are your priorities what.
Are The returns that you'll get from those priorities, over time what's. Maintaining. The institution. And what's investing, in the future of the institution and so, you, know I think everyone uses a template, that's, relatively, similar in terms of evaluating, that whether, it's technology, or its entering you, know a new business it's adjacent to one of your businesses but if you look at things like say Robo advisors, and passive, investing, and those things which are aided by technology to, a great degree do, you see them as disrupting. Your business and then do you have to directly respond, to them well you know just disrupting. Is. Disrupting. Has a very strong you know connotation, to it I I would, say that they're evolving the business you know for sure and so, you know the evolution of. Passive. Products, Robo advisors, etc, those, are big businesses, those businesses, are going to continue to grow but. We run a very very large active, asset management platform, we've been focused on being an active. Full-service, global, advisor and the active net in the asset management business we. Are adding, you, know some platforms, that are more technology, driven especially. As we broaden. Out to try to soothe conserve, consumers, more broadly which, is relatively new for Goldman Sachs but. It's it's an evolutionary, change and these changes, take generally. Longer than people think Bart. Where do you feel. Technology. Anxiety, in. Your role I mean do you feel this you know that you have to keep up and do you sometimes, feel that you're getting you, know behind and, you, need to rely on your team to keep you abreast although it's interesting you would ask the question that way because the, answer is no I'm. A, natural optimist, so I, tend, to look and see what's happening, and see the opportunity, that's ahead of all of our folks so, not only for our own operations. Bringing. Digital, and bringing you know new technologies, into our own operation, but now turning around and serving our customers who are all going through some, kind of digital, disruption. In. Each one of their businesses, you, see Siemens, has, been, around, for over a hundred and seventy years, and always. Focused, on bringing electrification, and, automation, to, world and so. Here we are on the brink of being, able to bring. Digital and, data, to. Subjects. That have been largely driven by analog, processes. You know sort of decades-long, planning. I think, that we're about to that point where you could apply Moore's law to, infrastructure. Because. We, now have access to data and things, can change very rapidly so. About a decade, or more ago. Siemens. Actually made their first big, software, purchase, and. Started. To build a, capability. In, product. Lifecycle management. Creating digital twins, for, our customers, and we're. Now one of the top ten software, companies, in the world it's quite a transformation. The. Key thing people keep asking me at this stage is does this mean that robots, will be taking, over our jobs and the, answer is very clearly, no, where. We're headed is actually elevating. The role of the human where we're going, is actually just expanding.
What's Humanly possible. So I think is it's an incredibly, exciting, time to be here following, up on that automation, point though I mean no, doubt, automation. Is causing. Job losses and so, you're in that business does. That concern you and are you also in, the business of helping people, who. May be losing jobs because of automation if jobs are changing that's, for darn sure right, and so we're doing things like apprenticeships. That are bringing the, experience, of the hands-on. Manufacturing. Capabilities. With the mechatronics. Courses. That community, colleges, can offer so, that our so, that our workforce if they, take the initiative if they have the curiosity they. Can actually get on that road, every. Employee is offered the chance through our learning campus to do a digital readiness check, it just is a sort, of rubric to help you understand, where where are you on the digital journey and then it gives suggestions, about the kinds of coursework, or experiences. That could help close those gaps so so. The opportunities, are around us we're, using actually, the resources, of the Siemens foundation, to. Make these capabilities. Available. Within, industry, writ large. So. That it's not just about us right this is about helping our customers helping, our communities. Build. The skills that are needed for the future great. Did. You want to jump in no. Bob. I want to talk to you about this. Content, creation business, because man it's never been more fraud in many. Ways and when, I'm I guess, alluding. To is polarization. In. Our society, and different. Political views and, you've got you know let's face it wild, and woolly people, making things for, Nickelodeon MTV. Vh1 and. All of a sudden you've got some Wow headache. Because. Someone's. Out there saying something, on one of your shows never, I bet every day so. So how do you how do you rein that in I mean on the one hand it's a strength right to have creative, people of course but to have them sort of pushing the limits is what I mean on the other hand it, can go too far and how do you sort.
