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Quest Means Business
Germany, France, Italy Pause AstraZeneca Vaccine Use; Irish Taoiseach Hopes To Resolve AstraZeneca Pause This Week; Tesla CFO Appointed Master Of Coin In SEC Filing; Survey Shows Corporate Leaders Optimistic; Can Employers Require Returning Employees To Get Vaccinated? Aired 4-4:40p ET
Aired March 15, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Daylight savings time is here. There you have it, the closing bell is ringing on Wall Street, today at the
beginning of our program, not at the end.
And the numbers you see there, the Dow has just closed at an all-time high. The markets have been active, busy, and they have been frothy, 33,000 is
not a million miles away on the Dow.
The markets and the main events of this Monday. Germany, France, Italy and Spain, the latest countries to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine. Tonight, we
will ask the scientists whether there's real cause for concern.
Ireland's Prime Minster tells me Europe could have done a better job with its vaccine rollout.
And all hail the Techno King, Elon Musk gives himself a brand-new title.
We are live from New York on Monday. The ides of March. Beware the ides of March. Couldn't resist it. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.
Good evening. Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the E.U.'s largest economies have tonight suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine despite
reassurances from the World Health Organization and their own regulator, the European Medicines Agency that the drug and drug company itself that it
Spain became the latest to join the list of countries a few hours ago. Prosecutors in Northern Italy ordered a batch of AstraZeneca to be seized
citing a man who fell ill and died after a shot. Norway has also reported the death of an inoculated person with severe blood clots.
Now, let's put this into perspective. The W.H.O., the World Health Organization says there is no evidence the incidents are caused by the
vaccine and the vaccination campaign must continue.
The European Medicines Agency says the benefits outweigh any risks. AstraZeneca insist its data shows the shot is safe. And in the United
Kingdom, where the vaccine was developed, 11 million doses have been given. The U.K. is urging people to keep taking it.
Melissa Bell is in Rome tonight. Melissa, let's just start. This has picked up speed, even though it was last week when we saw the first countries
moving on this. What prompted these other countries to jump on the Norway/Iceland bandwagon?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, you'll remember that in the beginning, these were the first few countries, in the beginning countries
like Austria and Latvia who had announced the suspension of a particular batch because they had found that in some of those patients, there were the
concerns -- there were concerns they wanted to investigate them.
A number of countries followed, announcing the entire suspension. As you mentioned, Denmark, Norway. And then there was the other part of Europe.
Not just the European Medicines Agency, AstraZeneca itself, the World Health Organization as you just mentioned backing continued use of the
vaccine and explaining that when you looked at the numbers, there was no difference in those with blood clots in those who had been inoculated with
AstraZeneca that you'd find in the general population.
But also, European countries, France, Germany, the Netherlands, really backing that position as well. The French Health Minister even went to his
weekly press conference a few days ago, Richard, and said, look, five million people have been inoculated in Europe, we are talking about 30 who
have had a few problems. That is fewer people than you'd find in the general population developing blood clots, and then this reversal.
I think what we've seen over the course of the last few days is a growing number of countries seeing these sorts of concerns that have led in some
cases to death.
Now, again, there is no suggestion for the time being that there is evidence of causality there, but I think one of the things that has changed
as well is it isn't just the numbers of people who have gone on to develop blood clots, but as we're hearing from a growing number of health
regulators including the Danish one today, that the particular form of illness and the actual way in which the patient's health system was before
they died is causing concern and that's what they want to look into.
QUEST: But we've seen pictures today of people being vaccinated. The last doses being given into the arms of people in Rome before the suspension. I
mean -- here we go. I mean, what does it mean? Oh, we're going to give you your vaccine, and by the way, as soon as we're finished with you, we are
suspending giving this vaccine.
BELL: Imagine, Richard, what that does on a continent that is famous for its vaccine hesitancy to begin with. We have been talking about these last
few months how European leaders were going to convince Europeans to go and get these vaccinations.
BELL: We saw some pretty dramatic scenes today. Remember that today is day one of a new lockdown here in parts of Italy, including here in Rome and it
is of course, in just over a year, the second time that these parts find themselves in a fairly strict lockdown where you're only meant to leave the
house if it is for work or health reasons.
On that first day of a catastrophically complicated second lockdown for its economy, for its populations. We went to look at one of the vaccination
centers just outside of Rome Airport where they've begun delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine. It is of course, one of the three, a fourth has now
been approved, but one of the three currently available and crucially currently available specifically for younger populations.
