CEO Roundup: What Executives Are Saying

Here's a look at what some CEOs are talking about on CNBC today:

Boone Pickens, BP Capital CEO

“You remember what I said the last time – I said the fourth quarter is going to be very, very interesting. I think you will see within a year … $100 oil.”

Richard Berg, Performance Trust Capital Parters CEO

“J.P. Morgan surprised us because my expectation last night was every financial company is going to write down as much as they can to make next year's earnings look easier or better. They have a license now to write them down. “I was surprised J.P. Morgan came in with such good numbers."

W.L. Ross, Chairman and CEO

"It's a unique situation in that usually when a bank gets into trouble the reason is its assets are bad. That's not the case with Northern Rock. Their non-performing mortgage loans are under one-half of 1 percent -- it's not related to the asset side, their problem is that instead of building a lot of branches and attracting retail deposits, they became very, very dependent upon securitizations.”

William Watkins, Seagate Technology, president and CEO

"We're seeing a very strong Christmas. It seems like people are buying storage, they're buying computers, they're buying notebooks, they're buying DVRs; they're getting on the Internet and moving content. A lot of people are putting content on the Internet, they're distributing that content and that's all driving a tremendous amount of high-capacity storage."

Steve Odland, Office Depot Chairman & CEO

"You have about 150 million people employed in this country, but there are about 12 million undocumented workers, and with the housing market contracting, I think you'll see a lot of people out of the undocumented work force, so it's not showing up in the numbers yet, but that has a ripple effect into the economy with the small businesses, and then eventually, the question is whether that's going to impact large-business spending."

Jeffrey Joerres, Manpower Chairman & CEO

"It is a very difficult market to read. We've been doing this business for 60 years; we have charts that go all the way back through the recessions and the recoveries. We have not seen a time like this. Companies are very cautious to hire people; they're very sophisticated when they hire people; so the jobs are out there, but they're out there maybe not in the place that the person is, but we're seeing job growth; we're still seeing our clients in the U.S. — while we're down about 10% — they're saying, 'We're not desperate, we're just being very cautious right now."

Steven Ells, Chipotle Mexican Grill Founder & CEO

"Can we pass prices on? We can, and we have increased prices as we have increased the quality of our raw ingredients. Naturally raised, free-range pork, for example, costs more than the commodity stuff that comes from factory farms, and when we introduced that, customers were willing to pay more, and in fact bought more of it. When we've taken price increases, we have not seen a decrease in transaction, and that's very, very rare in the fast-food arena."

Richard Adkerson, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold President & CEO

The real question in the marketplace today, other than China's continued strong situation, is whether the U.S. economy goes into a severe recession. In our industry, the U.S.only represents about 12% of global consumption, and while the residential market has been weak, and automobiles have been weak, and there's been some substitution in the funding business.. commercial real estate and other uses have been strong, and so long as the global economy is strong, and you'd have to say that it is, then the outlook for our business is really very good."

Greg Stemm, Odyssey Marine Exploration Co-Founder and Chairman

"What this is really about is not just the Black Swan, it's about billions and billions of dollars' worth of shipwrecks lying all over the ocean floor, and to date, nobody's really been able to turn the technology into a real business. We're the first ones ever to spend tens of millions of dollars developing the technology and making a business out of it."