News & Insights

DNA of a modern CEO

By Michelle Carson-Williams, Chief Executive and Founder 30/01/2019

In my role, I am often asked, “what makes a good modern CEO?”. Implicit in the question is an acknowledgement that the demands of senior management are now much different from as little as 20 years ago.

The days of Lord Weinstock sitting in his oak-panelled offices at General Electric Company, summoning the senior managers of his divisions for their twice-yearly interrogations, are long gone.

The modern CEO must be the master motivator, strategist, confidante and communicator. She or he must be visible, approachable, with drive and ambition, both for themselves and their company.

They must build teams, but also, at times, be prepared to walk alone, setting course against current opinion and abandoning long-held positions and working practices that are past their
sell-by-date.

Perhaps, most importantly, they must set the tempo. In these turbulent and disruptive times, when organisations must be fleet of foot to take advantage of new opportunities and guard
against complacency, it is the CEO’s role to lead by example, encouraging the organisation to move quickly and using the power of his or her position to effect change.

This guide distils all our thinking about leadership, the advice we have given to both candidates and customers, along with the many CEO conversations we have had of late, into one place for the first time. Scattered throughout you will find verbatim quotes from leading CEOs in UK industry, who spoke with us when we were conducting searches on their behalf, in their offices and over dinner.

This paper is aimed at those recruiting new CEOs, and very much for those potential candidates who aspire to the most senior roles.

Download the full discussion paper below

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