The Times CEO Summit: Social purpose, sustainability and trust are the focus for business leaders in today’s UK

Published on
June 14, 2019

Global leaders, including FTSE CEOs and government ministers, along with top entrepreneurs and journalists, gathered together yesterday for the 10th anniversary of The Times CEO Summit in London, to discuss the opportunity around trust, talent, trade and tech for UK businesses.

“Each year we ask: how should the UK earn its living in the world, and are we on track? How can government support business better? What trends would business leaders be ill-advised to ignore?

– The Times

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Martha Lane Fox and Marianna Mazzucato at The Times CEO Summit

Source: The Times[/caption]The day kicked off with a discussion between Martha Lane Fox (founder and executive chairwoman, doteveryone) and Mariana Mazzucato (professor at UCL), on the role businesses can play to resolve the trust vacuum between people and institutions.

Speaking this morning at The Times CEO Summit 2019, on panel with the great @Marthalanefox. I’ll reflect on how a new approach to value creation is needed to restore trust in the economy.

— Mariana Mazzucato (@MazzucatoM) June 11, 2019

“I am surprised when I talk to corporates that it is not a priority” says @Marthalanefox of the business response to climate change. “We have the smartest brains on the planet trying to get us to click on more things on the internet."#TimesCEOSummit

— TimesBusiness (@TimesBusiness) June 11, 2019

They were followed by the CEOs of Whitbread, Reckitt Benckiser and Tesco who shared their experiences in balancing profit with purpose.

At #TimesCEOSummit: leading CEOs arguing that business cannot drive sustainable profit without a meaningful social purpose. I could not agree more.

— Jayne-Anne Gadhia (@gadhiaj) June 11, 2019

Profit should never be the fundamental motivation for business, says Tesco’s Dave Lewis. “When it is, danger lurks.” Admits supermarket became fixated on achieving an operating margin a few years ago. “As a result of that we lost focus on customers."#TimesCEOSummit

— TimesBusiness (@TimesBusiness) June 11, 2019

“I’m surprised by how often we’re asked about our supply chain... and whether we are doing our part for the planet by new (often Gen Z) employees. Also, I need to be able to go home and look my kids in the eye!” - Alison Brittain, CEO of @WhitbreadPLC at the #TimesCEOSummit.

— Provenance (@ProvenanceHQ) June 11, 2019

Rakesh Kapoor, outgoing chief executive of RB, says we’ve got to create businesses where if we are “doing well we are going to do good” #TimesCEOSummit

— Alex Ralph (@alexralph) June 11, 2019

The penultimate panel of the day saw Jessi joined on stage by Rishi Khosla (co-founder of OakNorth Holdings) and Saul Klein (founding partner at LocalGlobal) to discuss how entrepreneurship and innovation can lead the way for the UK.

Venture capitalist Saul Klein says Britain is a world leader on a per capita basis in backing early stage technology companies. “It dominates Europe and Israel in investment in tech” he tells @SimonDukeTimes #TimesCEOSummit

— TimesBusiness (@TimesBusiness) June 11, 2019

The day concluded with a rallying call from Ben Van Beurdan, CEO of Shell.

Time is short so it will be a case of “act and then refine” for major energy using sectors to meet Paris climate goals, says Shell’s Ben Van Beurdan. Biggest players need "determination that net zero emissions is the ultimate goal,” he

— TimesBusiness (@TimesBusiness) June 11, 2019

See The Time’s top quotes for the day in their roundup or read the full article from Jessi’s panel on entrepreneurship in schools.More about the summit:Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Times CEO Summit is an exclusive, invitation-only forum which convenes FTSE CEOs with Government Ministers, Times commentators and the rising stars from the UK’s fast growth sectors for frank debates on the future of the British economy, our place in the world order, and the cross-sector collaboration that is vital to success. It is an exclusive gathering of 140 participants.[separator type="thin"]Discover how innovative leaders are transforming their businesses with transparency

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