In some countries there have been this initial advice that it shouldn't be given to older populations, so people like healthcare workers have been
receiving it and non-healthcare workers now as well.
We went to watch it be delivered. There were a few people queueing up there. The workers there told us there that they actually vaccinated on
average about a thousand people a day, up to 2,000 on good days when people turned up.
And suddenly the news came that they had the stop putting these vaccinations in people's arms. People began to be turned away. We spoke to
a few of them afterwards. I said, well, how do you feel about this? They said, look, we had hesitated to come here because we knew it was the
AstraZeneca vaccine. We knew that there were doubts about it in some other countries, but if they were to change their mind now, there's no way we'd
come back and try it again.
So there is going to be that issue of the image of the vaccine and what it leads people to think about as they to go to get themselves vaccinated.
For the time being, we're just going to have to wait for the results. Not only these national agencies' investigations, but the European Medicines
Agency. It, of course, is now looking at this, Richard. We should get the results of that within a few days.
QUEST: Melissa Bell is in Rome, normally in Paris, of course, but now relocated to Rome. Thank you.
And that is the problem. The Europe, Africa, and the United States relying on AstraZeneca's vaccine, together, billions of doses have been ordered and
has been approved and being used in dozens of countries.
It's been going into people's arms and has been for weeks. According to the company itself, more than 17 million people vaccinated across Europe and
the U.K., and there's been no evidence says AstraZeneca of any increased risk to patients.
In fact, of 17 million, only 37 blood clots have been reported which according to AstraZeneca is less than you would expect naturally to occur.
Dr. Celine Gounder is with me, served as the COVID adviser to the Joe Biden transition team, assistant health commissioner in New York.
Celine, right, we need some advice here, Doctor. So, what -- is this justified to suspend the vaccine's delivery in these places? Do you believe
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, AstraZeneca has reported that they have looked into the records on these 17 million vaccinations
delivered. As you mentioned, only 37 blood clots, which is really lower than what you would normally expect to see in the normal population rate,
and they have looked at this by age group, they have looked at this by batch, by country, and still are not seeing any increased risk.
So I do think it's important to remember that just because you got vaccinated and then you developed a medical condition afterwards -- it
could be a broken bone. Some number of people are going to have heart attacks or blood clots or broken bones that are completely unrelated to the
vaccine, and so I think it's important to remember that.
And if we're not seeing an increased risk of blood clots among people who have been vaccinated compared to others that really diminishes our concern.
I do think because of the question of vaccine hesitancy and the fact that so many countries have now put a pause on vaccination, we really do have to
wait until investigations, additional investigations by the individual countries play out so that people feel secure getting vaccinated.
QUEST: So imagine, a good friend of yours, a member of your family, yesterday had the vaccine or last week had the vaccine and they ring you,
they say, Celine, I'm told that I've got this stuff in me. Should I be worried? What should I do?
GOUNDER: You know, in a situation like that, I would of course tell people to monitor their own symptoms but I really would not be alarmed. And I do
have family that lives in Europe and who may well be getting the AstraZeneca vaccine, but I really would not be alarmed if you have been the
recipient of this.
Your risk of getting COVID, of having a severe complication of COVID, getting hospitalized or dying from COVID is extremely high given the
community transmission rates right now while really we're not seeing an increased risk of blood clots or other such complications from the
QUEST: The big problem of course is, let's say in two weeks' time, the medical agencies and these individual countries says, no, it is all right,
off you go. You can have -- you can take this vaccine again, no problem with that.
QUEST: Suddenly people will say, no, I don't want it. I'm worried about this vaccine. I don't think I want it.
GOUNDER: Well, this is precisely why I think it's so important now that the vaccinations have been put on pause that these questions have been raised
that each of these countries do complete their investigations because I think with each of those that will reinforce the message that, look, we
were worried about this. When you do see something, a complication, a potential complication with a new drug or a new vaccine, you do want to
look into it.
But in particular, if the results really do bear out that there is no connection, I think the fact that multiple countries arrive at that same
conclusion will make it that much stronger.
QUEST: Dr. Gounder, Celine, thank you for joining us.
The Irish Taoiseach says he hopes his country can resume using the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of this week. The pause is a blow to an
already sluggish vaccine rollout.
Ireland is slightly ahead of the rest of the E.U., but of course lags well behind the U.K., the United States, and Israel. Ireland is also still in
the midst of one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.
I spoke to the Prime Minster, Micheal Martin, and I asked him how much further behind the AstraZeneca delay is going to leave Ireland and Europe.
