Street Talk

Street Talk: The brain drain

Metal rules.

December 14, 2018
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A number of CEOs continue to pour out of the top jobs in the country, according to a recent report by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

A total of 147 CEOs left their posts in November — two fewer than the 149 recorded in October. Last month’s total is 56.4 percent higher than the 94 CEOs who left their posts in November 2017.

So far this year, 1,323 CEO changes have been recorded, 24.2 percent higher than the 1,065 CEOs who left through November last year. This year’s total is 14.1 percent higher than the 1,160 CEOs who left their posts during the entirety of last year.

“CEOs are leaving their posts at a pace we haven’t seen in a decade,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“While current economic conditions are quite different from 2008, the fluctuating markets, uncertainty with trade and investor concerns may have companies putting leadership in place to head off a coming downturn.”

CEO changes are the highest since 2008 when 1,361 CEOs left their posts through November.

Many CEO removals happened because of “inappropriate behavior or conduct in violation of companies’ codes of ethics,” Challenger said.

“In light of the #MeToo movement, companies are not taking any chances with leaders who engage in these kinds of activities. It not only harms companies’ brands and reputations, it very much impacts current and future employees, productivity, work environment and culture.”

So far this year, eight CEOs have left their posts due to sexual misconduct allegations.

The majority of CEOs (358) have retired this year, while 255 resigned. Another 337 stepped down into other roles within the company, usually as a board chair or another C-suite role.

Shades of gray

The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association is applauding the state legislature for approving a package of bills to clear up gray areas in the state Liquor Control Code.

The legislation, Senate Bills 1154 through 1168, unanimously passed the Michigan Senate on Nov. 29 and the Michigan House this past week.

“For years, some producers have been operating in a gray area of state law and others have been outright breaking the law,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. “To address these problems, brewers, distillers, winemakers and distributors came together to find a solution that creates a roadmap for complying with state law for those operating in the gray.”

The changes the new legislation addresses include: ensuring Michigan breweries, distilleries and wineries are actually manufacturing the products they are selling to consumers in their tasting rooms; allowing manufacturer-to-manufacturer sales for the purpose of manufacturing alcoholic beverages; expanding the ability of wineries and distilleries to offer full-size pours at many off-premises tasting rooms; and laying out clear and understandable guidelines for the operation of a brewery tasting room.

The Michigan Craft Brewers Guild, Michigan Wine Producers Association, Michigan Craft Distillers Association, Michigan Licensed Beverage Association and Michigan Liquor Control Commission all joined the MB&WWA in support

“Without this legislation, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission would be forced to cite craft brewers, distillers and winemakers,” Nevins said. “Instead, this package of bills will help Michigan’s beer, wine and spirits industries continue their positive momentum.”

The legislation now awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature.

Winter wonderland

Pure Michigan launched a regional advertising campaign to attract people to the state’s winter activities.

Digital ads have been promoting winter recreation in the state since November, and potential travelers in key markets across the Great Lakes region will now see and hear messages from Pure Michigan on the television and radio through the holiday season.

“As winter approaches once again, adventure awaits us in the form of carving up freshly groomed trails, downhill skiing or snowshoeing epic backcountry landscapes,” said Dave Lorenz, VP of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The ads will target residents of Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and South Bend, Indiana; as well as southern Ontario.

New billboards in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula will update travelers on snow conditions further north. For example, when snow is falling, the boards will read “accumulating moments ahead.” Other boards will count down the days until the first day of winter.

The winter advertising campaign features seven industry advertising partners — Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, Detroit, Gaylord, Mount Pleasant, Muskegon, Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace.

These partners contributed $277,504 in funding toward the overall winter advertising budget of $2.3 million.

Heavy metal

Legendary heavy metal band Metallica is awarding Grand Rapids Community College a $100,000 grant to connect more nontraditional students to in-demand welding jobs.

GRCC is one of 10 colleges selected nationwide for the Metallica Scholars grant. The band's All Within My Hands Foundation has teamed up with the American Association of Community Colleges on the project, aimed at providing workforce training for community college students and reinvesting in cities where the band has toured. Metallica is appearing at Van Andel Arena on March 13.

“All of us in the band feel fortunate that music has provided us the opportunity to be successful doing something we are passionate about," said Lars Ulrich, Metallica's co-founder and drummer. "We want to share our success with others so that they can find a job where they can do the same.”

GRCC will use the funding to launch an intensive welding program targeted toward nontraditional students that takes less time to complete than traditional courses. It also will feature smaller class sizes with flexible scheduling options and career preparation assistance.

“We're excited that Metallica and AACC will partner with GRCC to expand opportunities for people in West Michigan to gain in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. "Our programs prepare people for great jobs today and build on those skills as they start down a pathway of lifelong learning. This partnership will assist us in this work."

GRCC will partner with local employers so students can participate in site visits, employee panels and mentoring to help them determine if welding is a good fit for their career goals. Each student will participate in individualized career preparation with GRCC to ensure they are job ready upon completion of their welding license.

Metallica established the All Within My Hands Foundation in 2017 to invest in the people and places that have supported the band. The foundation previously supported efforts to fight hunger and provide emergency community aid, and is expanding its mission to include support for career and technical education.

“The goal of our Metallica Scholars Initiative is to improve career opportunities for community college students in the trades,” said Edward Frank, the foundation's executive director. “Equally, we hope to raise the awareness of the tremendous importance, value and impact of the education provided by our nation’s community college system. The foundation and the band are thrilled by the quality of proposals we received from these colleges and are excited to do our part to help educate students so that they have the skills and training necessary to find meaningful and well-paying jobs in their communities.”

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