'CEOs should turn away from short-term thinking'

Chief executives need to move away from short-term thinking and take bold measures to promote diversity, according to leaders gathered at the WEF annual meet.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 23, 2016, 20:29 PM IST
'CEOs should turn away from short-term thinking'

Davos: Chief executives need to move away from short-term thinking and take bold measures to promote diversity, according to leaders gathered at the WEF annual meet.

Stating that surveys confirm that people lack trust in their leaders, France's Publicise Groupe's Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy said business sector should not be held back if government is unwilling to take the necessary steps to push through the right policies, regulations and reforms.

"As CEOs, we have a lot of responsibility. We can't sit and wait for the decisions by politicians. We have to insist that they make the right decisions. Otherwise, we will have more situations like Greece," he noted.

International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow said the central question is whether technology can be harnessed for systems change.

Noting that technology is not shared on an equitable basis, she said "greed is outstripping opportunity".

Participating in a session, US-based Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc R Benioff said the problem is a lack of leaders willing to recognise the challenges and make the necessary changes.

"We are in a leadership crisis. We are seeing technological shifts and changes on a scale we have never seen on this planet.

These require severe and extreme leadership. Countries that are having a problem are those with the weakest leadership. There is a leadership void in this world," he said.

They felt that CEOs have to turn away from short-term thinking and narrow concern for shareholders and instead take bold steps to improve workers' conditions, promote diversity and take a wider stakeholder perspective.

Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management in the US, said it would be a mistake to blame technology for such problems as the rise of inequality or unemployment.

"The biggest misconception is the idea that technology will come for our jobs. The bigger opportunity is to use technology to enhance performance and augment human activity," he added.

"Technology can be used to destroy and create jobs. There is no economic law that everyone is going to benefit equally. You have to put the policies in place," he noted.