MICHEAL MARTIN, IRISH TAOISEACH: The context of this decision about 30,000 vaccinations were about to be given -- AstraZeneca vaccinations this week.
We would like this to be brought to a conclusion, hopefully, by the end of the week, and that we could catch up fairly quickly in respect of those
vaccinations that had to be postponed.
QUEST: There's a nasty dispute brewing within the E.U., between member countries and potentially with the commission over what has happened with
AstraZeneca. The purchasing of it, those countries like yourselves which decided to front load towards AstraZeneca.
Do you feel that you are -- being punished is perhaps a slightly strong word, but by voting or deciding to go for the AstraZeneca rather than the
other as part of your allocation?
MARTIN: No, not really at all. I mean, we went for a mixed basket of vaccines, to use that phrase, and Europe did and I think that was a correct
policy. And we have -- at the moment, we're administering Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and had been opted to -- up to Sunday, the AstraZeneca, and I think
there were production and manufacturing issues with AstraZeneca and AstraZeneca has not been in the position to fulfill its European contract
to date. It acknowledges that.
I spoke with the CEO myself last Friday evening. He identified issues in term of yields from some of the plants where the vaccines meant for Europe
were being manufactured. And there's been ongoing engagement between the European Commission and AstraZeneca in addition to how it can get up to
speed in term of meeting its commitments to Europe.
QUEST: What would you say to someone in Europe, in Ireland who says, all we've heard from the European side is a series of reasons -- maybe
justifiable ones -- but a series of reasons about why the authorization was late than everybody else, why the rollout is slower than everybody else,
the distribution is more confused, and now an allocation that seems to penalize some countries who made early decisions?
Whatever the individual reasons, the perception is that Europe has dropped the ball.
MARTIN: Well, I think the perception is -- I think the more fundamental issue has been around manufacturing and production of the vaccines,
actually. I think, if you stand back, within 10 months, the world has enabled the development, particularly in Europe and the United States of
four vaccines, for example now that are very effective and impactful on the virus.
Compared to a decade ago, that's an incredible achievement. And the issue perhaps where Europe could have concentrated more on was on the production
side and on the manufacturing side.
QUEST: This morning, the European Commission launched legal action against the British over there, the U.K.'s plans to delay implementing part of the
protocol in Northern Ireland. Do you support the action being taken by the Commission? Bearing in mind it will be months if not several years before
there is a resolution.
So in any case, there would have to be a negotiated settlement, and I wonder, what is the purpose of the litigation?
MARTIN: I do support the decision taken by the European Union and the European Commission. They had no option.
We believe in a rules-based approach as a country in terms of international relations, and an agreement has been arrived at. Admittedly, it's only two
and a half months in operation. Britain has left the European Union. There is a withdrawal agreement there. There is a trade and cooperation
agreement. Everybody should abide by those rules.
There are mechanisms within the agreement, the joint committee and the specialized committees to resolve any issues, particularly relating to the
protocol. Those mechanisms should be utilized to the full.
I don't agree with a unilateral approach. We have been here before in terms of the internal markets bill. It ultimately got resolved. It was withdrawn.
In my view, what the unilateral approach does is it erodes trust, and trust is the only basis for constructive relationships and engagement and
particularly between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
And I want a strong relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. I also want a strong relationship between the United
Kingdom and Ireland, and I think that has to be on the basis of trust, and I think these unilateral moves don't help that.
QUEST: If we look at your economy, and we look at all of the economies, I mean, even allying for the recovery fund from the Union, it's going to take
the next generation and the generation after that to dig us out or to dig themselves out over the huge debts and damage being done by this, isn't it?
There's not much more one could really do.
MARTIN: Well, the pandemic is having a very significant economic impact, but decision makers and governments around the world have to respond to
that and I think are doing that.
I think the -- President Biden's $1.9 trillion injection will be significant and will help the U.S. recovery and world recovery.
European Union's 1.8 trillion recovery and resilience fund on top of the member states' additional funds, I think will help economic recovery.
I think, you know, we can be fatalistic about things, but on the other, I would take a different approach. I think there could very well could be a
rebound, but we also have to reposition economies and societies into the future.
So there will have to be a strong focus on the green economy and on digital transformation, and those are two things that Ireland along with Europe
will be focusing in on, particularly in our national economic recovery plan as we emerge from COVID-19.
QUEST: The Irish Taoiseach, Micheal Martin talking to me earlier.