Of Balance that well. Look at. The core as you said we're creative content, company and we need to. Have people whether, there are employees. Or partners we work with. Bringing. Their best self to work in creating, the best product, and so. You. Know that by definition. Requires. A. Fairly. Loose rope with respect to, seeing. Ideas, and content come to life and by the way I do get emails on a regular basis. From. People complaining. About something, someone, did I got, a bunch of emails about something Trevor Noah said last week and, you. Know the first time you get those. It. Kind, of jarring but at the end of the day you, know people are choosing what content, to watch they don't have to watch our, content and so, we. Think it's it it's appropriate, that there's different, opinions on air or online or, whatever the the medium is that said. We. Also you. Know have a responsibility. We. Have a responsibility. To. Protect our employees and ensure their safety, and. We have broader. Sponsibility, reflect, on our audiences, and it's why we're. Active in many camp in many issues. That are important whether that's bullying. Or obesity and in the form of children, and. There was a case a couple years ago where, there was a particular, piece of content. That. Was made, that. Depicted. Something, that. We. Thought was risky. Particularly. In some places outside the US and we. Made a very unusual decision. To limit the access to that because we didn't want to put our employees at risk but but, that is a very long tail probability, thing in general, look. You never know where the next hit is going to be that's that's sort of like the magic of the entertain building when one, of our competitors, you know as a film that did a billion to in the last few. Days and I think everyone thought it'd be a big movie but that's a really big movie last, year we had a film, called. Quiet place. Which. Was. A very inexpensive. Movie, to make, I had great talent in the form of John Krasinski, and his wife helm Emily, Blunt in it but. It. It. Caught something, on people and it turned out to be a much bigger movie, than we thought, and, you, know that was just a cool creative, idea that someone came up with that. We executed, well again so you, don't want to keep it too tight right no you have to let stuff flourish, and you have to recognize that not everyone's, gonna like it and by the way lastly, in this social. Media infused, world. Which. By the way is what I think is really driving all the polarization, because theoretically, it, lets everyone have a voice but in reality the, only voices that cut through are the extreme voices they. Drown out everything else and that's a problem, I think. But net-net you're gonna hear about the stuff you're doing good bad or not, indifferent you're gonna hear the good or the bad just. To follow up so do, you have mandates, that come from your office in terms of hey why don't you guys create some content, about bullying, or let's. Make sure that your shows have this much diversity or let's, make sure our slate of movies has. This. These. Different types of people in it we. Certainly, don't have mandates coming from my office on that as CEO I believe you can only do a couple things, you, can set a vision in the strategy, you can build a management team and then you can watch the execution and yeah you can go call on clients, from time to time or, do something else but at the core that's not what you're doing cuz you can't not, in a globe spanning. Business. And so when. You're setting a strategy, you're setting values. And. Things like the, importance of culture the importance, of diversity. Inclusion that you can do but, you don't go mandate, okay, all the half. A dozen films have to do this or these TV shows after that no you're, building a management team and your management team is executing, and if if, they're successful they'll, get more responsibility. And if they're unsuccessful you'll, make some changes and keep going that's really the way you execute, because you, have to rely on your team there's no other way to do it great.
