Being Strategic Is About More Than Quarterly Results, Say West Coast CEOs

PG&E Corporation and Wells Fargo CEOs present their companies' long-term strategic plans to investors
Apr 27, 2018 12:30 PM ET
Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, 2018 /3BL Media/ — Recognizing the  importance of engaging stakeholders and sharing company information in a regular, transparent way, on April 19 the CEOs of Wells Fargo and PG&E Corporation shared their company’s long-term plans to an audience of more than 100 major institutional investors at the first CEO Investor Forum (CIF) held on the West Coast by CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative (SII).

Addressing topics of risk and value creation, both companies shared their long-term strategies to transform their sectors and bring prosperity to their communities and their businesses. Key insights and speakers from the sessions include:

Geisha Williams, CEO and President, PG&E Corporation: Building on PG&E’s mission to deliver safe, affordable, reliable, and clean energy, PG&E shared a plan to build the sustainable energy network of tomorrow, touching on the grid, environment, transportation, and clean energy. With sustainability and risk management as the foundation of the company’s operations, PG&E is pursuing innovative solutions for transforming the energy system on a large scale.

Tim Sloan, CEO and President, Wells Fargo:  From a corporate philanthropy standpoint, Wells Fargo is almost doubling its commitment to helping to solve societal challenges, increasing its investment from $286 in 2017 million to $400 million in 2018, with a 2% of after-tax income goal going forward. At the conference, the company announced a $200 billion sustainable finance commitment, more than 50% of which will be focused on cleantech and renewable energy. Reflecting its focus on stakeholder engagement, Wells Fargo has articulated its six goals are customer service and advice, team member engagement, innovation, risk management, corporate citizenship, and shareholder value, noting that they will only get to the 6th when they do first five well.

“CECP's 4th CEO Investor Forum demonstrates that CEOs want to tell, and investors want to hear long-term plans on the West Coast as well as the East,” said Daryl Brewster, CEO, CECP. “Leading companies and investors are looking to move from merely talking about short-term financials to the comprehensive communication of long-term plans and the commitment to creating sustainable value."

The CIF also featured Charles Penner, Jana Partners, who shared his thoughts on their recent engagement with Apple, which sought to spotlight a company that is in a position to solve a vast societal challenge of the use of electronic devices by children and youth. The concern about the overuse of technology is not new, but this conversation connects the issue to the bottom line; unmasking the hidden risk for the tech sector. Representatives from BlackRock, Brown Flynn, KPMG, NASDAQ, SASB, and the Tellus Institute also shared their thoughts on the transformation in sharing information to move capital in sustainable directions.

Earlier this year, nine members of SII’s Board of Advisors, led by Vanguard Chairman Bill McNabb, sent an open letter to CEOs of major companies. The letter poses seven questions every CEO should answer when presenting publicly-disclosed, investor-facing long-term plans related to three themes: growth, strategy, and risk.

“SII’s Investor Letter outlines the expectations about the breadth and depth of information investors crave from companies, but aren’t getting on a consistent basis,” said Mark Tulay, Director of CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative. “As we continue to see wider adoption of answering these questions in public fora like the CEO Investor Forums, we will achieve our aim to shift trillions of dollars of ‘patient capital’ to reward companies that can mitigate risks and leverage opportunities.”

According to CECP: The CEO Force for Good, 86% of CEOs say they are pressured by Wall Street to focus too much on delivering short-term results; often at the expense of long-term strategy. To address this, CECP created SII to leverage CECP’s network of business leaders to fundamentally change the conversation between CEOs, boards of directors, and investors, from merely short-term profits to sustained long-term corporate performance. The CEO Investor Forums are a part of SII’s effort to promote sustainable value creation and encourage the development and communication of multi-year strategies that include strategic priorities, significant stakeholders, and material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks.

SII will hold its fifth CEO Investor Forum on September 20, 2018, in New York. Confirmed speakers include Mauricio Gutierrez, President & CEO, NRG Energy, Inc. and Martin Schroeter, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Markets, IBM Corporation. Additional speakers will be announced soon.

The Wells Fargo and PG&E Corporation presentations can be viewed as a webcast (registration required). The Strategic Investor Initiative is supported by sponsors including Bloomberg, LP, the Ford Foundation, and the Heron Foundation (www.cecp.co/SII). KPMG and NASDAQ provided support for the 4th CEO Investor Forum.

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ABOUT CECP: THE CEO FORCE FOR GOOD

CECP is a CEO-led coalition that believes that a company’s social strategy — how it engages with key stakeholders including employees, communities, investors, and customers —determines company success.  Founded in 1999 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and other business leaders to create a better world through business, CECP has grown to a movement of more than 200 of the world’s largest companies that represent $7 trillion in revenues, $18.6 billion in societal investment, 13 million employees, and $15 trillion in assets under management. CECP helps companies transform their social strategy by providing customized connections and networking, counsel and support, benchmarking and trends, and awareness building and recognition.

ABOUT THE STRATEGIC INVESTOR INITIATIVE

The Strategic Investor Initiative is a coalition of thought leaders committed to the long-term movement. Collectively, SII is developing a new platform for leading companies to create, convey, and deliver long-term plans to long-term investors. SII’s vision is to spark the movement of trillions of dollars of capital to companies demonstrating performance excellence over the long-term. SII provides tools and resources designed to introduce and support market behaviors that ultimately deliver sustained long-term value for all stakeholders.