The Lead: Hilton and Disney Acquisitions, U.S. Retail Sales

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Hilton Acquires New Marketing Leader

Effective January 29th, 2018, Kellyn Smith Kenny will be the hospitality company Hilton’s SVP and chief marketing officer. Kenny was VP of marketing at Uber, SVP of marketing at Capital One, and the leader of Microsoft’s consumer-facing and retail marketing efforts. These former roles have created invaluable experiences for Kenny to draw upon as she is set to oversee Hilton’s portfolio of over 14 brands.

Our View: When people take on more leadership roles and advance their careers, it becomes increasingly important for them to go beyond managing their own business areas and advise their CEO on key strategic decisions. They must be team-oriented, excellent communicators, and trust-builders. Further Reading

U.S. Retail Sales Jumped in November

Online retailers, electronics stores, and furniture stores saw big gains last month. The Commerce Department said sales at retailers and restaurants increased 0.8 percent in November from the previous month, and sales increased 2.1 percent at electronics stores and 1.2 percent at furniture stores. The continuing dominance of e-commerce was also evident through the increase in online shopping. The economy has grown at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the last six months, and according to surveys, consumers are more confident than they have been since 2000.

Our View: Understanding the cycles in your industry and planning for different scenarios are excellent ways to help navigate seasonal fluctuations. Leaders can maximize opportunities for growth by making customer promotions countercyclical and developing alternative income streams to counteract the off-season lulls. Further Reading

How CFOs are Overcoming Talent and Data Challenges

As the finance function continues to evolve in the competitive market, finding and retaining accounting and finance talent is increasingly difficult. As one of their biggest strategic focuses, CFOs are implementing new technologies and systems to combat talent and data challenges. They are finding new ways to automate business financial processes, systems integrations, and developing tools like performance metric dashboards.

Our View: The increasingly digitized workplace and additional abilities to automate tasks are changing employees’ and leaders’ responsibilities. A new adaptable skill set is required to manage and interact with technology. Strong leadership will involve nurturing this new skill set and managing peoples’ fear of change. Further Reading

Misconduct Allegations Prompt Panthers Owner to Sell Team

Two days after the news of the start of an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that he would sell the team but did not mention the allegations in his statement. An article in Sports Illustrated outlines the allegations and complaints made by former Panthers employees.

Our View: The dozens of recent high-profile cases of sexual harassment has executive consultant Kim Arellano asking, “Are the swift dismissals happening at institutions today a result of a shift in generational thinking?” While there is currently little academic research on the subject of generational attitudes and sexual harassment, the change doesn’t seem to be that younger women today perceive sexual harassment differently but rather that they are more willing to speak up. Further Reading

Disney’s Game-Changing Acquisition of Fox

Changing the world of entertainment, Disney acquired a major portion of 21st Century Fox in a deal where Disney is paying $52.4 billion in stock for Fox assets that leaves Fox investors owning a 25% stake of Disney. This expands Disney’s massive footprint and brings the entertainment giant closer to becoming a streaming media leader that contends with Netflix.

 Our View: Higher organic sales growth, margin improvements, profitability, and high stock prices are all desired results from an acquisition. While all acquisitions come with costs, the ideal scenario is that the acquirer’s stock price doesn’t become reduced. Highly effective leaders can create synergies between combined companies. Further Reading

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