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The Future CEO special report 2017

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RACONTEUR.NET THE FUTURE CEO 03 29 / 11 / 2017 RACONTEUR MARTIN BARROW Former news editor, foreign news editor and business news editor at The Times, he is now a freelance writer. CATH EVERETT Freelance journalist specialising in workplace and employment issues, she also writes on the impact of technology on society and culture. GEORGINA FULLER Freelance journalist specialising in the world of work, she has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Daily Mail. DAN MATTHEWS Journalist and author of The New Rules of Business, he writes for newspapers, magazines and websites on a range of issues. JOSH NEICHO Freelance journalist and communications professional, he has worked on StartUp Britain campaigns and with the Centre for Entrepreneurs. OLIVER PICKUP Award-winning journalist, ghostwriter and media consultant, he specialises in technology, business, sport and culture. CONTRIBUTORS PUBLISHING MANAGER Flavia Brown PRODUCTION EDITOR Benjamin Chiou MANAGING EDITOR Peter Archer DISTRIBUTED IN THE FUTURE CEO SHARON THIRUCHELVAM Writer specialising in culture and innovation, she has contributed to The Independent, i-D, Vice and Forbes. S wedish firm Crisp hit the headlines as the company where no one is in charge when it emerged that the software consultancy had sacked the role of chief executive. The business, which employs about 40 staff, had tried changing its CEO each year based on an em - ployee vote, but eventually decided it did not need a boss at all. It was felt that the CEO's responsibilities overlapped too much with those of the rest of the board, while other roles could be shared out among other personnel. But Crisp is not the only organisa - tion to go down this route. Games developer Valve Software and lux- ury goods group Richemont also rely on consensus to manage them- selves without having a single lead- er at the helm. So are these just the first tenta- tive steps along the path of the fu- ture and is the CEO role ultimately doomed as a result? Joel Peterson, professor of man- agement at Stanford Graduate School of Business in the United States, believes not. In his opinion, the eradication of the CEO position "makes little sense in the long run" and will remain a rare event. This is because, in his experience: "The best predictor of success is the leader. They make more difference than any other single factor. Great leaders morph the offering, attract talent, build teams and generate conditions for innovation, risk-tak - ing and growth." Head of employment and partner at law firm Burges Salmon, Roger Bull, who is an experienced adviser in board-level restructuring, agrees. He says that he has seen "no appe - tite" either from stakeholders or the wider market for such a shift. Indeed, the decision to change a CEO is "up there in terms of the biggest, most strategic decision" likely to be made by any board, he points out. "Organisations are complex and require someone to demonstrate leadership, accountability and re - sponsibility, so the role is critical for those purposes," Mr Bull says. "It's also critical in providing di- rection and ensuring the rest of the organisation is both aligned behind the company strategy, and understands customer and market requirements." In other words, a CEO is "like the conductor of an orchestra as they ensure that all of the parts work in the right way and are aligned", he adds. But even though the CEO role is not about to disappear any time soon, that does not mean to say it is not in a state of flux. While in the past the manage - ment model tended to be autocratic and based on a command-and-con- trol approach, over the last ten years, it has slowly become less dictatorial and more collaborative. As organisations have become more complex and technology has affected rapid change at all levels of the business, CEOs have increasing - ly been forced to delegate authority to senior-level specialists and de- velop working relationships with a much wider level of stakeholders, whether they like it or not. "In terms of leadership, where the CEO role seems to come into its own is working effectively as part of a senior leadership team," says Mr Bull. "So one of the crit - ical elements of the job is build- ing an effective team around you. While this team may not get the profile of the CEO, it's critical to delivering results." But another progressively im- portant focus for CEOs is to un- derstand where change is likely to occur, not least due to the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, and under - stand how the organisation should react to make the most of the op- portunity and ultimately remain relevant to the market. Chris Underwood, managing di- rector at executive search firm Adas- trum Consulting, explains: "CEOs in larger companies have the complex task of putting the business on a sound footing for the future. That means balancing the legacy that provides the income with invest - ment in the new, while still serving customers effectively." But Peter Russian, CEO of Re:markable, formerly Investors in People Scotland, believes that the CEO role is set to transform still fur - ther over the next few years. Today, he says, the job of the CEO and wider leadership team is still "largely root- ed in the Industrial Revolution". As such, it is about directing peo- ple towards achieving a series of tasks as quickly and effectively as possible, and then measuring their success using key performance in - dicators. It's a situation that has led to the "growth of management at the expense of leadership", he says. But the problem with this approach is that, despite an estimated $30 bil - lion being spent on leadership devel- opment each year, important meas- ures such as employee engagement, which is measured annually by poll- sters Gallop, have shifted little over the last ten years. This situation, combined with ever-increasing cus- tomer expectations, has led some organisations to question whether they could do things differently. "There's a sense of the CEO role moving towards being a chief ena - bling officer," Mr Russian explains. "This involves ensuring the organ- isational structure and working en- vironment enable people to perform to the best of their potential, and to take more responsibility for deliver- ing the right thing to customers." To make this vision a reality, it is vi- tal that both employees and managers understand what the organisation's purpose, values and overall aims are, and where they fit into them. "The time the traditional CEO has spent on developing the culture and architecture of the organisation and its people has been way too small," Mr Russian says. "So we need to shift away from the idea that CEOs take hands-on responsibility for the business's day-to-day running towards them taking more respon - sibility for how the organisation is." Put another way, the future CEO's role will increasingly involve "cre- ating an architecture and envi- ronment where others are enabled to make decisions, while the CEO works out and crystalises the long- term proposition to help align both people and culture to that", Mr Rus - sian concludes. Should the boss be sacked? Gary Burchell/Getty Images 79% Organic growth CATH EVERETT 62% Cost reduction PwC 2017 48% New strategic alliance/ joint venture Reports that the chief executive is dead may be premature despite some calling time on the boss's role APPRAISAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Antonia Bolcas DIGITAL CONTENT EXECUTIVE Elise Ngobi DESIGN Samuele Motta Grant Chapman Kellie Jerrard /future-ceo-2017 @raconteur /raconteur.net @raconteur_london Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 3877 3800 or email info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media DANIEL THOMAS Writer and editor, he has contributed to the BBC, Newsweek, Fund Strateg y and EducationInvestor, among other publications. FINBARR TOESLAND Freelance journalist, he specialises in technology, business and economic issues, and contributes to a wide range of publications. EMMA WOOLLACOTT Specialist technology writer, she covers legal and regulatory issues, and has contributed to Forbes and the New Statesman. TOP FOCUS AREAS FOR CEOs Percentage of global CEOs who are planning the following in the coming year to drive growth/profitability

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