NAOS CEO Insights



May 29, 2020

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 29 May 2020 By NAOS Asset Management

“The industry is facing a valley of death. We are facing a decline in residential construction in 2021 of 30 per cent” Denita Wawn, CEO, Master Builders Australia [national industry body for building & construction industry]

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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Domestic Retail

“Back in the GFC Kevin Rudd handed out a $1000 stimulus package. But once it was over the retail industry fell off a cliff. What happens in September? [when current stimulus slows]” Paul Zahra, CEO, Australian Retailers Association

“We are seeing early signs of recovery, which combined with government stimulus measures, and the resilience and the speed with which the pandemic has been contained, have restored confidence among retailers to reopen and customers to return safely” Grant Kelly, CEO, Vicinity Shopping Centres Australia Ltd

“JobKeeper in our view is certainly fueling a lot of growth [in sneaker sales]. It really resonated with kids that they had some money. They seem pretty confident their casual jobs will continue and they’re buying” Daniel Agostinelli, CEO, Accent Group Ltd [Hype DC, Platypus owner]

Global Retail

“While traffic is down, customers are excited to be back in our stores and their intent to purchase is high, which has led to meaningful improvements in conversion” Dick Johnson, CEO, Foot Locker Inc

Domestic Economy

“My main concern is that we don't withdraw the fiscal stimulus too early” Philip Lowe, Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia

“I believe the key to Australia’s future is manufacturing” Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman, Visy Industries

“I think fiscal policy will have to play a more significant role in managing the economic cycle than it has in the past” Philip Lowe, Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia

Financial Markets

“Ninety per cent of public company earnings in Australia are spent on share buybacks and dividends, rather than investment” Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman, Visy Industries


“One thing is clear to us, data matters more than ever in this digital world and every organization is on a journey to bring data to everything” Doug Merritt, CEO, Splunk Inc [data-analysis global software company]

“Now more than ever, companies are realizing the incredible importance of having agile, flexible systems to support their mission-critical business processes” Aneel Bhusri, CEO, Workday Inc [global HR/finance software company]

“The current environment will have a lasting impact on the way we live and work and it will further increase the importance of computer technology” Enrique Lores, CEO, The Hewlett-Packard Company

Building & Construction

“The industry is facing a valley of death. We are facing a decline in residential construction in 2021 of 30 per cent” Denita Wawn, CEO, Master Builders Australia [national industry body for building & construction industry]

“Whilst we have experienced a slowdown in commercial building activity and deferment of several shut-down programs in our industrial scaffold business, activity levels in our key civil infrastructure related businesses have remained buoyant, offsetting much of the impact” Market Announcement, Acrow Formwork and Construction Services Ltd

Travel & Leisure

“We have unbelievable demand” Jim MacPhee, COO, Walt Disney World

“One of our main booking platforms would usually [pre-pandemic] bring in about $1.6 million in bookings a day. That got back down to $100,000, but this week it went up to $400,000 to $500,000 a day. We are now getting more bookings than cancellations. There's a high level of interest in Queensland, in particular, Noosa [on the Sunshine Coast]. There has been a heavy focus on leisure. People are desperate to get away for a three-day break” Simon McGrath, CEO, Accor Hotels Australia


“Our industry will come back, but it will take some years to return to what it was just two months ago” Dave Calhoun, CEO, The Boeing Corporation


“Used vehicles have really taken off – much stronger than new cars – and actually better than pre-COVID. It’s [the demand] a lot of first-time younger buyers. In the past they would have caught the train or the bus – they’re now planning to drive” Anthony Altomonte, Managing Director, The Alto Group [NSW car dealership group]

“Automotive applications and the broad set of end markets that are captured under industrial … they are going to be the most important semiconductor market's driving growth. And that doesn't mean that personal electronics are going away” Rich Templeton, CEO, Texas Instruments Inc [world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer]

Logistics & Supply

“The current circumstances have shown that digitalisation of the logistic supply chain is picking up pace” Vincent Clerc, Chief Commercial Officer, Mærsk Group [world’s largest container shipping group]


“I would say, to me, I really believe, one, the emphasis on personal hygiene and internally, we’ve been calling it personal protection, is really, really going to be elevated. And I think if it’s not – it probably should be permanent. If it’s not permanent, it should be with us for a few years, at least” Mike Hsu, CEO, Kimberly-Clark 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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