Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Corning CFO and the economist who predicted 8 of the past 4 recessions


When this is recession number seven for you, the state of the economy begins to drop into perspective — even if the pain is still real.

The chief financial officer of Corning glass, James Flaws, told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York that he read from the 158-year-old company’s official history and drew on his own experience to explain to younger managers what these downturns mean.

The first lesson is that economic predictions are hard.

“We don’t have an economist. We used to have one and he predicted eight out of the last four recessions,” Flaws said with dry humor.

The second lesson is that — at least at Corning — things have been tough before. This year, all merit increases were frozen.