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Issue 04 December 2014



Top Story

Leadership: Jazz star Marsalis Meets PepsiCo CEO Nooyi

A dialogue between jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi, published in Egon Zehnder’s 50th anniversary publication “Connecting Leaders”, reveals that their insights into the attributes of outstanding leaders are astonishingly in tune. Citing the example set by basketball player Michael Jordan, Nooyi emphasizes the importance of teamwork to leadership success in the corporate world. Strong soloists sometimes need to learn to take a back seat in jazz too, agrees Marsalis. Authenticity is also seen by both as a key leadership quality. Nooyi defines it as: “bringing your whole self to what you are doing” while for Marsalis, authenticity is also about “how wholeheartedly you approach learning what you don’t know.” For Nooyi and Marsalis, great leaders are life-long learners who empathize, listen and help people to give their best every day.

> Full story: Wynton Marsalis and Indra K. Nooyi in Egon Zehnder's “Connecting Leaders”

View all of the dialogues in Egon Zehnder‘s “Connecting Leaders” series


Trends

Egon Zehnder Analysis Finds Gains and Gaps

While the number of highly-placed women in business may be rising, the pace of change remains painfully slow, reports The Financial Times, citing the 2014 Egon Zehnder European Board Diversity Analysis. The recently published Egon Zehnder study examined gender diversity across the boards of more than 356 large European companies as well as 568 large companies worldwide. Women now hold more than 20% of director seats on the European boards studied, up from 15% in 2012 and 8% in 2004. In terms of gender diversity, these gains bring European boards into line with those in the US (21.2%) and Australia (22.6%) and push Europe well ahead of large company boards in India (8.8%), China (9.2%), and Japan (3.3%). However, women still hold just 2.6% of board chair positions in the European sample and just 3.7 percent across all other regions. “The world remains far from the tipping point where true board diversity is the established norm,” concludes Rajeev Vasudeva, chief executive of Egon Zehnder.

> In the news: “Business cannot afford to obstruct women” Financial Times (1st December 2014)

For further insight, read 2014 Egon Zehnder European Board Diversity Analysis and view 2014 Study Highlights.


Functional Leadership

General Counsel – Moving Closer to Business and Mitigating Risk

What are the greatest challenges facing GCs today and how can they contribute to an organization's success most effectively? In a series of interviews conducted at the 2014 Legal Week Corporate Counsel Forum, the magazine asked senior GQs at some of the world's top companies these questions. There was a general consensus that GQs need to get closer to business and become trusted commercial advisers, rather than just legal experts. Given their obligations to ensure legal and regulatory compliance, however, this constitutes a delicate balancing act. Some GQs highlight the importance of adding value by helping others to understand and mitigate risk. With personal liability growing among business leaders, they see a greater emphasis on educating executives about their exposure.

> Full story: A video from the “2014 Legal Week Corporate Counsel Forum” featured in LegalWeek (3 November 2014)

More: Egon Zehnder's Legal Professionals Practice


Industry

CEO Succession: Put Potential First

The 1982-2000 industry-wide slump left the oil and gas industry with a missing generation of managers and a yawning talent gap. For companies seeking to refill their talent pipeline, it's time to transcend the industry's traditional competency-based model, write Egon Zehnder consultants Trent Aulbaugh, Steven Goodman and Carol Singleton Slade in an article for Oil & Gas Monitor. In a complex, fast-changing business environment, a candidate's potential for adapting fast to new situations and picking up skills on the job is a critical success factor, note the authors. In their experience, four personality traits indicate potential: curiosity, insight, engagement and determination. A multi-pronged approach to assessing leadership with a focus on potential offers: “an essential perspective on who is able to adjust and flourish in times of ongoing, unpredictable change.”

> Full story: Trent Aulbaugh, Steven Goodman and Carol Singleton Slade: “Potential: The Essential Quality When Assessing CEO Candidates” in Oil & Gas Monitor (17 November 2014).

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