Jul 22, 2019

The coming mass extinction of Fortune 500 companies

The American Motors AMX, 1966. Photo: Pat Brollier, Darryl Norenberg/Enthusiast Network/Getty

Just 60 of the Fortune 500 of 1955 remain in the hallowed group. The rest (like American Motors, above, subsumed by Chrysler in 1987) have been largely the victims of changing times, tough competition or their own missteps.

What's happening: Tom Siebel, founder of C3.ai, an artificial intelligence firm that serves big corporations and the Army, says that this is an existential moment for current Fortune 500 companies that don't move quickly to adapt to the new age of AI and robotics.

"We are in a mass extinction event," says Siebel, who stopped by the office last week to talk about his new book, "Digital Transformation."

Westinghouse, Sears, and Toys "R" Us are among the slain former giants, Siebel notes. "You have companies with new DNA filling the voids in the ecosystem. You have Amazon rolling everyone. If you are Walmart, you are looking down that barrel of a gun. You are in a world of hurt," he said.

Siebel is describing one of the current megatrends:

  • Last month, we reported that the day of the conglomerate is over: From globe-spanning companies, they are being forced by political and economic circumstance into regional operations.
  • The FT's Rana Faroohar says companies are adapting to "the age of deglobalization."

"It's either you're on the train or you're on the track," says Siebel.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.