Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Audio – Hey, where did the ‘challenging’ go?

February 25, 2008

stropki.jpgIn years past, business executives have used all kinds of buzz words that generated the expected amout of skepticism from people like reporters and editors who are lucky enough to read a lot of press releases.

One year, it’s “right-sizing” (That’s not good).

The next, it’s “head-winds” (Generally, that comes shortly before the right-sizing).

Sometimes, companies will say “footprint” (Coming soon, to a distressed manufacturing park near you!)

For 2008, the word has been “challenging”. Corporate executives from retail, to airlines, to those who came to last week’s Reuters Housing Summit have used “challenging” as a way to describe how at least the first half of this year will look.

“Challenging” is not really so much of a challenge as it is just a hope for things to get better.

So it was kind of nice to hear an executive say on Monday morning at the Reuters Manufacturing Summit that the first half of 2008 just looks “slow”.

John Stropki, chairman and chief executive of Lincoln Electric, said things do look slow so far this year, but he’s guardedly optimistic about the second half of the year.

Stropki was one of the first guests at this year’s summit, which runs through Thursday in Reuters Chicago offices.

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