Recession is forcing small businesses to abandon ESG, says Clarke Murphy



After yesterday’s message suggesting that 59% of CEOs might ‘pause’ or ‘reconsider’ their ESG plans, I got a call from Clarke Murphy, who was CEO of research firm Russell Reynolds for a decade and runs now the practice of the company’s board of directors. “Is interest in ESG declining? ” I asked. His answer :

” No way. If anything, he has surged forward in the past six months.

Murphy uses the word “sustainability” instead of the acronym ESG, in part because it’s broader. And he says the focus today is not on the cost of sustainability, but rather on sustainability as a means of cost control and competitive advantage.

“Everyone is talking about cost. But people are generating revenue and reducing costs, especially around supply chains… European boards have been paying attention to this for some time, integrating ESG skills into their governance and the way they manage their CEO searches. Now it’s happening in the United States and it’s just getting started.

Murphy has a new book called Sustainable management, and he says he receives requests to speak on the subject from many conferences and councils all over the country (not just the “woke” coasts). I asked him how he explained the survey result suggesting that 59% of CEOs are retiring. “I would like to see the market cap of 59%.” His theory: they are smaller companies. Big business, he thinks, is totally on board, “measuring it, funding it, analyzing it, integrating it.” And it’s only a matter of time before smaller businesses have to follow suit, in part because the larger businesses they serve and supply demand it.

More news below. And check out Ellen McGirt and my interview with Wharton Dean Erika James in the latest episode of Leadership Next, on Apple or Spotify.

Alan Murray


Churn from Amazon

Amazon is losing an estimated $8 billion a year from the company’s extraordinary employee turnover, according to leaked documents that suggest Amazon isn’t tracking enough data as it struggles to train and to promote its employees. Engadget

British crisis

New UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt canceled almost all of Prime Minister Liz Truss and former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s ‘mini budget’ yesterday, in a bid to undo the catastrophic damage to the country’s financial stability. Today, the UK’s central bank, which spent the first half of this month buying large amounts of government bonds to stabilize markets, would again delay the sale of these gilts due to the fragility of the market. FinancialTimes

CEO of JPMorgan

Carlos Hernandez, director of investments and corporate banking at JPMorgan, has announced his retirement. The Jamie Dimon ally has been at the bank for 36 years and will leave in the first quarter of next year. the wall street journal


Exxon Mobil describes exit from Russia as ‘expropriation’, saying government has ‘unilaterally terminated our interests there’, per Bloomberg

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman joins Elon Musk in calling for a ceasefire in Ukraine that includes major concessions to Russia, by Christiaan Hetzner

From Wall Street to Uniswap: COO Mary-Catherine Lader sees the future of decentralized finance, by Taylor Locke

Gen Z and Millennials Reframe Layoffs, Eliminate Shame, and Point the Finger at the Company That Let Them Go, by Chloe Taylor

The remote work guru claims 3 companies win with hybrid plans. Here’s what everyone can learn from them, by Jane Thier

This edition of Daily CEO was edited by David Meyer.

This is the web version of Daily CEO, an essential newsletter from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to receive it for free in your inbox.


Comments are closed.