As we continue tonight, Tesla's Board room takes a turn for the fantastical as Elon Musk adds a new title to his CV.
And this year's Academy Awards nominations are out. Steaming services are staking their claim. It's the Oscars.
QUEST: He is called or you can call him the world's second richest man. He's also known as the CEO of SpaceX and a new title for Elon Musk, Techno
King -- I jest not -- of Tesla. Techno King.
Elon Musk has given himself the job title of Techno King and it sounds more like something out of a fantasy game than the C-suite. He crowned himself
Techno King in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That title goes in addition to the title of CEO.
There's others who have changed title. Tesla's CFO, Zach Kirkhorn is now the Master of Coin. A title that sounds familiar to fans of "Game of
Thrones" and it could be reference of Tesla's massive investment in Bitcoin, which hit record highs over the weekend.
Paul La Monica joins me now. Why? Why, Paul? What's behind it?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: It's hard to understand why Elon Musk does what he does lately. I mean, we should point out, it's the ides
of March, Richard, not April 1st, and it's a legitimate S.E.C. filing so this doesn't appear to be an April fool's joke, but I think Elon Musk,
through the years has enjoyed trolling people, including the financial press.
And the fact that we're here talking about this on air shows that he has got us again.
In all seriousness, it is starting to become a bit odd that Musk is acting this way when he is the second richest person on the planet. He's not some
young Gen Z millennial. You would think that there should be maybe a little bit more of a maturity level, but hey, he's got several hundreds of billion
more than I, so who am I to say?
QUEST: That's the point, isn't it? As long as the genius continues to produce -- the old -- it doesn't matter what you call me, just don't call
LA MONICA: Yes, I mean, joking aside, what seems to be a little worrisome here is Techno King -- I mean, King is not a title that we use in the
United States all that much given our history of beating the United Kingdom to win our independence hundreds of years ago.
So you do have to wonder, what does this mean? Is he making a subtle illusion about succession planning that namely one of his kids will
eventually become the next Tesla CEO once he decides to give that title up or pass away or what have you?
I mean, keep in mind, Tesla is a publicly traded company of which he is obviously the face of and a top shareholder, but it's not a private
company. It's not a fiefdom.
You would think that there should be individual investors having say in who is next in line as the CEO of Tesla and I'm not suggesting that by crowning
himself King that means that the child with the unpronounceable name that he had with Grimes is going to be the next CEO 20 to 30 years from now.
But I don't know. Maybe he is saying that. It's hard to really figure out what Elon Musk is thinking as a joke and what's for real.
QUEST: We just had on the screen that the stock is up 500 percent since the pandemic. Now, admittedly, that was from a low point following the scandal,
and also it was at 900. But most -- the consensus on the street is that it could head back towards 900.
LA MONICA: Yes. There's a lot of optimism about Tesla in light of its investment in Bitcoin, so you do have the illusion there to the CFO now
being the Master of Coin. Obviously, Tesla remains a leader in electric vehicles.
So, there is legitimate reason for optimism despite the fact that you had that issue when Musk talked about taking the company private and then that
didn't actually happen.
Now, I'll point out for our viewers, maybe your producers did this for intentional reasons, maybe not, but this hit began, I believe at 4:20
Eastern Time, a number that is very near and dear to Elon Musk's heart.
QUEST: Thank you. Paul La Monica, I appreciate it.
Now, this year's Oscar nominations are more diverse and a lot less likely to have featured in a cinema.
Netflix led all studios with 35 nominations. David Fincher's "Mank" picked up 10 of those including Best Picture. Movies that went on straight to
streaming on Disney+ and Apple were eligible and nominated this year, with theaters closed during the pandemic.
QUEST: For the first time ever, two women will compete for Best Director, Chloe Zhao for "Nomadland" and Emerald Fennell for "Promising Young Woman."
Zhao is the first woman of color nominated for the prize.
Brian Stelter is here. I watched the nominations having come off the Golden Globes, which was notable with its lack of, they do seem, fair to all
around, they do seem to be making a much better effort at it.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think the Academy, the voters, Hollywood in general, is feeling this pressure. It's the best kind
It is pressure to reflect the world around them, pressure to reflect America and the world as it is, and so we are seeing this progress. I don't
think #OscarsSoWhite that haunted the Academy a couple of years ago is going to be in play anymore.
And hopefully, every year, it won't just be about the award nominations, it's also going to be about the films the studios make, and that those
films will also reflect America in the world.
