Our Global Board and Governance Advisory Practice co-hosted this event alongside the FT Board Director Program.

Moderated by Tim Robb from our UK office, the panel discussion featured Diana Breeze, Group HR Director at Bunzl plc and Non-Executive Director (NED) at Topps Tiles plc; Devyani Vaishampayan, NED at Norman Broadbent plc and Mazars UK LLP; and Neil Hayward, Chair at Horseracing Industry People Board, NED at the National Skills Academy for Rail and at Applied Monitoring, and a Board Director at Skills Union Pte. Ltd.  During the session, we debated the value HR Directors bring as Non-Execs in the Boardroom with the panel kindly providing valuable insights on the subject, and how to successfully make the transition from executive to non-executive. Attendees included CHROs and HRDs from our client base, across the FTSE350, privately held, and Private Equity markets.

We would like to thank our panellists and guests -NEDs, CHROs and HRDs, for joining us and for their contributions.

For further information, please contact Tim Robb.


The study conducted by Eric Salmon & Partner’s Board and Governance Advisory Practice in cooperation with European Women on Boards (EWOB) sheds light on the practical experiences of seasoned chairs from leading European companies, offering valuable insights into fostering inclusion and diversity.

Click to read the report

“And when the widespread use of AI tools threatens to lower companies’ unique competitive advantage, that is when the creativity of the illuminated human mind will make a difference. This is a scenario that will require managers not only to initiate a dialogue and build a relationship with technologies that are constantly mutating, but also to look up and aim for objectives that had been previously unimaginable.” Massimo Milletti.

Read original article in Italian

Read English translation


Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash


Setting the vision, giving stability: the CEO’s human touch

Thomas Schulz is the Group CEO of Bilfinger, a prominent global provider of industrial services, striving to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of clients within the process industry.

In this interview with our colleague Simone Maggioni, Thomas talks about CEOs adapting to change,  initiating cultural shifts, and driving stakeholders to share a common vision, building trust through a collaborative model.



Read the full interview


Iris Braun is a visionary entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at share GmbH in Berlin.  She epitomizes the intersection of social entrepreneurship, business acumen, and sustainability.

Her professional journey includes serving as the Technical Lead at IFMR Lead and Harvard University in Chennai, India, where she conducted empirical research on financial development in emerging economies, with a particular emphasis on India. Prior to her foray into social entrepreneurship, Iris contributed her expertise as a consultant to The World Bank and the German Ministry of Economics.

Beyond the numbers associated with her economics background, Iris’s extraordinary energy is evident during her interview with our colleague Astrid Jakubass. Her multifaceted personality, coupled with her boundless energy and ongoing personal development, exemplify a commendable woman excelling in balancing various aspects of life and work.


Read the full interview here.


Photo by Iris Braun


Wahab Yusoff is a Board Member, Advisor, Investor and Technopreneur, serving at commercial and public sector boards in Singapore such as Changi Airport Group, the Energy Market Authority, and National Arts Council amongst others.

In an interview with our colleague Wai Leong,  Wahab observed that public sector boards -while unsurprisingly focused on governance, can also be innovative. He also confirmed that boards are addressing many more disruptive topics compared to the past – and, as other interviewees have mentioned, there is an onus on board directors to get up to speed on many disparate things, including Technology.

Wahab believes in the benefits of diversity but it should never be at the expense of competence.

Read the full interview here.


Five Questions Wahab Yusoff.pdf


Photo by  Laurin Steffens-Unsplash

Gavin Adda is CEO at Peak Energy Asia (part of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners) and Board Director at Lindström.  He is also Co-Chairman of Sustainability Committee at European Chamber of Commerce, Singapore.

Gavin has unique insights from his experience with a private family-owned business as well as a joint venture comprising representatives from corporate shareholders. Nonetheless, the observations he shared with our colleague Wai Leong, are pertinent to all board directors, whether in listed companies or not.


Five Questions Gavin Adda.pdf


Photo by  Laurin Steffens-Unsplash


Communication is key to building corporate culture

In this new interview, Simone talks to Arnd Franz, CEO of Mahle Group, about the CEOs role in shaping stakeholder value, corporate culture and strategic goals.

Arnd recognizes that it is not all about delivering profit but also about contributing to sustainability.


Read the full interview


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Nicola Winter is a remarkable German pilot and reserve astronaut, known for her exceptional contributions to both military aviation and space exploration. Her journey unfolds as a story of determination, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Winter’s multidimensional career also encompasses her role as a keynote speaker on topics such as leadership, empowerment, and crisis management.

In an interview with our Consultant Lutz Tilker, she shared some insights into her journey and the key factors that contributed to her success, her definition of leadership, and essential qualities for effective leadership in any industry.


Read the full interview here.


