NAOS CEO Insights



October 2, 2020

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 2 October 2020 By NAOS Asset Management

“We expect digital education programs to be an essential part of classroom instruction long after the pandemic is behind us” Dick Robinson, CEO, Scholastic Corporation

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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Corporate Australia

“Australian CEOs do seem a little more optimistic than their global counterparts” Gary Wingrove, CEO, KPMG Australia

“In general, bigger businesses have weathered this OK, I think it's smaller businesses who are struggling and have been hit harder than bigger business. The fact we've had less insolvencies than 12 months ago doesn't seem right...there will be a time of reckoning, it's a question of whether the government can somehow smooth that to assist as many as possible to the other side” Gary Wingrove, CEO, KPMG Australia

Domestic Manufacturing

“We are confident measures like this [the $1.5bn manufacturing sector stimulus] will ensure Australian manufacturing will become an enticing investment for the private sector” Robert Giles, CEO, SPC Foods

“Australia should focus resources on sectors where we are strong or have a natural advantage. Australia is too small to be everything to everyone. Other similar sized countries have realised this and also focus investment on specific sectors” Dig Howitt, CEO, Cochlear Ltd

Domestic Property

“We have no people coming [into Australia]…we don’t have people to buy. We have a big demand for leasing, I lease 200 apartments a week, because those people don’t have the money to buy” Harry Triguboff, CEO, Meriton

Travel & Leisure

“You may potentially see some mergers and acquisitions take place, as we’ve seen after the financial crisis but I don’t think it’s immediate though, as there’s a lot of government support around the world” Keith Barr, CEO, InterContinental Hotels Group plc

“When the whole industry's losing money month-to-month and nearly all of that industry must have international travel to survive, clearly there has to be some consolidation” Jamie Pherous, CEO, Corporate Travel Management Ltd

“Demand for international travel will not fully recover before FY23 or FY24 in the absence of an effective vaccine” Graham Turner, CEO, Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd


“I can only speak from AirAsia’s perspective, I think business travel, intercontinental travel, first-class travel is going to take longer to rebound. But short-haul travel has been proven already with our domestic routes like in Thailand and Malaysia, we are at about 70 per cent load capacity” Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia

“I think [going into administration] has provided a huge opportunity for us to reset and to emerge with a much stronger balance sheet and a much lower cost base, which is what we’re going to need going into what will be a fairly competitive market in the early days” Paul Scurrah, CEO, Virgin Australia


For the rest of the year I would say our base case is still to be back roughly at where we were last year” Hakan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo Cars Corporation AB


“Smartphone, auto, and consumer end markets have started to recover, and we see further demand improvements ahead” Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO, Micron Technology [global manufacturer of computer memory/storage]

Food & Beverage

“Home cooking has really become a trend that’s becoming a habit” Lawrence Kurzius, CEO, McCormick & Company Foods [world’s largest manufacturer of spices, seasonings]

“I think it’s going to be a much more flexible environment and much more tech-enabled remote kind of work, where consumers will be at home a few days of the week. And that will drive, I think, a different behaviour in terms of breakfast consumption and potentially some of the other meals during the day, especially lunch. So that’s how we’re thinking about the long-term category growth” Ramon Laguarta, CEO, PepsiCo Inc


“COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of sustainability. Demand for good value, sustainable products is expected to grow in the wake of the pandemic” Helena Helmersson, CEO, H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB

“Well, for the industry as a whole, speed and flexibility will just become more and more important” Helena Helmersson, CEO, H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB

“As people are spending less on travel, air and hotel and dining out, they seem to have redirected some of those dollars to categories like lawn and garden, furniture and mattresses, exercise equipment, bicycles, housewares, cookware, plastics and the like” Richard Galanti, CFO, CostCo Wholesale Corporation


“We’ve always maintained that there’s room for multiple technologies here [Australia]. They’ll suit different customers at different stages in their life cycles, or based on their situation” Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO, Optus


“We expect digital education programs to be an essential part of classroom instruction long after the pandemic is behind us” Dick Robinson, CEO, Scholastic Corporation

Energy & Resources

“At the moment, gas prices are low, but that’s because of COVID. They won't stay low...eventually they will go up. This [the new Narrabri gas project] will stop them from going back up to ridiculous levels” Garbis Simonian, CEO, Weston Energy [energy retailer]


“There is an enormous backlog of work” Peter Freeleagus, CEO, Cura Day Hospitals [nationwide private day hospital company]

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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