NAOS CEO Insights

CEO INSIGHTS – Week Ending 27 August 2021 By NAOS Asset Management

August 27, 2021

“Training data is essential for the development of AI [artificial intelligence] products. There is no other way to build AI than with training data. Just as we learn from books, conversations and classes, AI learns from data and improves with the amount and the quality of that data” Mark Brayan, CEO, Appen Ltd

As part of the NAOS investment process, we pay particular attention to the comments made by company CEOs and business leaders in order to gain a greater understanding of the current investment environment and key trends that may be emerging. Below are quotes from the week which in our view detail some of the most important and prominent industry trends and economic factors impacting their businesses.  
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“Training data is essential for the development of AI [artificial intelligence] products. There is no other way to build AI than with training data. Just as we learn from books, conversations and classes, AI learns from data and improves with the amount and the quality of that data” Mark Brayan, CEO, Appen Ltd

“We expect technology, and specifically digital transformation, to play the leading role in Australia’s economic future, irrespective of any ongoing impacts of the pandemic” Laurence Baynham, CEO, Data#3 Ltd

Workplace & Labour Market

“This digital HQ [concept] is at the center of every single one of the transformations we're bringing to our customers” Marc Benioff, CEO, Inc

“Labour cost inflation is very high” Magnus Nicolin, CEO, Ansell Ltd


“In terms of demand, the downstream industries we service including ceramics and pigments, have returned to pre pandemic levels of activity with little inventory throughout the supply chain” Tom O’Leary, CEO, Iluka Resources Ltd


“I don't know what the drivers are between all of the individual telcos around their investment in wireless [5G]. I think they're all taking quite a measured approach to the deployment” Leigh MacKender, Managing Director, Service Stream Ltd

Housing & Construction

“The pandemic and lockdowns have certainly seen people value their living space and the feeling that home is where the heart is. People want to invest in their own personal living spaces or are making a big move, leaving city dwellings for the suburbs in regional areas. This has led to housing approvals rising by 26% in FY '20, and alterations and additions have also grown to record levels” Peter Wilson, CEO, Reece Ltd

Domestic Economy

“Although Covid and lockdowns remains unpredictable, our experience has been that businesses rebound rapidly as normality returns” Robbie Cooke, CEO, Tyro Ltd

Consumer Spending

“Once we get out of this environment, you will see a huge explosion in growth [of consumer debt] because people want to enjoy life, they want to enjoy Christmas” Ahmed Fahour, CEO, Latitude Group Holdings Ltd

“Small ticket BNPL [buy now pay later] pricing is competitive, and supply is saturated in Australia” Ahmed Fahour, CEO, Latitude Group Holdings Ltd

“We've seen credit card [usage] decline being more exaggerated during this period as well as the prominence of debit and the movement to BNPL” Anthony Eisen, Co-CEO, Afterpay Ltd


“Within a few years, by 2030, millennials and Gen Z will represent nearly 50% of all retail spend globally” Anthony Eisen, Co-CEO, Afterpay Ltd


“The integration of renewable energy and industrial projects has also emerged as a strong growth theme within our future pipeline” Robin Watson, CEO, John Wood Group plc [major multinational consulting & engineering firm]


“Last week the ACCC highlighted just how important gas storage capability will be in managing supply and demand risks over the longer term and furthermore they've highlighted that a gas supply shortfall remains a possibility and more needs to be done to ensure sufficient gas is brought to market” Robert Wheals, CEO, APA Group


“While lock-downs in recent months have not necessarily imposed surgical restrictions, they have driven cancellations and disruption to schedules” Craig McNally, CEO, Ramsay Health Care Ltd

Health & Beauty

“We are not seeing any slowdown in fragrance momentum” Sue Nabi, CEO, Coty Inc [one of the world’s largest beauty & fragrance companies]

“Awareness of the benefits of good health is stronger than ever as the market continues to shift away from traditional retail channels towards e-commerce and health practitioners” Alastair Symington, CEO, Blackmores Group Ltd

Freight & Logistics

“We do have a shortage of supply on the airport at the moment in terms of freight and logistics capacity and that’s a reflection of the fact that demand has significantly increased on the back of the e-commerce trend. That’s something that we don’t think is going away, we think we’re sitting in front of a long-term trend there” Geoff Culbert, CEO, Sydney Airport


“Demand has come back in a big way” Vasu Raja, Chief Revenue Officer, American Airlines Group Inc.

Media & Entertainment

“The pandemic has had a material impact on consumer behaviour, shifting more and more activity online and within the home. We expect that these trends will have a lasting impact beyond the current period, having effectively accelerated the change in the way people consume content” Mike Sneesby, CEO, Nine Entertainment Co Holdings

Important information: This material has been prepared by NAOS Asset Management Limited (ABN 23 107 624 126, AFSL 273529) (NAOS) for general information purposes only and must not be construed as investment advice. Certain economic, market or company information contained in this material may have been obtained from published sources prepared by third parties. Nothing contained herein should be construed as granting by implication or otherwise, any license or right to use such third party content without the written permission of the owner.

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