Photo by Nicola Winter


Rajeev has been CEO at Nokia and Inmarsat as well as board director in companies based out of Asia, Europe and the United States. He has worked with listed global companies and those driven by private equity.

In this interview with Wai-Leong, Rajeev stressed that board members need to be responsible for continually upgrading themselves, especially on technology, which has been pervasive and continues to be disruptive.


Five Questions Rajeev Suri.pdf


Photo by Lauin Steffens on Unsplash

We are pleased to present the fifth in this series of interviews with board directors. Supriya Sen, Non Exec board director, investment committee member and advisory board certified chair. She has worked for a wide range of organizations covering diverse industries and geographies.

Supriya feels strongly that boards should address strategic and vital issues, pushing management forward. Boards should be serious and structured in ascertaining new skills/knowledge needed and the gaps in the collective capabilities of the present board.

“The board needs to be refreshed and fit for purpose whether the main topic is strategy, operations, or human capital.”


Five Questions Supriya Sen.pdf


Photo by Lauin Steffens on Unsplash

İpek İpekçioğlu is widely recognized as one of the Berlin club scene’s most prominent DJs. Well known for her live collaborations with various musicians, as well as her contributions to theatre, opera, films, and documentaries. Her work delves into social-political issues inherent in everyday life, and she adeptly incorporates them into her musical productions.

Beyond her artistic pursuits, İpek is an event manager and a committed activist. Her multifaceted contributions extend far beyond the realm of music, making her a prominent figure in both the artistic and activist communities.

Her advice to leaders is noteworthy, advocating a shift away from conventional paradigms, urging the consideration of local residents, women, and immigrants, irrespective of their origins. She emphasizes that evaluations should be based on qualities and impressions, rather than superficial considerations, with a focus on a person’s character or likability as the ultimate determinant.


Read the full interview here.


Photo by Melis Özdil Christin


Best Practice for working with regulators

In partnership with EY’s Christopher Schmitz, our consultant James Isaacs co-hosted a dinner at the heart of Berlin’s fintech community to discuss fintech entrepreneurs and regulatory best practice.

Leveraging the combined knowledge and networks of Christopher’s fintech strategy consulting team, our distinguished speakers shared their individual perspectives.

Guests came from local areas and also from Munich, London, Utrecht, and Romania.


Read James’s full article here.


Main photo by Andreas Niendorf at Unsplash

Kimberly Maucher-Lynch’s multifaceted nature extends beyond her professional accomplishments, revealing a rich tapestry of passions and principles that define her. Growing up in a bi-racial family, she navigated the complexities of identity, shaping her into an intentional individual who stands firmly for her beliefs.

HR Thought Leader, Board Member, Social Impact & Innovation Expert, and Advisor, Kimberly ‘s journey and insights underscored the significance of adaptability, openness, inclusivity, and a clear sense of purpose in achieving personal and professional success. Her interview serves as an inspirational guide for individuals striving to make a positive impact in their respective fields.


Read the full interview here.


Photo owned by Kimberly Maucher-Lynch.


Our Global Board and Governance Advisory Practice hosted another “Board breakfast” in London, continuing a series of events for Board members and our Clients, organised by our UK office.

We led a discussion about Private Equity portfolio company Chairs, looking at Chair profiles and attributes linked to value creation. Guests agreed that there was a strong case for an independent Chair in most circumstances, selected for their experience, stakeholder management skills, specific sector and situational understanding.

Attendees reflected a combination of senior Private Equity clients (both Deal Partners and Talent Directors), with many successful PE portfolio Chairs, several placed by Eric Salmon & Partners global Board and Governance Advisory Practice.

Many thanks to our guests for joining us, and for their contributions.

For further information, please contact Hagen or Tim.




From her early professional foray into the Brussels office of Telecom Italia, Claudia embarked on a path that would lead her through some of the most prestigious consulting positions, including roles at industry giants like Cap Gemini and Boston Consulting Group.

Italian born, she later acquired French citizenship and entered the French administration, where she made vital contributions.

Claudia Ferrazzi’s remarkable journey through the realms of culture, leadership, and diplomacy is a testament to her unique blend of talents and experiences.


Read the full interview by Raoul Nacke here.


Photo owned by Claudia Ferrazzi.

Dr. Jennifer Scheydt’s professional journey has been marked by a remarkable commitment to innovation and sustainability in the construction and building materials industry.

As Head of the Engineering & Innovation at HeidelbergCement AG she prioritized sustainability and resource efficiency, reflecting her commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of construction materials.  Under her guidance, the department achieved several ground-breaking innovations, including the printing in 3D of Germany’s first concrete house which -in collaboration with various partners, was recognized with the German Innovation Award in 2021. 

Jennifer is Director Concrete & Surface Technology at BMI Group and Board Member at the Institute for Construction and Environment (“IBU”). As part of the AiF e.V. -Germany’s industry-supported network for the promotion of research, she has become an expert in the field of economics where she promotes entrepreneurial innovation for the  benefit of Germany’s small and medium-sized businesses.

