NAOS CEO Insights



May 8, 2020

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 08 May 2020 By NAOS Asset Management

“I believe we will look back at this time as a tipping point, where digital payments both offline and online became an essential element of our lives, hastening the demise of cash, enforcing a reimagination of commerce, retailing and the payment system, and we intend to be a driving force as those trends unfold” Dan Schulman, CEO, PayPal Inc

As part of the NAOS investment process, we pay particular attention to the comments made by company CEOs and business leaders in order to gain a greater understanding of the current investment environment and key trends that may be emerging. Below are quotes from the week which in our view detail some of the most important and prominent industry trends and economic factors impacting their businesses.  


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“Perhaps most importantly, the unique characteristics of this particular crisis have increased the resolve we see from customers relative to their focus on digital transformation as a long-term priority” Charles Meyers, CEO, Equinix Inc [global data centre provider]

“This crisis has also created a level of distraction and friction in the overall economy that reinforces the importance of the real-time on-demand scalability” Charles Meyers, CEO, Equinix Inc [global data centre provider]

“There is no question that moving to the public cloud, even at a time like this, is just capital efficient. Even for businesses that are having tough economic cycles, one of the smartest things that anyone can do…is to transition to the efficient frontier as quickly as possible so that they can have more agility, more elasticity and better unit economics coming out of this, or even while you're in this crisis. So I think the migration to the cloud is absolutely a secular shift” Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft Corp

“We are seeing an uptick in customer demand as new customers are exploring how to build the website and everyday entrepreneurs in fashion, beauty, health, professional services and many other verticals are forging ahead with new ideas” Aman Bhutani, CEO, GoDaddy Inc [internet domain & web hosting company]

Domestic Economy

“To get the economy moving we have to increase productivity. We’ve relied on an increasing population over the past number of years and that’s not going to work anymore” Kate Carnell, Ombudsman, Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise

“Business and consumer confidence have fallen sharply. A sustained recovery cannot be expected until the December quarter, although we expect caution to prevail well into 2021” Peter King, CEO, Westpac Banking Corp

“Demand for those [recent equity] raisings is a sign of confidence in the Australian market and companies in general” Shemara Wikramanayake, CEO, Macquarie Group Ltd

Domestic Retail

“Everyone is sick and tired of being cooped up at home and I guess people are wandering into the stores. We've got a lot of lookers but those that are transacting are certainly buying more than they would normally. But I want to be clear, we're still at 50 per cent [down on] where we were last year and we expect that to continue into October” Daniel Agnostelli, CEO, Accent Group Ltd

Food & Beverage

“Out of home consumption of poultry products have been negatively impacted. Our major QSR [quick service restaurant] customers have been resilient but their operations are largely restricted to drive through and home delivery. Customers supplying hospitality and tourism industries have significantly reduced purchases which has led to weaker conditions in the food service and wholesale markets” Jim Leighton, CEO, Inghams Group Ltd

“We do not, today, expect a [beef] supply issue. However, costs [of beef] have really jumped” Randy Garutti, CEO, Shake Shack [US/international fast food chain]

Health & Wellness

“Immunity products...they are flying over the last three or four months” Alistair Symington, CEO, Blackmores Ltd


“We expect that the current crisis will impact the automotive industry for the foreseeable future, well beyond 2020” Nicolas Peter, CFO, BMW Group AG

“Suppliers [to the automotive sector] have invested in manufacturing facilities for large volumes...Now there are depreciations [in volumes], while the overhead costs remain and they can’t be reduced overnight” Stefan Sommer, Head of Procurement, Volkswagen Group AG

Aviation Industry

“To protect our business, we have responded with difficult cost-cutting actions over the past two months. Unfortunately, more is required as we scale the business to the realities of our commercial market” David Joyce, CEO, GE Aviation [General Electric subsidiary/global aircraft engine manufacturer]

Travel & Leisure

“Travel in this new world will look different, and we need to evolve Airbnb accordingly...People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable. But people will also yearn for something that feels like it’s been taken away from them — human connection” Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnb Inc

“Even as shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions are modified or lifted, we anticipate that continued social distancing, altered consumer behavior and expected corporate cost cutting will be significant headwinds for Lyft” Logan Green, CEO, Lyft Inc

Marketing & Advertising

“We’re seeing some early signs at this point that users are returning to more commercial behavior” Ruth Porat, CFO, Alphabet Inc [Google parent company]


“We believe COVID-19 will be the single largest [catastrophe] loss the industry has ever seen” Brian Dupperault, CEO, AIG [American International Group]

Global Property

“We have experienced increased demand for both temporary and permanent space from customers in the food, consumer goods and logistics sectors, particularly related to e-commerce operators and those transitioning to online” Greg Goodman, CEO, Goodman Group

Energy & Resources

 “With crude [oil] prices near 20-year lows and global annual energy demand forecasted to drop by 6%, the largest in 70 years, we have a challenging road ahead” Al Williams, CEO, Chevron Australia Corporation

“It feels like this quarter and perhaps the next quarter are going to be the toughest quarters” Mike Wirth, CEO, Chevron Corporation


Important information: This material has been prepared by NAOS Asset Management Limited (ABN 23 107 624 126, AFSL 273529) (NAOS) for general information purposes only and must not be construed as investment advice. Certain economic, market or company information contained in this material may have been obtained from published sources prepared by third parties. Nothing contained herein should be construed as granting by implication or otherwise, any license or right to use such third party content without the written permission of the owner.


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