Publication 21st Century Statesmanship Global Leaders Programme

by Luke Robinson _______4th October 2015

Executive Summary

Tomorrow’s Company and BlackRock were the lead partners and Harriet Green, who was recently appointed to a new global leadership role at IBM, chaired the panel. The report draws on a set of conversations with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, different types of businesses and across generations to highlight some of the challenges facing leaders and to pose some questions that leaders might ask themselves as part of their own leadership journey. BlackRock hosted the first of three dialogues and was lead partner in the project. The City Corporation and Telos Partners hosted other dialogues in London and Singapore respectively.

The project was led for Tomorrow’s Company by its CEO and Founder Mark Goyder, who commented:

“Is it enough for people running big companies and investment institutions to compete within the rules of the current game? And is it acceptable for them to hide behind the language of ‘shareholder value? No its not. In this project we talked both with senior experienced business leaders and with young millennials. The challenge that came from both of them is clear. Business and finance are servants of society – not masters of the universe. In the spirit of Churchill we offer this challenge to every leader.”

Leaders need to ask: What is my role? Am I a tenant or a steward? Is it enough simply to operate the system under the current rules? Or does C21 leadership mean that I need to be an agent of change? And as an investor, how can I better align finance to the future needs of my clients and the society around them? As a business leader how can I get closer to the needs of tomorrow’s society? As an investor or financier, how can I escape the iron cage of yesterday’s financial logic and think about the needs of tomorrow that today’s finance might serve?

The findings of the Business and Finance Panel included the following key points