In an industry that can often be set in its ways, Jennifer brings a refreshing disruption.


Read the full interview by Steffen Ehrke here.


Photo owned by Dr. Jennifer Scheydt

Nike Lorenz is a prominent young German field hockey player.  She represented her nation at the 2016 Summer Olympics but it was during the Tokyo Olympics on July 25, 2020, that she garnered international attention when she added a rainbow-colored band to her attire, making a profound statement in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

In addition to her achievements on the field, Nike Lorenz serves as an ambassador for two significant climate initiatives: the “Sports for Future” movement and the Sports4Trees campaign. Notably, she has emerged as one of Germany’s leading climate activists within the realm of sports.

Nike Lorenz was interviewed by Steffen Ehrke, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners, Germany.

Read the full article here

Photo owned by Nike Lorenz

Megha Malagatti was interviewed by Raoul Nacke, CEO and President of Eric Salmon & Partners for our Female Voices series.

Megha’s remarkable journey from India to the executive committee of a French luxury brand is deeply intertwined with her background in India. Specifically her upbringing within the Indian context of diversity including social caste system and her dream which became her passion to be part of the luxury world.

After completing her degree in engineering, Megha initially embarked on a career in the tech industry. Yet, there was a deeper calling she couldn’t ignore. Her passion for fashion had always burned brightly. This duality sparked the idea of pursuing an MBA in Paris —a gateway to the world of business and fashion.

Paris liberated Megha to rediscover her true self, fostering confidence, resilience, and a profound sense of responsibility.


Read the full article here

Photo, Megha Malagatti’s own

Discover the Inspiring Journey of Souad Massi: The Voice of Female Leaders

Explore our exclusive interview with Souad Massi, a highly acclaimed artist known for her enchanting voice and unique fusion of musical genres. Born into a modest family in Algiers, Souad’s artistic journey led her to captivate audiences worldwide. With a strong belief in freedom, justice, and tolerance, Souad’s songs convey powerful messages of love, altruism, and bravery. As a bridge between cultures, she inspires us with her talent and dedication to artistic expression.

In this insightful interview, Souad shares the key factors that contributed to her success and how she defines leadership. Drawing from her personal experiences, she emphasizes the importance of authenticity, sincerity, and the courage to listen to oneself and others in effective leadership.

Souad also opens up about challenges she encountered in her career and the strategies she employed to overcome them, offering valuable lessons for leaders facing difficulties. Her resilience, grounded in meditation and genuine audience engagement, helps her navigate through even the most challenging times.

As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, Souad embraces her platform to empower underrepresented groups, especially women, both within and outside the music industry. Through mentorship programs and collaborations, she celebrates the richness of global musical heritage and breaks cultural barriers.

Inspirational and thought-provoking, Souad Massi’s journey serves as a profound reminder of the power of authenticity, empathy, and introspection in both artistry and leadership. Join us as we delve into the captivating world of Souad Massi and uncover the connections between art, leadership, and personal growth.

Read the full interview here

Photo by © YANN ORHAN | Design & production 2022

Supply chain management is emerging from a back-office function to become a strategic differentiator for businesses. Successful managers are boosting profitability and their careers. It is now a route to the chief executive role itself.


Read the article here.


Photo by Sid Suratia on Unsplash

This time, Jean-Michel interviews Dominique Mockly, CEO at TEREGA.  

Dominique is a specialist in National Defence, the aerospace and energy industries. With experience gained from holding several high level positions in top French corporations where he has built important international relations. He is also the author of several books.  In “L’entreprise Cerveau” (” The brain company “) published in 2015, he underlined “the importance for a company to be risk management oriented, to be quick in the deployment and flexible”.


Read the full interview


Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash


Wai Leong’s fourth in a series of interviews with board directors, this time with Colin Low who has sat on boards in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Colin reiterated that boards are ultimately accountable and, given the challenging environment, board directors have to be committed to know the business and to upgrade themselves.

Colin is among a few in Asia who have been certified by the Diligent Institute in Climate Change and in Cyber Security.


Five Questions Colin Low.pdf


Photo by Lauin Steffens on Unsplash



In this new interview, our Partner Jean Michel Riou talks to Yann Leriche, CEO of GETLINK. 

With an extensive career which includes the public sector, road infrastructure, construction and operation of public transit systems, Yann talks about key topics such us:  diversification in energy, delivering services in a low carbon manner and role evolution, amongst other.


Read the full interview


Photo by Nils Stahl on Unsplash

Hagen Schweinitz and Tim Robb of Eric Salmon’s Board and Governance Advisory Practice hosted a breakfast roundtable for Consumer sector Non-Executives in London.

Guests reflected our diverse client base – with Board members from the UK, US and European mid-market, across listed, private-equity backed and family-held structures.