Okay Carmen I want to ask you about a. Blockchain. Initiative. You guys have and. You. Know a lot of people have been running away from blockchain, recently, or at least you know Bitcoin, and crypto, but and, I know they're different so don't, tweet, at me but, uh-huh so, why. Are you guys doing that yes. So Andy so we we started, about, three, years ago we hired our global, head of innovation and, we we, put them in, a group that reported, to myself and mark Weinberger. Separate. From our business he's, in Silicon, Valley as a small group and his. Job really was, to come in and look. At emerging technologies, on the one hand and also look to see how we can be disrupted, and, and I'll give you an example when he first came in the, first thing he said is well, the one area that ey operates. In that could very easily be disrupted, his tax. Because. Tax is all about data and technology, if you really look at it and so. You know - one of the points I was made earlier we've, invested, heavily in data and technology around tax it's. Something that we're doing more and more for clients, and in. This world of you have to focus on things, that you're good at whatever your core you, know most, of our clients and our core attacks, so, we're. Doing more and more of their tax work that's how things are evolving when. You come to these emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence. Like, blockchain. His group also started, making. Sure that we were looking at these technologies, in terms of how it can work on how we serve clients and then, we were able to distribute it through our organization so. Blockchain. Is an example and as you know outside. Of crypto and so forth but the distributed. Ledger right, we've been doing several. Projects, around, the world around. And this gets to General, Mills around often, authenticating. Wine. And/or. Food in terms of the entire supply chain from, wine. Would be an example we've done three or four these projects in Italy we're, doing a project in Japan around sake that, basically, when you buy a bottle of wine using. Blockchain. It could, be tracked and traced all the way back to the, grapes and the vineyard and so forth and these, are you know that's a technology that, in my view should be utilized much, more broadly in terms of really, authenticating. What, kind of food or drink or whatever it is so we're doing a lot that's, one example, AI is, another, example where, you, know we're creating, artificial, intelligence, to be able to read contracts, so, and so much of what we do whether. It's an audit or consulting, work or whatever we have to read a contract, so, we're using you know natural, language processing and so forth to really. Really. Be able to do that much faster much more. Holistically. And. You know we talked about disruption. And as David said I don't think it's going to be disrupted like that but over time that. Will evolve all. Right so we're, very excited about, how that's changing our business and you might say is that taking away jobs even from us and it's, not what it's doing is really having our people do more interesting things at, a younger level, which, hopefully will enable us to retain our people more than. In the past that's. The game all, right you got your blockchain, on got, my blockchain, on okay, you. Got to have your blockchain on because I want to really drill down a little bit into your business because as I said it. Has been ugly not necessarily, for you so much as you know the Kraft Heinz is the Campbell soups what is going, on in the. Food business Jeff what's, going on well, I think you know the, first thing I would say there's a lot of there's a lot of change with regard to consumer food value and and, so you see that people want fewer ingredients, ingredients they can pronounce no. Artificial colors, and flavors and so well, you, know you have it you really have a choice and I'm like you I am an optimist, and but, I think if you're gonna be involved in a world of change and you need to change yourselves and so you, know General Mills we have we've you know changed, our product portfolio but, we've also changed the products within our portfolio and you, know for example all, of our all of our cereals have no artificial colors, or flavors, or preservatives and. So, we made that change and a lot of people are really happy with that and then, but we started hearing from consumers about Trix cereal and and some of them are really happy and someone were really upset because. They like to trigger tricks, like kids, like silly rabbit tricks or kids yeah. And so, half the people said hey we think you're the smartest people ever for, taking the artificial, colors and flavors out and some people we think, you're the dumbest guys ever for doing that and so now we have a couple of varieties of tricks one that has no artificial colors and flavors and one looks like the tricks that they know and love and so it, gets back this idea of choice and, you can started that work out for you, know because you.
Know That's another SKU, right that's another and so and you get more salt to the work out from a business, standpoint which worked out great from a business standpoint because we because we've given people what they want right people, want no artificial colors and flavors they're buying more tricks the people who realize. How much they like the original it they like it and so as, we navigate this, time of change and you talked about it one is the first thing and most important thing for us is with, so much swirling, around making, sure we keep our eye clearly, focus on consumers, and what they want because when, we when we give them what they want we we never lose but. When we get confused about other voices going on in the environment that's when we get ourselves in trouble and and some, people want natural and organic and some people want unicorn shaped marshmallows, and Lucky Charms and, and. Sometimes they want that sometimes they want the organic in the morning and they want the the, unicorn marshmallows, and Lucky Charms in the afternoon. I'm. Processing that, uh-huh yeah. It makes sense to me but I mean again, I I hope that it works out for the business you could see giving people what they want but you're increasing costs so there's, got to be some rationalization, well you. Mentioned you mentioned blockchain, I mean there are there are a lot of people who want to know where their food comes from and so. You. Know with Annies we've developed some products where we can trace up all the way back to the, Farmar with the farmers name on the box not what they're looking for some, people that that's not important to them at all but some people it's really important, the same with things like regenerative, agriculture and we've. Lost about half of our topsoil here in the u.s. in the last 50 years we're gonna lose the other half if we don't do something different, for, some consumers they don't care a lot about that but but we need to right. We need to care about that because we depend on the earth for for. Our livelihood and so we've invested in regenerative, agriculture practices and have. Very, specific commitments.
