President Donald Trump, in his first big meeting, sat down with 12 CEOs of the United States’ largest companies.
He told the group — which included SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Ford CEO Mark Fields, and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson — that his administration would be prioritising corporate tax cuts and decreasing regulation, following up on his “America First” campaign promise.
He also repeated his threat to impose a “border tax” on companies that move production outside the US.
“There will be advantages to companies that do indeed make their products here,” Trump said.
Here’s who sat at the table in the Roosevelt Room Tuesday morning:
Elon Musk — CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla Motors, chairman of Solar City, co-chairman of OpenAI
Trump is a big fan of Musk, the tireless head of some of the most ambitious renewable-energy companies in the US, naming Musk to his Strategic and Policy Forum and inviting him to a meeting with tech leaders in December.
‘The president-elect has a strong emphasis on US manufacturing and so do we,’ Musk told Tesla investors in November, referring to Tesla’s upcoming Gigafactory. ‘We are building the biggest factory in the world right here, creating US jobs. … I think we may see some surprising things from the next administration. We don’t think they will be negative on fossil fuels … but they may also be positive on renewables.’
Mark Fields — President and CEO of Ford Motor Company
Earlier this month, Fields announced that Ford would not pursue a proposed AUD$2.11 billion (US$1.6 billion) production facility in Mexico that Trump had criticized during his campaign. Fields clarified that the move was because of the market and not Trump’s remarks, but he also said, “We are encouraged by the pro-growth plans that President-elect Trump and the new Congress indicate they will pursue.”
Ford plans to invest AUD$5.94 billion (US$4.5 billion) in electric and self-driving vehicles over the next five years.
Marillyn Hewson — Chairwoman, president, and CEO of Lockheed Martin
Hewson was the only female executive in attendance on Monday.
Trump called out Lockheed Martin on Twitter in December for what he said was excessive spending on the development of the advanced fighter jet, the F-35. Hewson then met with Trump to discuss.
In a statement after their meeting, she said that she promised Trump she would aggressively cut costs on the F-35. “I know that President-elect Trump wants the very best capability for our military at the lowest cost for taxpayers, and we’re ready to deliver,” she said.
Kevin Plank — Founder, chairman, and CEO of Under Armour
In December, Plank told CNBC that if Trump were to call on him to keep jobs in America, he’d say, “We’re not going anywhere.”
The sports equipment and apparel company, based in Baltimore, is rapidly expanding overseas, but Plank said that doesn’t entail jobs moving from the US. He said that his company is building a giant e-commerce distribution center in Baltimore that would create 1,000 jobs in 2018.
“I believe that shift is happening where doing what’s right for the shareholder, and particularly for consumer-facing brands, is also about doing what’s right for your community and your own people,” Plank told CNBC.
Andrew N. Liveris — Chairman, president, and CEO of Dow Chemical
In turn, Liveris declared Dow Chemical, his massive chemical and agricultural firm, would be developing a new innovation center in Michigan and creating 200 jobs, half new and half moved from abroad. Last year the company cut more than 4,000 global jobs in a streamlining effort.
Liveris is a vocal supporter of Trump, and told him at the December event, ‘I tingle with pride listening to you.’
Michael Dell — Founder, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies
Dell didn’t get an invite to December’s tech summit, whose members were chosen based on the market caps of their companies, but he had a seat at the table on Monday.
‘What we see is a new administration that’s talking about growth,’ Dell told Bloomberg at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. ‘I think you’ll see our company, companies like ours, across all industries bring capital back onto the balance sheet of the United States, which is likely to be a good thing, and so we’re very supportive of that.’
Mario Longhi — CEO of US Steel
The stock price of the Pittsburgh-based steel company received a big boost after the election of Trump. And in December, Longhi told CNBC that he was hopeful Trump could bring as many as 10,000 jobs back to the American steel industry.
He said he’s looking forward to loosened regulations under Trump.
“There was a point in time in the past couple years that I was having to hire more lawyers to try to interpret these new regulations than I was hiring … engineers,” he told CNBC.
Jeff Fettig — Chairman and CEO of Whirlpool
“Mad Money” host Jim Cramer told his audience that Whirlpool, the home appliance manufacturer, was a great example of a “Trump stock.”
It’s the only manufacturer of its kind left in the US, Cramer said, and it would benefit from protectionist policies that could harm its South Korean rivals, Samsung and LG.
Alex Gorsky —CEO of Johnson & Johnson
As the head of Johnson & Johnson — the giant producer of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products — Gorsky can benefit from a positive relationship with Trump, who has said he would get drug companies to lower prices.
Gorsky told CNBC in January that he met with Trump before his inauguration to discuss healthcare policy.
“And the kinds of things we’re talking about is how can we take what I believe is one of the very best healthcare systems in the world and how can we make it even better?” he said. “How can we make changes, recognizing the challenges, economic pressures, regulatory pressures, but keep essential elements like innovation through better integration?”
Klaus Kleinfeld — Chairman and CEO of Arconic
In November, Kleinfeld oversaw the split of Alcoa — Aluminum Company of America — into two public companies, Arconic and Alcoa Corporation.
Alcoa Corporation handles mining operations that are largely outside of North America, but Arconic could potentially benefit from Trump’s policies, as it designs and manufactures airframe structures, aircraft engines, car and public-transportation parts, and construction materials.
Wendell P. Weeks — Chairman and CEO of Corning
Corning, the multibillion-dollar glass and ceramics manufacturer based in Corning, New York, is one of the largest employers of people living along the ‘Twin Tiers’ New York-Pennsylvania border.
As the Star-Gazette reported, Corning was reluctant to repatriate AUD$4.22 billion (US$3.2 billion) of overseas profits, to avoid a 35% tax. But under Trump, Weeks will be able to bring money back to its US operations at a significantly reduced cost.”
Mark S. Sutton — Chairman and CEO of International Paper
Memphis-based International Paper has 65,000 employees, making it the largest pulp and paper company in the world.
In December, it finalised its AUD$2.9 billion (US$2.2 billion) acquisition of the cellulose fibre portion of Weyerhauser, one of the world’s largest owners of timberlands.”
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