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Samsung said Thursday it will hold an event on Feb. 20 in San Francisco where it’s expected to unveil its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S10.

The phone is expected to be the first major smartphone that supports 5G wireless networks, the faster wireless standard that carriers are deploying this year. Another version of the phone is said to have a foldable screen.

Samsung announced in July it had developed foldable screen technology, but since then, the company has been beat to the punch in launching the technology in a product. Startup Royale launched its FlexiPai mobile phone at a conference in Beijing in November. Samsung lowered its Q4 guidance earlier this week, citing competition in the smartphone market as a reason for missing expectations.

For its tenth anniversary phones, Samsung plans to roll out three versions of the Galaxy S10 with different display sizes starting in March, then roll out a fourth later in the spring that would include 5G network capability, the Wall Street Journal reported. Samsung has reportedly told partners the foldable screen phone may be released as early as April, though a date and name have yet to be set. The company is considering names including “Fold,” “Galaxy Fold” and “Galaxy F,” the WSJ reported.

The foldable phone has already been delayed, after Samsung initially said customers should expect a launch in 2018. Samsung showed a prototype of the foldable phone in November. The phone folds open to act more like a tablet.

Samsung moved up its launch date for its S10 series in order to preempt Huawei’s expected unveiling of a foldable-screen competitor at a Barcelona trade show in late February, the WSJ reported.

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Boeing CEO says global pilot shortage is one of the biggest challenges

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Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg believes a growing shortage of pilots represents “one of the biggest challenges” facing the airline industry.

His comments come at a time when more people are flying to more places, but the number of pilots being trained are unable to keep up with demand.

Demand for air travel is growing so rapidly that 800,000 new pilots are expected to be needed over the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s latest forecast.

The biggest need is in the Asia-Pacific region, where an improving economy in China has resulted in more people booking flights. More people are flying in the U.S. too but, at the same time, experienced pilots are reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 years old.

Speaking to CNBC’s Phil LeBeau at the Paris Airshow on Monday, Muilenburg described a global pilot shortage as “one of the biggest challenges we have going forward.”

Muilenburg said that, according to Boeing’s latest outlook, the market place would climb to $8.7 trillion, up from $8.1 trillion, over the next 10 years. He also estimated the number of new commercial airplanes would rise to 44,000, up from 43,000, over the next two decades.

Pilots walk the tarmac during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, in Paris, France, on Monday, June 17, 2019.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“If you look at those 44,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years, to go along with that we need about 800,000 new pilots, 750,000 new aviation technicians and so building that talent pipeline for the future is really important,” Muilenburg said.

“That’s an area where Boeing will be making additional investments.”

737 Max

The U.S.-based airplane manufacturing giant is scrambling to restore confidence in the 737 Max from regulators, customers and the flying public.

The 737 Max has been grounded across the globe since mid-March after a deadly crash involving the jet in Ethiopia. Less than five months earlier, a Boeing Max crashed in Indonesia.

The disasters killed a total of 346 people. Investigators said the jet’s MCAS flight control system, which is designed to push the aircraft’s nose down to prevent stalling, was involved in the crashes.

Boeing’s chief executive said he was not focused on orders for the 737 Max during his time in the French capital, insisting there would be “plenty of opportunities” in the coming months.

Muilenburg said the company had more than 4,000 of the 737 Max aircraft in backlog.

Earlier this month, Muilenburg said that he expects the planes will get a green light to fly again by the end of the year. He declined to provide a more specific timeline when asked on Monday.

Airlines that have purchased the 737 Max, including American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have canceled thousands of flights due to the grounding and have scrambled to meet demand during the peak summer travel season.

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Italy’s idea of a parallel currency gets a frosty response

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A proposal in Rome to issue small-denomination bonds to help pay back its debts could have disastrous consequences for the Italian economy, an analyst has told CNBC.

The Italian government is considering a proposal that would see the treasury issue securities — so-called mini-BOTs (short-term treasury bills) — that could be used by recipients to pay taxes or to buy goods or services from state-owned companies.

Supporters of the idea, including one of Italy’s ruling parties, Lega, believe the short-term securities would help the government reduce its outstanding bills. On the other hand, critics argue that it would lead to higher public debt in a country that already has the second largest debt pile in the euro zone.

Some traders have cited concern over these mini-BOTs as a reason for a rise in Italian government debt yields in recent sessions, according to Reuters.

Why are markets cautious about the idea?

“If Italy goes down that rout, it will in my opinion be a disaster for the country. You are going to have a loss of general confidence in the Italian debt in the markets,” Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics told CNBC last week.

The mini-BOTs discussion has also resurfaced fears about Italy’s commitment to the single currency. Prior to the general election in 2018, both coalition parties — the leftist Five Star Movement and the right-wing Lega, spread doubts about the country’s membership of the euro zone.

Since then, both parties have toned down their euroskepticism but one of the main economic minds from Lega, Claudio Borghi, is still openly hostile to the idea of the common currency.