To Generate, a million, square acres of regenerative habitat, habitat over the next 10 years, cool. David. I want to switch over to you and ask you about. Your. Time in Washington recently in, the. Hot seat with. The other bank CEOs, and facing, down those members. Of Congress I mean. What. Is that like how do you prepare, what is that like I mean and the reason this is relevant is because you know you could say this is this. Comes with a territory now increasingly, if you're a chief executive being, more public and explaining. The business in, the, most public forum. Imaginable. What what is that like well it was it was different experience, the, first time experience for me my. Guess is it won't be the last now. But just in a high level I'd say look the transparency. This is part of the responsibility we have as, leaders. Running big companies, that have big platforms, are influential the. Transparency, is important for society for the communities we operate in and this is part of the process I certainly, spent a bunch of time preparing I would say at the end of the day I prepared. More, than I needed to but I'm a big believer and be prepared, but. It's it's it's a natural part of the process it's, a responsibility, and I, think sitting. In one room you know talking for seven or eight hours you know with two short bathroom breaks is a long day for anybody. But. Generally speaking I, think. We as you, know leaders on our platforms, have a responsibility, to be transparent, about what we're doing why how. It impacts what. We do that's it's good and beneficial, to the communities we operate in and you, know I welcome that opportunity to, participate that way how, did you feel afterwards, how do you feel that you did I was I was glad when the day was over and we moved on to the next day. But. It you know it's it's it's a natural part of the process and look one of the things I know all the people, on this panel will share the you, know the visibility, of running these organizations. And what comes with it yeah, I and the way you're scrutinized, is is, important, but fair right. Anyone else here have to testify before Congress. Okay. Not yet you're alone in that in that guy right, no. I. Want to Bob asked you a little bit about another, controversial. Subject. And that is the, me to movement which has, hit your. Brother. Company, CBS, very, very hard and. What. Do you see as your role. As a CEO to provide. Leadership when it comes to making sure that doesn't happen to Viacom when it did happen at CBS in a very big way, I.
Think It goes to, this. Topic of culture, you know and ensuring. That your. Employees, again, can bring their their, best self to work. Be. Comfortable, bringing ideas to the table be, comfortable, being in the workplace. And. So you. Know it goes to values, it, goes to the construction of your management team, you. Know our company is actually, over 50%, women in. This particular. Area. We. Have more. Women on our board than virtually, any other fortune. 500. Company. You. Know women. Very well represented in our senior ranks but. It's also you, know we have open. Lines and all kinds of transparency. And if there's issues we just encourage, people to bring them to the table so. We can sort them out and. You. Know knock on wood we haven't had any. Massive. Issues we've certainly have had issues that we have to work. Out but I do think at the core it goes. To, culture. And, you. Know I think you. Know years ago I used to be a management consultant, and you know we focused on business and all and and over, time you, begin to appreciate really. The importance, of vision and really the importance, of culture and this you, could say softer, side of things but in reality it. Is, very linked to business performance, and. Is the way you get the best out of employees, you know when I took, over of, CEO, of Viacom at the, end of 2016, a pretty, well-known fact, was our culture was not in great shape people, were not happy and it, was a function, of the preceding, years, and. Also, the fact that we had really once had a really great culture and and so, one, of my priorities coming in was to improve the culture and that. We. Went to work on by making sure our employees, understood what we were trying to do you, know it, wasn't like we had a strategy, and we kept it in the corner office we, rolled it out to the world we rolled it out to our employees and town halls we let them ask questions we. Talked about how culture. Fit. Into that how how. Being. Focused, on our audiences. Fit into that and as, a result, of that our culture, has strengthened, very, dramatically, and. We. Once again are I'd, like to think a first choice place to work and it goes to the, full spectrum of issues including, me, too right. So. Let me ask you I'm sure everyone's curious what. Is the latest, Bob with, regard to a, merger. With CBS, Shari, redstone I know you can just talk very freely, about all that right now in front of you. Tell us what's going or maybe you've been talking to David about transactions. I don't know anything going on you can share with us, look. Is. The third time this rumor mill has gone around and the. First and second time what I decided, to do and, what I told my team to do is stay focused. Keep. Executing against our plan let's, keep moving the company forward because, I don't know what's gonna happen in that regard but I know one thing for sure at. The end of the year you're either gonna be talking to me or you gonna be talking to somebody else and what, you don't want to be to say is well, yeah we were on track but we got distracted and we didn't deliver that would be a bad meeting.
