Make us your home page
Instagram

President Trump's push to grow U.S. jobs — or else — looms at Jabil's annual shareholder meeting

Mark Mondello, CEO of St. Petersburg-based global manufacturer Jabil, speaks to investors at the company's annual shareholders meeting.
[ROBERT TRIGAUX | Times]

Mark Mondello, CEO of St. Petersburg-based global manufacturer Jabil, speaks to investors at the company's annual shareholders meeting. [ROBERT TRIGAUX | Times]

One and only one question was asked Thursday morning at the annual shareholders meeting to Mark Mondello, CEO of St. Petersburg-based global manufacturer Jabil.

How might newly elected President Trump's push to get U.S. companies to grow more jobs in the United States — and not overseas — affect Jabil and its ability to remain competitive?

"Is this good or will it hurt?" posed a longtime shareholder.

As Corporate America just begins to enter the season of annual shareholder meetings, that is the most pressing query senior executives of companies with big overseas presences like Jabil will find themselves struggling to answer.

Jabil, a publicly traded Fortune 200 corporation, employs about 150,000 people in about two dozen countries, including China and Mexico. But it employs only about 7,000 (less than 5 percent) in 15 U.S. states, and 2,000 of those jobs are in St. Petersburg.

Odds are good Mondello had an inkling he might face a "what about Trump?" question, even though Jabil's annual meetings do not typically draw lots of shareholders. The CEO responded, saying he already has received 40 to 50 calls or messages from customers and others asking about the potential impact of Trump.

The worry, of course, is that the President would impose border tariffs on goods made elsewhere to discourage overseas expansion. On the flip side, Trump is promising to trim regulations, cut corporate taxes and make it easier to repatriate company profits earned in foreign countries.

"I think it is highly unlikely there will be a hardcore duty or tariff on products," Mondello said. "I just think the risk of that is really, really bad for the economy."

But regulatory cuts — "done well," Mondello said — and tax cuts sound good to Jabil.

Border taxes on goods means costs will go up, Mondello warned. "It hasn't worked all that well for other countries that have tried to drive protectionism. I see, and applaud, what President Trump is trying to do to bring some jobs back."

Jabil, Mondello suggests, is in a "great position" if bringing jobs back to the United States makes sense. "We are one of the largest, most diversified manufacturing companies in the world," he said.

"If there comes a time when customers are knocking on our door saying, 'Hey we really want to come back to the United States,' then we are well positioned."

In terms of overall risk? Mondello characterized as "interesting" what President Trump is doing in terms of domestic policy." But the CEO was more specific on the international front. "We need to keep a close eye on all the foreign policy stuff. So, if there's an agitation with certain countries, or if things were to occur, that's something we're keeping an eye on."

"He just got inaugurated last week," Mondello cautioned. "It's early days." Citing Jabil's corporate culture built on speed and adaptability, he added: "I think we'll be able to react to most changes."

Contact Robert Trigaux at rtrigaux@tampabay.com. Follow @venturetampabay.

President Trump's push to grow U.S. jobs — or else — looms at Jabil's annual shareholder meeting 01/26/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 26, 2017 3:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.