Interviews

Ask the CEO: Joe Grano

Former UBS CEO answers viewers' questions

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World" March 10, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, did conservatives just send Christie CPAC-ing? The New Jersey governor coming in fourth in CPAC's straw poll, so Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Ben Carson are in, a sign that mainstream Republicans, like the governor, like Paul Ryan, and all these other guys are out?

To UBS CEO and former Christie supporter -- he's a current Christie supporter -- he's a former UBS -- my bad -- I apologize.

Joe Grano, he is not worried about all of this.

Why not?

JOSEPH GRANO JR., FORMER CHAIRMAN, UBS: Well, first of all, that poll has yet to be a leading indicator.

I mean, post-Reagan, you had Jack Kemp winning it. You have had Phil Gramm, Giuliani.

CAVUTO: Yes, that's true.

GRANO: And, in 1999, how about a gentleman by the name of Gary Bauer?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Oh, yes.

GRANO: Yes.

CAVUTO: So, you don't put much stock in it?

GRANO: No, I don't.

CAVUTO: But it does reflect sentiment when the top three finishers are all, for want of a better term, Joe, non-mainstreamers.

GRANO: I had a chance to look at some of Rand Paul's commentary.

I thought he did a very good job in his commentary, and a little bit of a wakeup call for the Republican Party. The other part I like about it is half of the attendees are young people between 18 and 22.

CAVUTO: Very good point.

GRANO: I think it's very important that the Republican Party gets an inclusive message to the youth of our nation.

CAVUTO: Someone was telling me -- maybe it was you -- that if Republicans succeed in getting just a couple of percent point more of the young, couple of percent point more of minorities, that they would be winning.

GRANO: And...

CAVUTO: But they can't.

GRANO: And women. Don't count out women.

CAVUTO: Right.

GRANO: Yes.

CAVUTO: Why can't they?

GRANO: Because their message is, today, too far right. It has to move to center, and it has to be more exclusive. I think you have to get...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What makes it far right?

GRANO: I think some of the radical positions and some of the...

CAVUTO: You don't like the social issues coming up, right?

GRANO: I don't like them at all. I don't...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So when Mike Huckabee...

GRANO: Yes.

CAVUTO: ... you know, thumps the Bible and that, what do you think of that?

GRANO: No.

Yes, if somebody asks me are you pro-choice or pro-life, my answer is I'm pro-choice, but my choice is pro-life. I'm not here to tell anyone else what their choice should be.

CAVUTO: You sound like Bill Clinton.

GRANO: That's what the Republican Party should be doing.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: OK. So, in other words, answer a question...

GRANO: In the middle. In the middle.

CAVUTO: ... with other questions.

GRANO: No, with your principle there.

CAVUTO: I understand.

(CROSSTALK)

GRANO: But don't impose it on other people.

CAVUTO: All right. So does Mike Huckabee and that wing of the party impose it?

GRANO: I think they would try.

CAVUTO: Wow.

Well, we got a new segment here, and you were gracious enough to indulge us on this. You asked the CEO. He's here to answer. You can tweet your questions #asktheceo.

First up, Austin writes: "How much damage would President Obama's suggested raise in the minimum wage cause to business?"

You have addressed this a number of times. You're worried.

GRANO: Well, first of all, if you listen to the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, they estimate that we will lose 500,000 jobs. But my issue is not one of overconcern for, let's say, a Wal-Mart or a McDonald's or a Burger King.

My concern would be for the small entrepreneur, sole proprietor small business. And 40 percent of all people at minimum wage work for firms that have under 100 employees. So if you -- let's -- let's take a gardening business. You have 20 employees. You're going to raise their costs on a 40-hour work week $2,800 a week. That's over $100,000 a year.

That person either is going to go out of business, raise prices or cut hours.

CAVUTO: So do more harm than good, you say.

GRANO: Yes.

CAVUTO: All right, now, Jeff tweets: "How much of CEOing is gut instinct?" -- in other words, to what you do just in your gut vs. just sheer number- crunching?

GRANO: Well, no CEO, man or woman, can succeed if they don't know their numbers.

You have to know your plans, your budgets, and your numbers. And that pretty much drives your company day to day. In terms of what we will call the intuitive side or the visionary side, depending on the CEO, if the individual has good communication skills, listens to his or her clients, their employees, you will have a better chance of having appropriate vision and better intuition.

I would say that that could be as high as 20 percent...

CAVUTO: Wow.

GRANO: ... but only if you're a very good communicator and you listen. Too many CEOs get in the corner and they forget to listen.

CAVUTO: Or they're all numbers and data and nothing here.

GRANO: That's robotic. You can't -- you have to be both.

CAVUTO: Yes.

Joseph, it's always a pleasure.

"You Can't Predict a Hero: From War to Wall Street, Leading in Times of Crisis" -- he's the man. Both those on the left and the right sometimes hate him, which is to his credit, I think.

GRANO: I must be doing something right.

CAVUTO: He speaks his mind.

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