We facilitated a wide-ranging and lively debate following our overall theme ‘Building Better Boards’, with segments on Composition (getting the right skills into the Board for the current and future strategy / markets); Customer experience; Digital & AI; Succession planning; Governance and Regulation; and Board evaluation.

Many thanks to our guests for joining us, and for their contributions.

For further information contact Hagen or Tim.



Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

In Wai Leong’s third in a series of interviews with board directors, he had the privilege of going through five questions with CHONG Chye Neo.

She brings the perspective from having served on boards of companies listed in Malaysia. In her straightforward fashion, Chye Neo stressed that boards must be substantively diverse and not just having single token representatives. She also pointed out the importance of a good chairperson who will ensure minority voices are heard as well as good management papers (and tools) to ensure effective debate. Chye Neo also raised the point of board directors not always having deep experience of the company’s industry sector and the open question of how to measure true board effectiveness and to improve performance. Boards do serious work and perhaps directors need to dedicate more time for continual learning as well as to embrace more brutally honest evaluation processes.


Five Questions CHONG Chye Neo.pdf


Photo from Unsplash

Shared goals, bonds and strategies

In the fourth interview from “Lessons from the top” our Partner Monika Stoiber interviewed Paolo Recrosio, CEO Berlin Packaging EMEA.

Paolo has headed up these businesses in Europe since 2018.  He believes success is about creating shared goals, bonds and strategies. Consensus building from the top definitely has a role to play in the 21st century business, in this interview with our partner he sets out his aims.

Read the full interview


Photo by isumi-daizy on Unsplash

The importance of service leadership

In our third interview from “Lessons from the top” our Senior Partner Simone Maggioni interviewed Luca Savi, CEO of ITT Corporation.

It is uncommon for an Italian to head up an iconic American company. So, there is a lot we can learn from this chief executive. Luca Savi also has extensive global experience in key leadership roles having held several top positions in Italy, China and the U.S. From Fiat to Royal Dutch Shell,
Honeywell to Ferruzzi-Montedison Group, this business leader has an enviable resume.

He believes business leaders need to primarily focus on creating a mindset of service.

Read the full interview


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash


LLMs in Healthcare; is this the penicillin moment?

Eric Salmon and Partners recently organised a virtual HealthTech event with business leaders across Europe and USA. We would like to thank David Champeaux, Suja Chandrasekaran, Julien Coustaury, Claudio Giuliano, Troy L. Hilsenroth and Milind Kamkolkar for their attendance and contribution to a lively dialogue. The objective of the event was to have an open exchange of experiences and insights on the impact of LLMs on the Healthcare ecosystem. Here are four key takeaways from the event and based separate discussions with some of the attendees.

Photo by Priscilla du Preez in Unspalsh

Read the article here.


Episode 2 “Opening doors”

In the second episode of the series James Isaacs, Managing Director London, interviews Reggie Nelson, Associate at Blackstone, author, podcaster and youth mentor.

Here is a young man that broke through the poverty cycle with limited resources but a whole lot of resourcefulness, character, tenacity and resilience….and he’s really likeable too.

ESP Fearless Leaders series Episode 2 – Article


Photo by David Billings in Unsplash

Trust, energy and purpose matter

In the second episode of our series “Lessons from the top” our Senior Partner Simone Maggioni interviewed Gonzalve Bich, CEO of BIC, to find out more on how leaders are facing today’s new challenges.

BIC is an iconic French brand synonymous with pens and writing itself, and Gonzalve Bich has been chief executive of the family firm for five years.

Gonzalve believes that, as things are constantly changing today and the role of CEO is evolving, it is crucial to “focus on trust, belief and energy”.

Read the full interview


Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

Board director evaluations are reviews performed by a company’s board of directors to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of its members.

These evaluations help to ensure that the board is fulfilling its responsibilities in the best interest of the company and all its stakeholders.

Disclosures play an important role in the wider context of corporate governance as they provide stakeholders with important information about a company’s governance practices and performance.


Read full article here

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi – Unsplash

We live in turbulent times: digitalisation and the sustainability debate are having a direct impact on the private equity market.  Two effects can currently be observed: private equity funds have more and more capital at their disposal, and digitalisation and the global sustainability debate are reducing the market of interesting takeover targets.

Read full article here


Photo by  Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

The second in our series of interviews is with Edward Lee, who has board experience in companies such as Indofood Agri Resources, Keppel Land and QAF (among others). Edward spent many years in the Singapore Foreign Service, serving as High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, Ambassador to the Philippines, and Singapore Ambassador to Indonesia.


Five Questions Edward LEE.pdf


Photo by Laurin Steffens, Unsplash

What we hear from CEOs

This Eric Salmon & Partners, ‘Lessons from the top’ is a thought leadership article based on interviews with Luca Savi, CEO of ITT Corporation, Gonzalve Bich, CEO of Société BIC, Gerrit Marx, CEO of Iveco Group and Benedetto Vigna, CEO of Ferrari.