So. We'll. Focus on executing, you. Know we just as a virtue, of that or extension, that we just completed an acquisition, of the, largest free streaming. Television service in the United States Pluto TV that. Fills out our strategy, of being able to serve the free price point something we weren't able to do before in our product line. And you. Know so we got people focused on that we got people focused, on we're. Coming up to the upfront season, where we transact, we'll probably transact. Two. Billion dollars of ad business in, the next four weeks maybe, six weeks so, we're focused on that we. Just finished a, big distribution, deal with. AT&T and so we're focusing so that's what we're focused on and and. That has paid great dividends for our company, over. The last two years it returned it to growth. People. Get an update on that in, our earnings call week from Friday, and. You, know as far as the other noise there's, always noise there's, always distractions. You got to play through and. See where it goes all. Right good luck with it. Barbara. I want to ask you to, drill down a little bit more with, regard to climate change and I think that you guys said you're going to be carbon neutral by 2030, the UN has set some very strict. Mandates. I think the same date as well so. What. Is your responsibility, as the CEO of Siemens, USA, with regard to achieving that goal and to actually let. Me ask this do, you have a role as a CEO to. Try. To reach that goal for, others outside of your company as well ah great. Question I you. Know yes what, does the CEO do the CEO has a vision and the CEO sets a strategy, right the CEO, creates. A team and, and make sure it gets resourced, and then makes decisions, day to day of you, know how are we doing against this overall plan so, so, with a really, bold goal, of carbon, neutrality you can imagine all, of the, very, detailed, pieces that need to go into the. The day-to-day transactions. That isn't, anything that, I can influence. In the firsthand setting. The goal though is critical, the team is off working on initiatives. Like what, happens to our fleet of vehicles if, anyone sees a white van, with the petrol. Siemens, logo on the side that's most likely someone, from our infrastructure, team or maybe our mobility team, our health, care team huge, fleets, of vehicles that, our carbon emitters so we're, big fans. What's going on in the electrification, of, mobility. But, guess what when, mobility. Gets electrified. And we change from fossil, fuels into, electricity. We, need strong electrical. Infrastructure. To be able to support that transition we're. Making the transition we're encouraging, others to do the same and that means we've got to be working with communities, to, get their power grids, updated. And get power to where the vehicles, will be and where they'll need it and. Then now look at the the buildings we have a fleet of buildings. As well and. All of them are right for, the kinds of energy efficiency, things that can really, make a big difference but. Here's the secret the secret is, these. Things are great business, propositions. As well in the, cases where we've done the analysis, of what does it take to make that transition we're, finding yes there is a near-term investment, that needs to be made but, over the long term after about the five year period, it just, reaps, rewards, for.
