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CEOS Sound Off: Recovery, Healthcare & More

As the CEOs of the big three automakers testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, CNBC asked CEOs in various industries for their insight.

Office Depot CEO: 'We have to lead with courage'

“Too many people are sitting on the sidelines. Too many people are worried. And we’re sort of talking ourselves into a deeper and deeper recession. We’ve got to come forward with some confidence. And I think the new administration needs to step forward with confidence and reassure the American people and American companies… We have to step forward and lead with courage… People are afraid to take the lead.”

Steve Odland, Office Depotchairman & CEO

Caterpillar on Emerging Markets

"We were very encouraged by the stimulus package that China has announced. I think we'll see a number of other emerging markets alsol introduce those stimulus programs, and hopefully it will keep their economies growing at something on the order of 5 percent collectively next year. That would be positive for the global economy and our business certainly."

Jim Owens, Caterpillar CEO

Nissan CEO on Changing Auto Industry

“At a moment where the industry is facing difficulty to finance itself for the long-term, it’s fair that car manufacturers are asking for long-term financing at reasonable rate in order to make this transformation.”

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor CEO

Dominion Resources on Energy Prices

“Lower energy prices is a very good thing for our customers. It lowers our cost of production, which we pass through to our Virginia customers and North Carolina customers dollar-per-dollar. It helps our unregulated retail businesses that we have in the Atlantic and Northeast because we’re able to offer lower electricity and gas to our retail customers.”

Thomas Farrell, Dominion Resources chairman & CEO

Snap-On CEO: Auto Repairs Spike

“No matter how many cars the auto manufacturers sell, people still need repair… In fact, government data says that automotive repair spending in households has gone up over the last several months. In fact, it went up in September.”

Nicholas Pinchuk, Snap-On CEO

WPP Group CEO Anticipates Recovery in 2010

“In 2009 it will be a very tough year; there’s no doubt about that given all that we’ve seen. The corporates are depressed; the consumers are depressed… Maybe the financial markets will pick up in the middle of ’09. By 2010, we’ll see some recovery… Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East will be growth-drivers next year… And the new media, mobile, PC, video, will be drivers.”

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the WPP Group

ACI CEO: Coal Is Recession-Resistant

“In terms of the coal business, we don’t need government money. What we need is that technology development… Electric use has only gone down four times in 50 years, year-over-year, and what happens that growth tends to flatten and coal is 50 percent of the nation’s electricity generation. We anticipate a challenging market but still a pretty dog-on solid market… It is a bit recession-resistant.”

Steve Leer, Arch Coal CEO

WellPoint CEO on Healthcare Reform

“We need a path to universal coverage, but we need a path that’s sustainable, and we play an important part in the healthcare equation. We are the center of the relationship between the member, the hospital [ and ] the doctor…We’re in a very important position through reform to deliver value in healthcare.”

Angela Braly, WellPoint President & CEO

'Downloading' Healthcare

“Really what we’re doing is creating software as a—really as a container, where we can publish the latest medical research, the latest medical information. The best analogy that I can draw is the iPod. The iPod is the container that can now download essentially the latest hits that are now available. Any consumer around the world has access to this kind of music. That’s really what we want to create in the healthcare system.

Vishal Wanchoo, GE Healthcare IT president & CEO

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