Read the full interview


Photo by Jose Losada Unsplash

Episode 1 “The art of unlearning”

In today’s uncertain, complex and rapidly evolving global economy, we need fearless leaders. Those CEOs that act with determination, discipline and commitment will help us innovate and disrupt the status quo. In this series we learn from high-profile figures on how to navigate the future. This time Eric Salmon & Partners’ Praf Vagh talks to Sunil Prashara in a wide-ranging discussion, some of which has been captured on video.

ESP Fearless Leaders series Episode 1 – Article


Photo by jaime dantas-unsplash

We had the privilege to discuss Five Questions with TAN Yen Yen, a Singapore-based independent board director who has experience on boards of companies from Asia, Europe and the United States.”


Five Questions: TAN Yen Yen by Wai Leong Chan.pdf

Photo from  Unsplash 

Many traditional insurance players are struggling to develop a talent pipeline. This is vital to serving the digital consumer and competing with insurtechs, so, what needs to change?


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Click to read the article

Top managers don’t just have to produce good figures; they have to make sure that digitalisation is running smoothly, employees and customers are happy, and the company is growing as sustainably as possible. How can it be done?


Read and download the Article here: 

Article in German

Article in English

Photo  by Marek Szturc Unsplash Photo Community

On April 28, 2022, Eric Salmon & Partners celebrated its 30-year anniversary of activity focused on executive search and leadership advisory services (succession planning in primis), by hosting a conversation with Alec Ross (author of The Raging 2020’s), Benedetto Vigna (CEO of Ferrari) and Nicoletta Romanazzi (mental coach, author of “Entra in Gioco con la Testa”). The title, “Think again”, was inspired by the book of Adam Grant. We aimed at understanding what kind of leadership is needed to exit this decade better than it started. This short article condenses the main concepts and arguments shared during the conversation.

Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash
Click to read the article 


Eternally youthful

And they are always there. The young. Silent. Perhaps a bit too much. Evoked across the board on all the critical themes: pensions, climate change, employment, the pandemic.

Article in Italian by Massimo Milletti, published on Harvard Business Review Italia, March 2022 issue.


Read original article in Italian: HRB Eternamente Giovani

Read English translation: HBR Eternally youthful

 Published on See the source image

Photo by Devin Avery – unsplash

Market Insights Report

“We shape our buildings and, afterwards, our buildings shape us.”  Winston Churchill

• Arguably no other sector has the same societal impact on communities as real estate.

• And on our environment? The built habitat is the largest single contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, at an estimated 30 – 40% of global totals.

As such, the varying approaches of real estate companies towards sustainable development have a significant bearing on global environmental and societal sustainability ambitions.

How companies choose to progress the sustainability agenda is largely driven by leadership, vision, strategy and culture. Keen to understand the shape of sustainability leadership in the real estate sector, Eric Salmon & Partners has been discussing these elements with leaders across real estate’s value chain: property developers, owners and tenants; asset managers and investors; lenders and advisors. We have endeavoured to gain insight and leadership perspectives beyond corporate manifestos and broadscale communications to understand the composition of real estate’s evolving sustainability leadership.


Key Insights

On the surface, a number of CEOs and Boards in the sector are publicly endorsing the transition to sustainable development and this is reflected in shifts underway in organisational structure and corporate governance.


Organisational structure

  • Often large institutional investors have incorporated Sustainability into their Research and Strategy functions.
  • Asset Managers and Technical Directors have additionally taken ownership of the function.
  • Large property companies and developers have frequently created Chief Sustainability Officer leads who are part of Corporate Affairs, Corporate Communications, Strategy or Innovation departments.
  • In some instances, a functional lead carries the Sustainability banner as adjunct to the ‘day job’. This is seen as a way to demonstrate the seniority of the role and its importance to the company.
  • Investor Relations and Finance are cited as key business allies in improving ratings, reporting, sustainable investing and overall governance.
  • HR is a key partner, owning the societal dimensions – human rights, diversity/equity and inclusion as well as health and well-being.

Although there was a noted desire to ensure sustainability was not ‘owned’ by one Sustainability titled leader but was woven into the business, many companies have nonetheless set up a Sustainability function to secure action and ownership of the agenda, by all.

With the exception of those individuals who have Sustainability as an adjunct to their core roles, the Sustainability leaders in organisations observed rarely report into CEOs directly. This is not unusual and is the case in most sectors.


Performance Management

 Advanced players have already integrated sustainability metrics into their decision-making and performance management processes but this remains relatively new.  Furthermore, we noted a bias towards the environmental dimensions of ESG rather than the social.  This said, nearly all leaders noted work underway, particularly in partnership with HR departments, on diversity/equity/inclusion aspects.

