Global business leaders explore new frontiers

Business and government leaders from as far afield as Brazil, Saudi Arabia, China, India and Africa joined the globalisation debate at London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit on 5 July.

Hosted by Evan Davis, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, speakers spanning the worlds of finance and banking, education, technology, telecommunications, professional services and charity shared the stage to debate the extent of the gravitational shift towards emerging markets and the implications of such a shift for global business.

Other topics under debate included how societal trends and a low carbon future will fundamentally re-shape the future of work and how Western companies can best exploit the opportunities available to them in the emerging markets.

The first panel, moderated by Professor Hélène Rey, Professor of Economics at London Business School, on ‘Understanding Emerging Markets’ featured His Excellency Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh, Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority; Stephen Olabisi Onasanya, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria; Antonio Quintella (MBA33), CEO, Americas, Credit Suisse and Laura D’Andrea Tyson, S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management at the Haas School of Business.

Speaking of the impact of globalisation on Saudi Arabia, HE Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh gave an example of how the Kingdom was looking to take advantage of the global slowdown, by accelerating infrastructure development to take advantage of the depressed prices of building materials.

The second panel, entitled ‘Inside Out’, was chaired by Nirmalya Kumar, Professor of Marketing at London Business School, featured Mo Ibrahim, Chairman and Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation & Founder of Celtel International; Ravi Kant, Vice Chair, Tata Motors and Savio Kwan (MSc09), Independent non-Executive Director, Alibaba Group.

Savio Kwan commented: “Our dream is to help society. We look how to help. We want a world open, shared and responsible. We are pushing this idea through China and wherever we go. Instead of trying to buy companies, we are trying to revolutionise the way people do business.

“We are now helping our Indian colleagues. Hopefully we will be able to do this in Brazil and other places.”

The third panel, ‘The Future of Work’, was moderated by Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and featured panellists Rakesh Bhasin, Chief Executive Officer, Colt Technology Services Group; Warren East, Chief Executive Officer, ARM; Andy Green, Chief Executive Officer, Logica and Jasmine Whitbread Chief Executive, Save the Children UK.

In the final panel, ‘The Power Shift’, Don Sull, Professor of Management Practice in Strategic and International Management at London Business School and Faculty Director for Executive Education, was joined by Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé S.A; Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive, Vodafone; John Connolly, Global Chairman, Deloitte and Anshu Jain, Head of Global Markets, Deutsche Bank.

A first for the annual event, this year’s summit was streamed live via webcast around the world and the interactive experience allowed viewers to use Twitter to “tweet” in their comments and questions for the panel.

Commenting on the day, Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean of London Business School, said: “The Summit is London Business School’s flagship event and the calibre of today’s speakers is a testament to this.  We’ve brought together a number of key people who shape the world we live in because we believe that London Business School is a place to hear and meet people that matter. 

“One of our values is an eclectic approach, which means in practice that we are not telling people what to think, but giving them an opportunity to draw their own conclusions from the argument – very much today’s approach.”