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A View from the Top: What the CEOs are Saying

CNBC.com
Wednesday, 7 May 2008 | 9:39 AM ET

Chief executives from around Europe discussed their companies' earnings, opportunities and the challenges they face in 2008 with CNBC Europe Wednesday.

EasyJet CEO Andrew Harrison on "Squawk Box Europe"

"The average age of our fleet is just 3 years old, which means that we burn a hell of a lot less fuel than many other airline. So easyJet is very well positioned to win through in a sustained high oil price environment," Andrew Harrison, CEO of easyJet, told CNBC.

Video: EasyJet Loss Widens on High Fuel Costs

InterContinental Hotels Group CEO Andrew Cosslett on "Squawk Box Europe"

"We're riding through the economic turbulence pretty well," Andrew Cosslett, CEO of InterContinental told CNBC.

"We came out last year very strongly, we started well in quarter 1. We posted good increases in our revenues worldwide, even in America, and profits are handsomely up. If we look to continue this pace through the year, we'll be in great shape."

Video: InterContinental CEO Upbeat on Outlook

Corporate Express CEO Peter Ventress on "Squawk Box Europe"

"We've started the second quarter with strong momentum in the U.S. and elsewhere in fact, Europe and Australia too," Peter Ventress, CEO of Corporate Express, said.

"We focused our people very much on some core elements of our strategy: winning more business from our existing customers, expanding the range of products we sell to existing customers and insuring we are out there winning market share. And that's beginning to come through in our results. This company has turned around in terms of its focus over the last 12-18 months."

"725 (pence per share) we believe significantly undervalues the business and we're focused on creating value for our shareholders and our other stakeholders through implementing the strategic plan we announced last October," Ventress said of U.S. rival Staples' bid for the Dutch office supplies company.

Video: Corporate Express' Net Profit Drops 46.5%

Etihad CEO James Hogan on "Squawk Box Europe"

"We've had to mitigate the risk, as most airlines have done. Nevertheless, it places us under pressure as we go forward," James Hogan, CEO of Etihad, told CNBC on the issue of rising fuel prices. "We have to adjust our business."

"At the end of the day, the underlying trends are strong. We are seeing heavy demand going into the second quarter. We have been looking for any softening of the market – we don't see it there," Hogan on why the United Arab Emirates airline plans to acquire 100 planes this year.

Video: Etihad Plans Expansion Despite High Fuel Prices

Aegon CEO Alex Wynaendts on "Squawk Box Europe"

"Obviously it (Aegon's results) is reflecting a very turbulent first quarter. I think we're all aware that the first quarter has seen a hug widening in credit spreads. We've seen the dollar come down, sterling come down, compared to the euro. We've seen increased equity volatility, and that is what is reflecting our operating earnings and net income," Alex Wynaendts, CEO of Aegon, told CNBC when discussing the numbers.

Video: Aegon CEO on 78% Drop in Earnings

Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm on "Squawk Box Europe"

"We managed our balance sheet for maximum strength and liquidity. The shape of the balance sheet is excellent at the half year and we intend it to stay that way. I think that's the right way to manage a bank in this environment," David Drumm, CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, said.

Video: Anglo Irish Bank Earnings Rise 15%

AkzoNobel CFO Keith Nichols on "Squawk Box Europe"

"We are not seeing things getting any easier, but we’re not seeing things getting dramatically worse," Keith Nichols, CFO of AkzoNobel told CNBC.

"We're in a position now to be confident in terms of our outlook. It's not an easy trading environment and currencies don’t look as if they are going to get any easier during the remainder of this year."

Video: AkzoNobel CFO on Earnings, Outlook

OMV CEO Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer on "Squawk Box Europe"

"Overall we are quite optimistic as far as the outlook for 2008 is concerned," Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, CEO of OMV said.

"We have seen rising exploration costs over the last couple of years … but it's important (and) we have to step up our investment in order to reach our objectives."

Video: OMV CEO on Robust Outlook

CISCO Europe President Chris Dedicoat on "Squawk Box Europe"

"If you look at what is happening (with) this next generation of the Web, don't underestimate impact … it's changing the way companies conduct their business," Chris Dedicoat told CNBC Europe.

Video: Cisco Systems Cautious on Outlook

British American Tobacco CEO Paul Adams on "Power Lunch Europe"

"We're still seeing good growth, particularly in the emerging markets, and we're seeing good growth in our premium volume," Paul Adams, CEO of BAT, said of why the company is still profiting despite the economic slowdown.

"We went into the year slightly concerned about a consumer slowdown because of the economic situation, and what we've seen so far, at least in the first quarter, is that there is still a strong demand for our premium brand."

Video: BAT: 2008 Off to a Great Start