For, The organization, so, it's a great story, of being, able to talk, to people about the positive, effect on the balance sheet of, making, the kind of changes, that are actually going to be the right things to do for sustainability, right, Carmen. I want to ask you a little bit about well. Maybe some of David's new acquaintances. Alexandria. El Castillo Cortez and also. Elizabeth Warren and others are calling for new tax policies, and. Looking. At income and wealth inequality and, I want, to know if this is something that you feel that is in your purview I mean tax. Is something that is close to what you do and so, is this something that you guys are pointed. Towards is it a business opportunity how, do you view that. Well. We don't really think it's a business opportunity it's, probably more dangerous but. But, the the real, thought here is we. Were very involved in tax reform and corporate tax reform and. We do think that that has helped the economy in a big way, and. It's something that I think hasn't been publicized, as much as it should be I. Do think we needed we did a corporate tax rate that was competitive, with with, rates around the world and we needed to make sure that capital, came, back into the u.s. State in the u.s. so so, that's that's all been positive. It hasn't been received. That's positive. You. Know well that's because of the way the media is or that there are other issues but. Look tax look, we have to figure out a way, to deal. With income inequality in the US and around the world and and, that's something that I truly, believe is more focused, around we skilling, an education. Than. Almost anything else but. If it takes you. Know that's gonna take funding and that's gonna take funding, probably from the government but from all of our companies as well and so, we're all gonna have to play a part here, but, I do think income, inequality, is dangerous, it's something that we, all need to work on and. You know we're trying to do our part but it's it's. It's. An issue it's, an issue you. Have any thoughts on that I. Yeah. I, think. It's I think it's an issue I think the issue is is more, framed an opportunity, and I think that we have to both. As leaders, of businesses, and also from a government perspective we have to be focused on broadening, opportunity, I think, education, and training, are. You, know or two areas where, there's lots of opportunity, to do that I think. There'll be a lot of noise. In the political process leading up to the election, you know on this topic. Our. System, is not perfect but, it's a really good system and through the lens of any, reasonable, period of time our. Systems brought a lot of people along I think it'll continue to be bringing people along but, it's not perfect and you know our job, running. Private companies also in partnership with, government is to figure out how, we can all do more to create more opportunity, for people broadly across the country and that's something I know that all of us sitting here are focused on is that we prosecute, our businesses, deal, with our clients, you, know we we have responsibilities. But we also want to contribute to their communities, in, a very positive way. Jeff. I want to shift gears and, ask you a little bit about. Food. And, lobbying. Washington. And the. Goals that you have as a company you guys you know have a nice pasta.
And, It really have made a lot of strides, towards. Providing, healthier. Foods for the American public and for the public or, the world at. The same time lobbying, groups in Washington that you might be a part, of might, not match, the same goals that you guys have at your company how do you because they might be pushing against regulations, that your company might, be for but you're part of an overall group so. How do you reconcile, that kind of, disconnect. First. I would say a couple of things that. Smart. Regulation, is actually really good for us and so. You, know to the extent that you know our net organic, business really, took off once. We had national legislation. On a definition, of organic the. Same would be true of natural, and pet food and so the first thing I would tell you is that as a food company it's not as if we're against all regulation, but we really need you to have smart regulation, and in, uniform regulation, the regulation that we really can't live with is state by state regulation. Because. If we're not careful then we've become in the United States of Europe where we have a different platform in, California. That we do in Vermont in, Washington, than we do at Minnesota and so, the the key for us. Why. This microphone is kind of working so the way we have regulation. National. And not state by state because, that's really bad for commerce and drives up cost but. When, it comes to having legislation. That national, from. House that, can work out great. David. I want to go back to talk, to you a little bit about leadership and, authenticity and, communication. We were talking about this backstage a little bit and I. Noticed. I don't think too many of you all are on Twitter for. Instance are you any Twitter people here no you, are okay I will, get back to you, David. You're not on Twitter you choose to be on Instagram I'm, on Twitter I don't tweet but, you're on Twitter but you tweet that's tantamount, to not being lunch what. I'm. Saying less is better than saying more yes I hear you so, why did you vote why did you pick Instagram, and and talk, to us about that decision. Well. For. Starters my predecessor. Lloyd was a big user at Twitter and he's, a lot he's a lot funnier than I am and so, I so. Look. These are these are communication, strategies, I think one of the things we all think about is we all have different ways to communicate, you have to communicate with. Our people we have to communicate with our shareholders we have to communicate with our clients we have to communicate with the world broadly, who's watching what we're doing and what our businesses are doing and. I, think. Instagram. For, us was. An instrument interesting, platform to communicate first, and foremost toward people and, you, know I think Goldman Sachs when you step back and you think about what Goldman Sachs is or, collection of people we, have we have 38,000, employees all over the world and it's, people business we have people dealing with clients every day and I.
