2. As CEO, what’s your priority?
Shivan Subramaniam, FM Global: “My No. 1 priority is to look ahead and ensure the company is leveraging its scientific research capabilities to anticipate what kinds of property-related risks are emerging that clients may be unaware of and that might one day threaten their operations and business continuity. Such research informs our underwriting and engineering decisions. Two decades ago, for example, we started to recognize that clients’ supply chains were becoming more sophisticated, geographically dispersed and vulnerable to natural hazards and manmade risk. If we hadn’t sought to understand those trends, associated hazards and develop loss prevention solutions, we wouldn’t be as prepared today to help them manage their supply chain risk, nor would we have the needed financial strength."
Jim Hackett, Steelcase: “Seeing the patterns to create the business model that propel our future. The speed of change is such that if you don’t aim ahead you will be behind. But first, we have to earn a license by responding to issues now if we want to be in business.”
Hikmet Ersek, Western Union: “What keeps me motivated daily — and I think that’s the most important thing for a CEO — is to react to the customer’s needs. But I think what differentiates a good CEO from a great CEO is that ability to anticipate the future needs of the customers and then adapting the company.”
3. Talk about the future … what’s around the corner?
Hikmet Ersek, Western Union: “My prediction is that there is a huge new middle class coming from countries like Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Russia. Globalization will continue in a different way, with strong customer needs from new demographics, from different parts of the world. Global companies should start understanding the needs of the future customer to create solutions while growing their companies.”
Jim Hackett, Steelcase: “I think there’s a new era of intensity because of low growth which exposes when you’re not competitive. High growth can cover that up. And so the intensity of finding models to compete is a really big thing in the minds of all the customers.”
Shivan Subramaniam, FM Global: “Businesses likely are going to see the most amount of change due to the dramatic impact of urbanization around the world. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused an extensive amount of damage to the city of Miami, Florida. Today, more than 20 years later, there are now more than ten urbanized cities in the world that have grown larger than Miami and have just as much exposure to natural disasters. So, as the years progress, I believe we’re going to find urbanization and the impact of natural disasters on these economic centers are going to become more and more dramatic. That means that those who have property located in harm’s way will need to do a much better job of how they prepare for such events, manage their risk exposures and ensure their resilience.”
Robert Reiss has interviewed hundreds of CEOs for The CEO Show with Robert Reiss, a weekly, nationally-syndicated radio show. More than 600,000 listeners tune in weekly. You can learn more about his work here.