  • Approximately 50% of companies we spoke with have already started to link sustainability KPIs to performance pay or will do so for the first time in 2021 for top tier management.
  • From our discussions, it is likely this figure will increase to around 80% of the companies surveyed over the next 18 to 24 months. Moreover, it is expected that KPIs will be incorporated into annual performance objectives for a much larger part of the organisation.

Progressive CEOs heralded the inclusion of metrics into annual targets as a key to assessing leadership potential today and in the future.


Corporate Governance

Along with the relatively new establishment of ESG and Sustainability committees at executive level, we observed a growing number of organisations instituting committees at Board level.

Sometimes bridging both sustainability and the more historic corporate social responsibility, today’s Executive Committees are delving more deeply into the overall sustainability agenda and we anticipate a similar impact at Board level.


Enablers and Challenges to Sustainability Transition

A number of enablers emerged: some biased to risk mitigation and others more positive:-

  • CEO/leadership team’s sense of personal belief and purpose
  • Talent acquisition and retention, with emphasis on the younger generations who expect a company to do its part and effect change
  • Route for innovation and competitive advantage
  • Opportunity for partnership and collaboration, driving more meaningful Client engagement
  • Clients’ expectations, forcing the bar to be raised
  • Regulatory demands, on the rise and set to continue
  • Expectations by the investment / finance sector
  • Prospect of litigation and the possibility of obsolescence or ‘stranded assets’

This said, in practice, a number of challenges evinced themselves that distract or impede the rate of change in the real estate sector:-

  • Diversity of client bases and asset types, each with their own sustainability agendas
  • Commercial pressures, striking the balance of short and long term requirements
  • Technology /AI / digitisation and the ability to deliver sound data and analytics to drive change
  • Taxonomy and frameworks for reporting which is not limited to the sector under study
  • Leadership skill and the understanding that seeing through a sustainability agenda takes a shift in mindset, plus courage and patience

Moreover, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach; no blueprint for success:-

  • The sustainability agenda touches nearly every part of an organisation
  • The complexity and dynamism of the agenda means no one individual–or organisation–can have all the answers
  • The interwoven tapestry of players across the real estate value chain requires to collaborate beyond their own companies


Closing Words

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced how fragile both the planet and humanity are.  Real estate actors, whose actions impact our lives and our communities, have a critical role both singly and collectively in building a sustainable future.

The foundation for this transition is an evolving leadership which brings systemic thinking coupled with innovation and creativity; powerful communication which inspires; openness and inclusion that engenders collaboration; authenticity that imbues belief; and hearty ambition for one’s own company and others.

This new breed of leader is one who can see beyond here and now, understanding not only sustainable business but also that our sustained existence relies on a sense of urgency as well as bold action.


 (This is an extract from a longer report: https://sustainablematters.net/3nQ7vKw)

Image from Unsplash

Sophie Landale, Eric Salmon & Partners Real Estate Executive Search & Leadership Advisory Practice Lead – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophie-landale/

Nina Glass, Eric Salmon & Partners Leadership Advisory, Sustainability & Change Practice Lead – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nina-glass/


Il libro raccoglie 17 articoli pubblicati su Harvard Business Review dal 2012 ad oggi. L’autore, che da trent’anni esercita la professione di head hunter, analizza gli impatti che i vari avvenimenti economici hanno avuto negli ultimi decenni sulla classe manageriale. Come sono mutati i percorsi di carriera, il cambiamento delle regole del gioco dettato dalle crisi, lo sviluppo di nuovi profili di leadership, l’evoluzione della cultura aziendale. Gli articoli partono da una ricostruzione dei fenomeni che sono alla base dei cambiamenti, da una lettura del loro vissuto da parte del management, per poi delineare possibili evoluzioni dello stile di gestione delle aziende. Ricorrente è il tema dell’importanza dei valori, del ruolo sociale dell’impresa e della sensibilità del management in tale direzione.

Based on examples from the financial industry, Fatih Pekbas explains in this article the current issues especially executives are facing. Digital leadership competency is becoming a crucial factor for the successful handling of current challenges. Only with executives who possess the required future-oriented skills, will companies be able to achieve a visionary and result-oriented digital change.

Source: Börsen-Zeitung (article in German)

Singapore’s government has identified the tech sector as an engine of growth. Over the years, the government has created a pro-business ecosystem that enhances innovation and supports VCs, PEs and angel investors. Having lived and worked in the Valley, I get asked, very frequently, “What is Silicon Valley’s recipe for success?” As I reflect upon my time spent in the Valley, my network and the reasons behind the success of my family there, I think the biggest differentiator lies in mindset.

