The day began with Frank Alexa, European Consumer Practice Leader at Egon Zehnder. Frank explored the topic of transformational leadership and how to bring to life a value-based and purpose-driven culture. He emphasised that improvement is about responding to changes in the market; renewal is about leveraging this change; and reinvention is to co-create a completely new eco-system and corporate social value. Through this transformational leadership, he said, you are generating strategic intent, orchestrating creativity, growing emotional commitment, anchoring in society and developing leadership and accountability. But, to truly achieve purpose, you must live up to it.
Delegates were then treated to leadership insights from Hani Weiss, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim-Retail. Reflecting on his personal journey, he said it’s the stories that matter most: retail is about the art of storytelling. Hani then shared a few of the lessons he’s learned on this journey. He said, as leaders, you need to pursue the ideas you believe in with conviction and grit. You should also look at a challenge from the perspective of others and positively impact people’s lives through sustainable practices. To emphasise this point, he reflected on how customers today are comparing experience with experience, not retailer with retailer.
Rachael Gan, Social Entrepreneur, CFO of ImpactVision, and former Vice President at Goldman Sachs, then shared experiences from her own journey – taking her from the highs of Wall Street to social enterprise. She said, earlier in her career, she was focused on the world as it was. Only later did she think about her role in the future world. She also thought about life less in silos: she no longer wanted to judge companies based on their bottom line. Business should be equally about social and environmental impacts. On leadership, Rachel said great leaders serve a cause greater than themselves and, as leaders, we need to use our voices for good.
Michael Durach, CEO, Develey Senf & feinkost GmbH, then talked to the future leaders on being different and not simply following the crowd. As a family company, he said, it wasn’t possible to compete with the bigger, global brands, so they differentiated themselves. The company focused on being flexible, being able to adapt and reinvent itself. In his closing remarks, he called on delegates to never stop learning, be yourself, love what you do and be passionate, and to fight for the right culture, be in the driver’s seat and surround yourself with the best team.
During the final keynote, delegates were inspired on the importance of leadership by Dr Raphael von Hoensbroech, Managing Director, Konzerthaus Berlin. Together with a live orchestra, Dr Raphael explored the role of the conductor and the impact not having the leader present to guide the musicians can have. He said the role of the conductor is to create a sense of togetherness and to bring the best out of the orchestra, so it’s more than the sum of its individual parts. The conductor is the only one who has the full score and has a big picture view of the orchestra. He said the role of the leader is to create a communal movement that involves everyone.
John Bradshaw, Head of Marketing, Pick n Pay, and FLP Committee Chairman, then returned to the stage to thank all the speakers, sponsors and delegates for making the Berlin event one that will never be forgotten. He also introduced next year’s edition, October 2019, in Boston.
About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com
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