Needed, A more modern. Way to communicate, to a workforce, that's 75%, millennial, that's. Sixty percent thirty years old or less somewhere. To some of the characteristics, that were described you, know at the other end earlier and this. Seemed like a new way to kind of evolve the communication, and, you. Know candidly the feedbacks been pretty good but, we're thinking about lots of different ways that we can communicate some. Of its on platforms, like this but you, know others I think one of the things in the world we live in is the visibility, of a. Leader in a role to, be connected, to your clients, to your people and a more authentic way that's been a real change CEOs. Don't sit up in an ivory tower anymore isolated. And. If you do by the way it's gonna be a very unsuccessful way, I think to lead your organization, and so you've got to be a little, bit more available, a little bit more vulnerable, a little bit more human and you've got to be in touch and I, think these tools can. Be helpful in doing that I think there are flaws with the tools Bob you, know talked about some of the flaws - yeah, but, they're here to stay and our, job is to use them as effectively as we can I want to come to Bob and talked about that but the other thing that you, put yourself another way you put yourself out there I should say David is you're, a DJ right. And and so you know you could once you became CEO you could have just stopped that right, now I'm the CEO I don't DJ anymore but you decided to continue it right if, somebody. Became a CEO and they still want to stop playing golf would that be I mean, that's. A hard something, I do I'm I'm a human being yeah and why would you ever ask somebody when you stop playing golf now that you're CEO so, it's something I do I enjoy it and you. Know I'm obviously very focused on Goldman Sachs but I think all of us to, be a successful, leader you. Have to work very hard you have to be very committed to your business but you got to be we, all have interests we have to live our lives and, you. Know this is just a part of my life and it so happened that that's the way it played out and, their charity events that you do, these things I yeah I have, I have the good fortune of, the, fact that I probably get to do more of it than I deserve given my talent level so, if I could do that if I could do that and raise money for, charities, I've created, have created a foundation a record label to raise money for addiction charities and I'm trying to find a way to take something that was a hobby right. To use the good fortune I have in my position to do some good and find other ways to get back, next. Party. Bob. Bob's. Thinking about that so. Did you have some awesome, at a party. Did. You have some thoughts about social, media and communications, look I think you. Know Communications. Is really. Central, to executing, as a CEO if you think about it as, I said when we developed. Our plan, for. Viacom, circa beginning, at 17 the, plan is really has. No value unless, you execute, against it your ability to execute against, it requires people. To understand that both your employees, your partners etc, so, from the beginning we are focused on communications. And, we are today we use a whole range of. Platforms. And approaches, I think. The important, part is you have to you have to have a synchronized, set of messages and you have to deploy them so for example we, use Facebook live on a quarterly basis, to talk to our employees all around the world take, questions etc. We've. Recently, been using LinkedIn why do we use LinkedIn, because we. Recruit people and there's a lot of people on LinkedIn and we think that's an effective, tool. Obviously. We speak at places, but because, I believe, it's so centrally, important, that people understand. What you're trying to do so. They again if you're their employee they can bring your best work if they're a partner they can say hey we want to talk to you about X and. And. Social media certainly fills. In to that as well so those companies Facebook, in particular Google they, also compete, with. Your, core business in a way right should they be reined in do they need to be regulated more broken, up. In, general, we, like free market economies, if there is regulation we like consistency, of regulation, so for example, if you look at the, ad business, in the UK what. You have is inconsistency. Of regulation, where television. Platforms. Are regulated, against, HF, SS high-fat salty, snacks and Internet, platforms, are not and it's. Fair to say that there's, plenty of young, audience, on internet platforms, and people advertising, to them our. Plan our brands, on those platforms we self-police and we we, basically mirror our policies, on television, but that's an example where it's, probably good.
To Have some regulation, but you should have consistent. Regulation, in, this case across platforms, great. Ok. Let's, talk about you and Twitter Barbara once. You get on Twitter and you've been tweeting back to President Trump on trade policy is, that something you do I I'm not doing that let's reference, question number one what is it important, for CEOs, to talk about right and so, I agree, with David and Bob this is an absolutely. Essential. Element. Of our communication. Portfolio. I think. I think, there are two things that, that. I actually, focus, on here one is I actually just want people to see what I see, I have, the privilege of going out and visiting our customers, talking, to our employees, meeting. With universities. Who are collaborating with us on the future I want, to be able to share that with others that's important, but, the second thing is there's. Still a lot of talk about women and leadership and, I don't mind, putting. Myself out there and actually, being vulnerable, sharing. With people that I never thought, this was going to be my path and I'm, getting this incredible. Response, from, others, who are saying wow your, story is so much like what I'm going through right now do you have any advice for me so, if I can use my voice to encourage, people who wouldn't otherwise bring, their whole selves, to work to. Get engaged I want, to use it great. Jeff. You got a microphone. This. Is going to be. Okay. What. About you and in terms of you know putting your, personality. Out there and communicating. On an almost, personal level the way Barbara was talking do, you feel the, urge or need to do that. Really. Are, you. 15. Or 20 years ago you, could have a different message for investors, or for people who are interested in the environment or, for your employees, and or, for a conference like this and so at every different place you go because there wasn't there wasn't social, media available, you could have a different message everywhere, and it didn't matter because people. Wouldn't hear that now, you know when I come to this conference or I go and talk to a forum about regenerative, agriculture I go and talk to our investors our employees the message has to be clear and has to be the same but, it also has to be delivered in a voice that's going to be uniquely my own and so.