QUEST: Brian, will they be able to put the genie back in the bottle on theatrical release? The old requirement that the movie had to -- even if it
was two nights in the middle of nowhere, it had to be in a theatrical release in a theater somewhere? That was impossible last year. Will we see
a return of that rule, do you think?
STELTER: I think only in a hybrid way. We're going to continue to see these rules change as the film business changes. I was thinking about this today,
Richard. The film "Nomadland" is up for a number of Academy Awards. I can either go see it in a theater now in New York or I can just watch it on
I am going to choose to watch it on Hulu. I think most people are. But that flexibility is a good thing and Hollywood is going to have to accept that
QUEST: We will save Netflix cracking down on sharing passwords for another day. I am sure you're not the sort of person who would ever even think of
doing that. Thank you, sir.
Now, coming up, the majority of CEOs believe the world economy will improve this year, according to a new survey. They also have major concerns of what
the future holds.
The Global Chair of PwC is with me after the break.
It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Good evening.
QUEST: Corporate leaders have never been more optimistic about the economy's direction. According to the latest survey by PWC which says
three-quarters of people expect economic growth this year.
And more than a third are very confident -- their words, very confident -- their company will take in more revenue. Even so, half say they're
extremely concerned with pandemics and other health crises.
PWC's chair, Bob Moritz, is with us in just a moment. Stay with me, Bob. We'll come to you in a second or two.
Before, though, let's hear that many CEOs have a huge dilemma about their re-opening plans.
Anna Stewart reporting on whether employers can or should make returning workers get vaccinated.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: For the founder of Pimlico Plumbers, it's a no- brainer.
CHARLIE MULLINS, CEO, PIMLICO PLUMBERS: I believe that's the way that the future's going. No jab, no job; no jab, no travel; no jab, no fun.
STEWART: He wants all current and future employees to have the vaccine, and he'll add it as a clause into their job contract.
MULLINS: Going by the response we've had from our staff, 99.9 percent of them are up for it and at the moment they'd crawl across the snow naked to
get the vaccine.
STEWART: I guess the big question is though, are you prepared to go to court if it comes to it?
MULLINS: According to our lawyers, we're doing nothing wrong, we're actually safeguarding people.
STEWART: Adding a no jab, no job clause into a contract isn't illegal in the U.K.
But if an employee refuses to accept it, they could take legal action.
DAVID SAMUELS, EMPLOYMENT LAWYER, LEWIS SILKIN: If someone doesn't want to get a vaccination and their employer insists that they do in order to
undertake their role then the basis on which they would challenge it is because perhaps they have medical reasons for not having the vaccination or
they have ideological, religious reasons for not having the vaccination.
They would then argue that by putting in place a requirement that they be vaccinated and other employees vaccinated, the employer's policy is
disproportionately affecting people like them who share that characteristic or the medical condition and that is, therefore, a form of indirect
STEWART: The arguments may be strong where lives are at stake. Care homes were some of the hardest hit by COVID.
One of the U.K.'s leading chains, Barchester Healthcare, have set April 23rd as a deadline for staff to be vaccinated allowing for some exemptions
They say they are aware of discrimination concerns but they say they're doing everything possible to ensure fairness. They're also delivering on
their duty to protect residents, patients and staff.
Vaccine passports could be rolled out far more widely in the workplace in the future; you could need proof of a vaccine to go abroad, to the cinema
or even to the pub. It's something the U.K. government is actively considering.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are clearly some quite complex issues, some issue, some ethical issues about discrimination and so on --
to what extent can government either compel or indeed forbid such use of such certification -- I think all that needs to be gone into.
STEWART: While the government considers its position, some British businesses are forming their own. No jabs, no jobs.
STEWART (Voice Over):: Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
QUEST: Now Bob Moritz of PWC is with me. PWC employs 284,000 professionals across 155 countries around the world.
Bob, good to see you, as always.
Bob, we got an email from our bosses last week which -- I'll just read you the gist of it. It says -- The decision has been made not to require
vaccinations to return to the office but vaccinations will be strongly encouraged for everyone who's safe to take them.
Is that the sort of middle ground where people seem to be coalescing?
BOB MORITZ, GLOBAL CHAIR, PWC: I think it's actually the majority ground, Richard.
I would say the majority of the CEOs and the business leaders are taking that exact approach which is not require but strongly encourage.
And even going a step further, they're actually putting incentives for people who want to get vaccinated to make it easier to get vaccinated and
to give them rewards for doing so.
Because we know the quicker we can get more vaccinations in people's arms the quicker the recovery, the quicker the better economic growth potential
that's out there for everybody.