When we first moved to Santa Clara, we were invited by my aunt and uncle to join them in their weekly hikes. They have been living there for 45 years. Every Friday, the “hiking gang”, as my children called it, would meet at 5 pm and hike up Mission Peak. As a Singapore born & bred mother, my first thoughts were about the potential risks and failure my sons, aged 5 and 10, would face during the 3.5 hours arduous hike up 2000 ft out in the rough elements. I thought about the harsh dry heat of 35 degrees Celsius, the dry and rocky trail, rattle snakes and the risk of bulls attacking hikers. My thoughts changed, when my uncle talked about the hike positively. He said that the kids will learn to appreciate nature, deal with the challenges of wildlife or weather, build endurance and learn to engage with the other hikers. All of this is hard to teach in a classroom. He also shared what the view would be like close to the top of Mission Peak; a panoramic view of the Bay Area, and on a clear day the view of the Sierra Nevada ranges and an immense sense of accomplishment. Such positivity motivated us to join in the hike. By the end of that summer, we were seasoned hikers and loving it.

My younger son, fearless and not for a second thinking that he was so much younger than the hiking gang, enjoyed every second of the hikes and would be the first one to the top. After every hike, we used to meet at the neighbourhood pizza restaurant. During dinner, we used to be amazed listening to the hiking gang as they talked about their failures and successes. They were the microcosm of success in Silicon Valley. The uncle, who was laid off as part of a restructure, did not waste time being negative. With a loan from a friend, he started manufacturing shampoos and creams and is now one of the largest suppliers in California. The uncle who moved from UK and started his own business of making precision engineered parts for bio-medical clients. The uncle who started a private investment fund focusing on early stage start-ups. Listening to their stories we realized how being in the Valley enabled them to be successful. It was all about risk taking, being open to failure, new ideas, talent from around the world and availability of capital. They gave up the general security and stability of the corporate world and with gumption, positivity and leveraging off their network took the plunge. The three of them have achieved success that they had never dreamed off.

My mindset has evolved. More and more, I think of possibilities and the fact that failure is never a bad thing. If you keep trying and adopting new ways you will succeed. As I spoke with my team and network that worked at start-ups and larger tech firms, I saw the value built by being in an environment that is empowering and lacks the stodginess and formality of hierarchy. In this sort of an environment, the value created by employees comes from higher engagement, nimbleness and minds that work more innovatively and creatively.

So, the recipe for success is in the mindset of:

  • Positivity, bravery, boldness
  • Risk taking
  • Resilience – keep trying until failures become successes
  • Creating collaborative networks and leveraging these for help
  • Thinking of solutions and not obstacles

As I returned to Singapore, I was amazed by the start-up scene and the framework that has been set in motion. Singapore’s government has an admirable strategy for attracting top tech companies, investment capital and top talent. A change in mindset needs to become part of the Singaporean DNA and most of it begins at home and in our schools.

As Robert Frost wrote:

“Two roads diverged in the wood, and I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.”


by Brindha Bal, partner at Eric Salmon & Partners’ Singapore office.

Source: Linkedin


Artificial intelligence has developed impressively in recent years. And Artificial Intelligence is already taking on leadership roles, for example in security and data analytics. Will AI also assume management functions and thus replace directors and vice-presidents? A short outlook is given in this article.

Source: Computerwoche (article in German)

In 2014, Oxford University published a report on what the most likely jobs to be automated were. Unsurprisingly, jobs perceived to be less skilled were most at threat. Telemarketing came top of the list with a 99% chance of automation. At the other end of the scale, recreational therapy is thought of as the job with the least risk from being automated with a 0.0028% risk. Perhaps surprisingly, CEOs weren’t the least under threat. Chief Executives came 631st on the 702-strong list. Enough to prick the ears, not enough to worry – at least not for now.

Source: Executive Grapevine

As we swiftly enter the world of automation, obviously there will be a profound impact on society and businesses. As the AI revolution continues to unravel at high velocity, there will be significant impact and change in the leadership models in public and private enterprises. It is evident that AI will play a pivotal role in supporting the quantitative leadership elements and decision making. This is because by its very nature – the AI playbook will commoditise the data based elements of leadership. Based on our discussions with business leaders in the old and new world there will be an even greater emphasis on the softer leadership. Beyond IQ and EQ, a new set of quotients will become more prominent as automation gathers pace. Here’s our take on what ‘leadership quotients’ will make a difference as we continue the path to singularity:

Compassionate Quotient (CQ): Jeff Weiner CEO of LinkedIn is a big proponent of this and did a great talk on this recently in a graduation speech at Wharton. In the workplace CQ is about empathy but with real action. He describes it as aspiring for compassion – which he describes as walking a mile in the other person’s shoes; and understanding their hopes, their fears, their strengths and their weaknesses. And it means doing everything within your power to set them up to be successful. In an AI based world not only will CQ drive team performance but also company performance.

