November 22, 2021
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and expressing gratitude for the good things in our lives. After the tumult of 2020, it has become especially important to appreciate all things positive and beneficial. Good news on the business front is undoubtedly always appreciated by corporate CEOs, who regularly have to navigate a whirlwind of challenges. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at five CEOs who have good reason to be thankful this holiday season.
Let’s start with Marc Bitzer, Chairman & CEO, Whirlpool Corp. (Tii:WHR). Coming off record third-quarter results, the global appliance manufacturer expects full-year 2021 net sales to grow approximately 13%. The parent company to five brands with more than $1 billion in sales each cites a robust housing market, increased appliance usage, and strong demand on its e-commerce and direct-to-consumer platforms as contributors. Whirlpool was also named to the 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) North America Index for the 15th time, recognizing its ongoing focus on environmental and social responsibility. All this means good news and reasons to be cheerful for the CEO, who recently celebrated his fourth year at the helm.
Daryl Adams, President and CEO, The Shyft Group (Tii:SHYF), is surely thankful this season. Not only does he helm a company that was named one of Fortune’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies for 2021, but the specialty vehicle maker also reported record third-quarter results across all areas of operation. Sales for the quarter rose 34% to $272.6 million on increased sales in all product categories. That strong demand is expected to continue, with the company predicting full-year earnings in the $1.66-$1.70 per share range on $930-$970 in revenues. These projections mark a substantial improvement from 2020’s earnings of $1.05 per share on sales of $676 million.
Andrew Meslow, CEO of Bath & Body Works (Tii:BBWI) has reasons to be especially grateful this holiday season. Specializing in pleasant fragrances and “feel good” products for the body and the home, Bath & Body Works experienced strong growth this past year. As a result, the company’s stock price has gained more than 100% for the year (as of Nov. 22, 2021). The company’s third-quarter sales increased 53% compared to sales of $1.099 billion in pre-pandemic 2019 due to strong customer response to its merchandise assortment and a growing, loyal customer base. Formerly known as L Brands, Inc., Bath and Body Works has more than 1,700 North American stores, with nearly 300 stores in countries around the globe operating under franchise, license and wholesale arrangements.
Another thankful exec, Jensen Huang, Founder, President and CEO of NVIDIA Corp. (Tii:NVDA), has seen his leadership team navigate supply-chain logistics and capitalize on the enormous demand for gaming, artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual worlds. This demand contributed to record third-quarter results in which revenue increased 50% to $7.1 billion, and earnings rose 83% from last year’s totals. Another reason for gratitude: NVIDIA shares have gained more than 140% thus far in 2021. Earlier in the year, the Semiconductor Industry Association, a group of companies that together employ a quarter-million workers in the U.S., honored Huang with its Robert N. Noyce Award. The group’s highest honor was bestowed upon the CEO for being a trailblazer in building accelerated computing platforms.
Despite the chip shortage affecting global automotive production, Ford Motor Co. (Tii:F) President and CEO Jim Farley is undoubtedly very grateful this year. Looking to circumvent the semiconductor supply challenges, the automaker recently inked a deal with chipmaker GlobalFoundries Inc. (Tii:GFS) to advance semiconductor manufacturing and technology development within the United States to boost chip supplies for Ford and the U.S. automotive industry. In other positive news, the automaker reported in late October that revenue, net income, adjusted earnings before interest and taxes, cash flow from operations, and adjusted free cash flow were all sharply higher from the second to the third quarter of 2021. These results were driven by significant increases in semiconductor availability and wholesale vehicle shipments from its second quarter. Making things even sweeter, Ford stock is up more than 120% for the year.
Each industry contends with its share of challenges, so it remains to be seen whether these CEOs will remain as thankful in 2022. But for now, these execs should indeed be enjoying a very happy Thanksgiving.