QUEST: Your latest confidence survey, the CEO survey. I just wonder -- I'm not surprised bearing in mind the vaccines are going to allow a large
element of normality but it is a case -- reading the study, it's a case of on the one hand this, on the other hand, that.
They can't really -- they're still worried.
MORITZ: Very much so. So, Richard, you've got a record number -- amount of optimism. It comes in the form of optimism in the economy and optimism in
the growth potential that they have as a company.
But it's got a degree of fragility with it. There's a number of underlying issues. Clearly, the success of the vaccination program globally is a
challenge, second are some of the big risks that CEOs are seeing around the world that if any one of those or a combination goes, there is a concern
about the strength of that economy and the longevity of that economic growth that they're looking for right now.
QUEST: Right. But are they planning to invest or is this a case of hunker down, not quite circle the wagons but make sure -- I think you and I
earlier in the pandemic talked about how companies were putting in place, they were getting leaner, they were getting fitter.
But does that mean that they are now ready to go out on the attack?
MORITZ: They are very much on the attack. As you look at the question we ask of these CEOs, what are you willing to do in terms of that investment
You see things like, continue the digitization journey, you see things like M&A activity, you see things like attack the market share that they're
looking to achieve. And that comes from better consumer experience or better product offerings at better prices.
So there's very much a growth agenda that people are trying to go after rather than just a bunker-down mentality that we talked about six to nine
months ago. For sure.
QUEST: So the digitization. I think we can sum it up that essentially it's accelerated by arguably ten years or more as a result of the pandemic.
Does that mean, in your view, we are going to be left with a larger number of unemployed people? That if we don't start having retraining policies, we
will be storing up societal difficulties?
MORITZ: The push for digitization over the last year has come in record speed. But let's remember that digitization has been mostly for purposes of
survivability. People had to figure out how to survive by leveraging technology and the effects of digital.
Now what organizations are doing is saying how can I actually sustain the uptick that I'm looking for and actually not only survive but thrive? It
does require organizations to invest in their own people, invest more in technologies, invest in the concepts of innovation.
The growth potential is going to go for those that move the fastest. The ones that move the fastest are based on better data, quicker decision
making, and better scaling as quickly as possible.
And that's where the opportunity is right now as people look ahead.
QUEST: So we mustn't forget that you are the head of a large company in your own right. So let's do, first of all, office.
How much do you think you're going reduce your office footprint by people not working, by people continuing to work from home, by hot desking, people
doing hybrid work. What's your gut feeling?
MORITZ: So as we sit here today, it's going to be a long time before we actually jump to those conclusions.
The reason I say that is we all got forced into the biggest change ever. The reality is that was by force. The reality is coming out of it, though,
is actually by option.
So we should learn before we automatically put a goal out there or an objective out there in terms of where we want to two.
It's clear people will want both the connection in the office, the connection outside of the office and then the opportunity to work from
home. That's going to require a reduced footprint.
Most corporates around the world are going to be doing that. We're no different. How much and how big and over what period of time is going to be
the question. We'll experiment and learn along the way and that's what we're planning on doing over the next two years at least before we get to
some kind of consistency on a worldwide basis.
QUEST: A more immediate policy that I suspect you're going to -- and I'd be interested to hear -- travel. The travel budget which, of course, went
virtually to zero during pandemic, how determined are you that you're not going to let travel rise to its heady heights again?
MORITZ: Well, let's not kid ourselves, right. The reality is we want to have that travel back for personal or business reasons, that concept of the
humanity and technology coming together are really important.
You have to look at the overall travel and broader hospitality sectors in terms of what may be happening in them and we're working with the airline
industries not only to think about how it is that we can actually drive towards more travel than we have today but do it in a safe way.
And going back to one of the big risks that the CEOs talk about, doing it in a way that's carbon free or net zero focused. So that's the other
One of the big issues coming out of the CEO survey, Richard, just to be really clear, the focus on climate continued to increase. Not that much,
But the reality is 60 percent of the CEOs have not baked that into their strategies. That's alarming.
That means they're not ready for the immediate changes that have to happen.
We, as we think about our office returns and our travel returns are working with the hospitality industry, the airline industry and the like, to work
together to figure out, how do we strike that right balance.
QUEST: Bob, thank you, sir. We'll talk more. I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for the moment.
As we make a last dash to the top of the hour -- the bell's already rung. CNN Business Traveler, talking about exactly what we've just been talking
about, a life on the road in the post-pandemic world.