Modesty Quotient (MQ): With the speed of business model and technological advancement traditional hierarchies are being stripped away into flatter and more network based structures. This means leaders need to show a much higher level of humbleness and engagement. This may require the business leader to gain external advice and help internally by engaging more freely with individuals in the organisation who are a few levels below them. This approach is natural in many of the global internet titans but somewhat lacking in the more traditional companies.

Pivot Quotient (PQ): In the world of automation an organisation needs to be responsive, innovate and quickly needs to adapt based on competition and market opportunities. This is not particularly radical given many organisations have strived to do this for many years. The difference now of course is the sheer velocity of the pace of change driven by AI making the notion of pivoting critical. For business leaders this means listening more effectively, removing the ego and better communication and engagement with shareholders and the workforce when making a drastic change. It’s tough for CEO’s – particularly in publicly quoted businesses but they must show real character in taking the risk and remain firm when making a course correction too.

Social Quotient (SQ): In the AI world, Leaders and their organisations will be defined by the role they play in supporting society as the full force of automation kicks in; particularly as it relates to job displacement. There will need to be greater levels of education, training and re-deployment strategies which will require specific attention and investment. There will need to be better collaboration between policy makers and boards of corporations to inhibit any of the negative impact of automation. Leaders who are socially aware and are impactful will gain greater trust from their workforce potentially leading to a happier and productive environment.

With all this said, this may not significantly alter what are in many ways seen as rather an intrinsic set of leadership models to what already exist. However, the big difference is that there is an even greater emphasis on the softer (versus the hard or quantitative) leadership traits which include taking empathy to a newer level, demonstrating humbleness, being steadfast when pivoting and finally being socially aware and creating a much better level of engagement with the workforce. We are in a journey and these quotients may change and evolve as things develop so let us know what you think and happy to hear your views.


By Praf Vagh, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners’ London office

Source: Executive Grapevine

Before Christmas, I had the privilege of being invited to a Porsche SE round table event hosted by Philipp von Hagen (Board Member) on the role of automakers in a digital/autonomous world. As a car enthusiast and given my work in tech/digital, how could I refuse! Thank you – Philipp for inviting me. With a diverse set of attendees including leaders from software, digital media and car OEMs – it was fascinating, thought provoking and at times a striking set of discussions. Here are four key takeaways from the session and subsequent discussions:

Cars will talk to each other to increase safety

Globally with 4G and soon 5G, cars are rolling mobile devices and wireless hotspots. Soon, vehicles will be connected to each other (V2V) and to infrastructure (V2I). When there is danger and a possible collision, every vehicle close to the source will know this. Given the receipt of advanced information, the car will be able to take control of its braking system. VW will launch this in 2019 and the Cadillac CTS already has this capability. Kymeta is creating a V2V platform using satellite technology and has closed over $200M in funding from Bill Gates amongst others. Volvo’s stated aim is to eradicate accidents by 2020. With all these endeavours, we expect safety to drastically increase.

Collaborate or become obsolete

Auto makers collaborate within a complex ecosystem. However, relationships have been predominantly of the supplier-provider type with a focus on cost control. Car manufacturers are quickly integrating suppliers into a true partnership to speed up innovation. We have seen Volvo partnering with Uber and BMW with Amazon to integrate alexa into the head unit so you can ask for news and weather reports. Toyota has launched an artificial investment fund to invest in the next generation of in-car digital technologies; what is interesting is that they are co-investing with their competition.  As cars get smarter and more autonomous, on-the-road services such as shopping or content will be offered as standard. Those auto makers who master the art of collaboration – particularly with tech companies – have a bright future.

Culture change fatigue can kill – so communicate, engage and invest

With young auto rivals such as Tesla, NextEV and Faraday Futures leading the industry disruption, traditional OEMs must battle to remain relevant. As they embrace the digital and green revolution and create new services, they need to retool not only their assembly lines but also their workforce. Transformation fatigue and fear of new technologies, in an industry that has already seen so much restructuring, can paralyze a company. The leaders who engage, communicate, invest in retraining the workforce and when needed, appoint the right external talent, will gain a competitive advantage and survive.

Data could help oil the profits

We know data is becoming the new oil and for the auto industry this could create major growth opportunities. Data is anything related to vehicle speed, images from dashcam, transactions, usage of in car services and location. Then there is the data linked to the car health itself based on the numerous sensors in the hardware which will accurately inform what is happening and monitor performance. Tesla collects terabytes of data from its vehicles and uses machine learning to improve predictive maintenance, self-driving capabilities and the driving experience of its cars. As long as car OEMs do not breach any privacy laws and security is lock tight, they have significant moneymaking opportunities by harnessing the data.

The car industry is going through unprecedented changes and it is not clear who the winners and losers will be. Fuelled by the highly competitive nature of finding the right leaders to drive the change – it should be an incredible ride! Have a great 2018 and please do send me your thoughts.


By Praf Vagh, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners’ London office

Source: LinkedIn