“There are a number of economists, including influential ones close to the Italian government, who believe the euro is a key reason for Italian underperformance, and the leaders of the coalition have never fully put this idea to bed,” Erik Nielsen, group chief economist at UniCredit, said in a note last week.

“But given the influence in Rome of a number of people elected on a platform of resentment towards others (it’s the euro’s fault, Brussels’ fault, Germany’s fault…), who have mused publicly about former Greek Finance Minister (Yanis) Varoufakis’ plan of leaving the euro by first introducing a parallel currency, and even suggesting that mini-BOTs could be issued and then made into legal tender as a parallel currency, they have managed to attach a huge degree of stigma to the otherwise sound idea of addressing the public sector arrears via securitization,” Nielsen added.

What do the ECB and the IMF think?

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) has directly addressed the proposals. He said in a press conference earlier this month that mini-BOTs “are either money and then they are illegal” or they are debt: “And then that stocks goes up. I will stop here,” he said, hinting at Italy’s lofty debt pile.

Also Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, does not seem to be very fond of the idea. She told CNBC Thursday: “On this strange financial instrument that has been developed in Italy, we think that there are many better ways to deal with the payment of arrears. It does not require the creation of such instruments. Italian bonds could absolutely do the job … why bother?”

What are the chances that the idea will move forward?

It is unlikely that mini-BOTs will be issued for now. Firstly, if they are a currency then it would be deemed illegal, as Draghi suggested.

Nielsen from UniCredit also said that a parallel currency issued by the state rather than by a central bank would trade at a “steep discount to the euro” — making it less attractive for investors.

Overall, the discussion adds another layer of concern for Italian finances. Market players have been wary of developments in Rome since the anti-establishment coalition took power in June 2018 and vowed to increase public spending. The government’s plans for higher expenditure has also raised eyebrows at the EU, where the European Commission has questioned the stability of the Italian economy with its 2.3 trillion euro debt pile.

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These CEOs have the strongest social media presence, survey shows

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Less than half of S&P 500 and FTSE 350 CEOs have a social media presence, new research has found – and that could be the difference between their companies retaining and losing top talent.

Advisory firm Brunswick launched its Connected Leadership Index last week, documenting the digital profiles of 790 CEOs across the S&P 500 and FTSE 350 indexes – the two big indexes in the U.S. and U.K.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was named the most connected leader, with a strong digital presence on social networks Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

“Doug McMillon’s ownership of social media has changed the game for this company,” one Walmart employee told Brunswick’s researchers. “He understands that it connects us, drives us, and builds morale within the store. His presence gives that extra ‘spark’ we all need.”

The chief executives of Allergan, PepsiCo, Nasdaq and PayPal rounded out the top five.

The top 10 most connected leaders

  1. Doug McMillon, Walmart
  2. Brent Saunders, Allergan
  3. Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo
  4. Adena Friedman, Nasdaq
  5. Dan Schulman, PayPal
  6. Hans Vestberg, Verizon Communications
  7. Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell
  8. Mary Barra, General Motors
  9. Lynn Good, Duke Energy
  10. Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines

Brunswick’s analysis looked into several factors that make up a CEO’s digital presence. These included online activity and identity verification across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as their presence on other widely used platforms, such as Wikipedia and corporate websites.

Although just 48% of the chief executives included in the analysis had a social media presence, researchers found there were high expectations for CEOs to communicate via social networks.

The research surveyed more than 4,000 employees and 805 financial publication readers based in the U.K. and the United States.

It found that 65% of U.S. employees and 73% of British workers felt it was important for CEOs to actively communicate about their company on social media. Almost 70% of American employees said they expected a CEO to act as the face of the company, with 73% saying chief executives were responsible for setting a company’s vision.

Meanwhile, around half of the employees surveyed in both the U.S. and the U.K. said they expected CEOs to be a role model for workers, set the moral tone for an organization and communicate directly with the public and investors.

Social media also played a vital role in times of company crisis, the research showed. Nine in ten financial publication readers believed it was important for a CEO to communicate on social media during a crisis, with 80% of employees expecting the same.

Retaining talent

Maintaining a digital presence could also help CEOs retain talent, according to the study. Researchers found that twice as many workers would prefer to work for a CEO who used social media as part of their work – and 93% of all employees surveyed considered leadership that communicates directly and transparently with workers an important factor in deciding whether to stay at a company.

A majority of the workers included in the survey also told Brunswick they would check a CEO’s social media accounts before joining a new company.

These expectations were also reflected in leaders’ approval ratings. The average Glassdoor rating for the index’s top 50 connected leaders was 5% higher than their peers, while their companies were rated 3% higher on average than their competitors.

Although CEOs were most likely to be active on LinkedIn, the report found that being active on Facebook and Instagram presented a better opportunity to connect with a larger and more diverse audience.

“Social media … provides an unfiltered forum for corporate leaders to listen to their communities and to connect by sharing their successes and challenges,” Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, said in the report. “Social media projects the human side of the corporate world.”

The full ranking of the top 100 connected CEOs can be found here.

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