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Why CEOs are worried about President Trump's travel ban

January 31, 2017

Chesto Means Business

Logging concerns with travel ban: Bill Wagner should be celebrating. The LogMeIn CEO wraps up a merger today with Citrix’s GoTo business that will triple his company’s size. He’ll wake up tomorrow running the biggest software firm in the city of Boston.

But Wagner also has other things on his mind: He joins a growing chorus of CEOs who are publicly expressing their frustration with the Trump administration’s new limits on immigration and foreign travel.

Tech executives have been particularly vocal opponents. Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce CEO Jim Rooney issued a note today to members voicing “deep concern” about the travel restrictions and the ensuing chaos. He has heard from dozens of affected members already. Rooney knows Boston’s economy was built on the flow of ideas here — and by extension, the flow of people.

At LogMeIn, Wagner notified employees in a memo that Trump’s executive order — and an earlier one that raised privacy questions among overseas clients — could have a harmful effect on the company. No employees are from the seven targeted countries. But a number of them rely on visas to work there, he says, and they’re highly anxious about what happens next.

LogMeIn’s merger will expand the company to 3,000 employees. Roughly one-third live outside the U.S. From Wagner’s perspective, LogMeIn’s continued growth depends on becoming more inclusive and diverse, not less.

Executive Summary

Show of support: When state Attorney General Maura Healey announced details of her lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order, Mohamad Ali stood right next to her, the Globe’s Shirley Leung writes.

Ali is the CEO of Carbonite, a publicly traded data protection company in Boston. He’s also Muslim and an immigrant who moved to the United States when he was 11. He attended the Tuesday press conference to express the technology community’s objection to a policy that temporarily bans immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries.

  “ We believe this executive order is detrimental to our state and our country,” Ali said. “It is morally and ethically beneath our American values. America is a nation of compassion, and we do not turn our backs on those in need and seeking refuge.”

Ali then went on to remind everyone that some of America’s greatest companies were led by first or second generation immigrants: Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, had a Syrian father, and Andy Grove, the late CEO of Intel and an architect of Silicon Valley, was a Hungarian refugee.

Bracing for inflation: With the US economy showing signs of inflation, the investment committee of the Massachusetts state pension fund is proposing adjustments in its holdings, the Globe’s Beth Healy reports.

Among the recommendations being made for the fund, officially Pension Reserves Investment Management, is to reduce exposure to long-term bonds that delivered big returns in recent years. The committee also wants to trim back exposure to distressed debt at the $62.5 billion fund and will increase investments in bank loans while seeking “other credit opportunities.”

The committee’s recommendations are geared toward maintaining a 7.5 percent annual return. The full pension board is scheduled to consider the change of direction next month.

Organized effort: Employees at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain will be voting on whether to join a union.

The Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey writes that the Service Employees International Union and Partners HealthCare came to an agreement to allow the union to organize. SEIU already represents about 56,000 Massachusetts health care workers and hopes to add 500 more at Faulkner.

While he respects the rights of workers to vote for or against joining the union, Dr. Michael Gustafson, Faulkner’s president, said in a memo to staff a union is “not in the best interests of the Hospital.”

Fired workers take aim at Amazon: Eight former Amazon delivery drivers, fired because of background checks, have filed discrimination complaints against the online retail giant, the Globe’s Dan Adams reports.

Civil rights advocates are saying the strict background checks unfairly target black and Latino employees. Attorneys for the eight Massachusetts drivers say they had been doing their jobs without incident and only had minor offenses on their criminal records. The fired employees say they were not given a chance to put the criminal records in context.

The company argues that the background checks are necessary to protect customer safety.

A brewing controversy perhaps: Budweiser has a released a commercial ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl that’s likely to stir the already boiling pot over immigration. The ad dramatizes Bud founder Adolphus Busch’s journey to America from Germany.

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro writes Anheuser-Busch InBev is downplaying the timing of the ad, saying it had been in the works for nearly a year. But its release comes days after an executive order issued by President Donald Trump imposed a travel ban on refugees that has sparked protests across the country.

The real test may be at the local package store to see who’s buying into the ad campaign.

Trending pick

How’s it playing in Peoria?: Caterpillar Inc., the huge manufacturer of construction equipment, announced Tuesday it’s moving its headquarters from Peoria to Chicago. Company officials want to be closer to a “global transportation hub.”

Line Items

Drug trial hurts Dimension:

Cambridge biotech takes financial hit -- Boston Business Journal

Trump: Drug prices ‘astronomical’:

Seeks better deals for government programs -- Bloomberg

In the self-driver’s seat:

Uber, Mercedes plan partnership -- Financial Times

Tom Brady’s PJs need help:

Under Armour misses revenue target -- Wall Street Journal


Patchwork: Ever worked on one of those large puzzles and realized you needed one more piece to make it complete? Well, apparently General Electric Co. can relate.

In a story published in today’s Globe, Chesto writes GE spent $1.5 million to secure a 6,800-square-foot-parcel along Fort Point Channel for its new campus in Boston’s Seaport District. GE and MassDevelopment, a quasi-public state agency, had obtained the other 2.5 acres needed for the headquarters in earlier deals totaling $83 million.

The land gives GE enough property to seek a state waterfront permit, which requires at least half of the campus be considered open space.

Plans emerged Monday at a Department of Environmental Protection hearing that show the public amenities GE plans, like opening the ground floor of its buildings to the public for restaurants, shops and a “learning lab.” The company will also offer kayak rentals from its dock.

Also in today’s Globe, you get the picture — or pictures — of the extreme makeover underway in the Seaport District through the lens of David L. Ryan.

Read the article from The Boston Globe here.