If. I try to pull that off it would go very poorly, and. So I think you know that for me the key is not where your interact but how you interact and the fact that your communication, needs to be consistent, Barbara let me go back to you because I wanted to follow up you mentioned the American workforce for, that you're on. Talk. About that just briefly and, then also that means that you're interfacing with, the administration. Yes, and so. Boy. That. Seems like it would be all upside but is there downside, to and how do you navigate that oh well. Hey think about it is there any subject. More important, right now is there any subject, that has stronger, bipartisan. Support, than. The idea that putting people to work there. Is something, that we ought to be doing it's it's, a real privilege to have a chance to work on this board and the board has some, very straightforward. Goals what, we're trying to do is identify pathways, to. Success beyond. A four-year degree we're trying to find. Ways to connect. The workforce, with the opportunity. Opportunities. Across. The country, and we're also then trying to to help, encourage and, help, people understand, that, investments. And work in, businesses. Training, their workforce, actually. Pays, a great dividend, so. If you think about all of those aspects. I mean, there's. No downside, and, supporting so secretary Ross and Ivanka Trump have, chartered. The workforce, policy advisory, board and we're, meeting together, as a group and in fact we've just had a meeting here at Milken thanks to Mike pivovar who has been, co-chair, of one of our subcommittees, with me and and. Such, such. A constructive. Way. To, advance, really, important, policies, with, business, with, education, with, labor with, local, and state government. Stakeholders. At the table. Yeah. No, this is this is something that is vitally, important, and, some of the CEOs on the panel besides yourself include, Tim. Apple you may have heard of Tim, Apple Maryland Blackie. I. Mean everybody, had the, social media uptake, of the the first meeting of our board because, Tim Cook actually, you, know was making some very. Important. Announcements. But Jen um Eddie we've got visa at the table Walmart, Home Depot it's, from. A company perspective it's. A great, panel, the. Karman I want to ask you finally. About your, entrepreneur, of the year award process, and, the reason I do that number one you know that's really the lifeblood of the US economy and number. Two I think it's been pretty successful in, terms of having a big public, facing program, that, draws in your customers, you get free publicity. It's. It's a kind of a novel idea do, you want to talk about that and and tell, us how it's worked out for you guys yeah, it's been this actually started over 30 years ago and a lot of people think it started in Silicon Valley it actually started in Wisconsin, which. Was the first one we had and, so. Every. We we run an entrepreneur, the Year competition really, in about.
55. Countries, around, the world the US we have our you, know we do it by region, and by industry, and then eventually we pick one us winner same, way we pick one brazilian winner and so fourth and, it's really all around not only you, know you have to have a company that's doing well, that's entrepreneurial, and so forth but more, and more we, really want companies, that have a purpose that are, doing good for the world and so forth, so you kind of have to have both sides of this and then, in, June we. Pick one overall winner or, Entrepreneur of the year globally, in, in, Monte Carlo and it's a big deal now these these, work great for us because at, all these events we have larger. Corporates, along, with startups. And entrepreneurial, companies, and we're doing more and more of that because, there's, learnings, on both sides and our, clients, our larger clients appreciate, it and the, startups appreciate, it so very excited. About it, we are you, know we get some great clients, and great companies from Monte. Carlo Monte. Carlo yes that's, not exactly what's consul could be a booking job David, probably. Not all. Right, you know what we are out of time but. I thought this was really really cool and so please join me in thanking David Barbara, Jeff, and. Bob. Thank. You. Thank. You for attending please make your way to the next session. You. You.