Multinationals demand CEOs who can navigate Trump World
The Australian Financial Review article, “Multinationals demand CEOs who can navigate Trump World,” interviewed Russell Reynolds Associates CEO Clarke Murphy on topics ranging from political pressure on multinationals to the need for board directors who understand digital disruption. The article is excerpted below.
Multinational executives and board directors must be "politically savvy" to meet the challenges created by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
Clarke Murphy, chief executive of executive recruitment firm Russell Reynolds Associates, said pressure to "stay local" from governments in Britain, the United States and France had made it even more difficult for public companies to deliver for global shareholders.
"When we're working for global boards, they're saying: 'Listen, we need people who can navigate this'.
"It used to be the CEO had a government relations arm sitting in Washington or Brussels. Now they're saying: 'Our chief executive's got to deal with some of these issues personally' and have the political savviness to deal with that successfully."
The threat was made real when Ford Motor announced in January that it would scrap its planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and invest locally after it came under harsh criticism from Mr Trump for "offshoring" jobs.
Mr Murphy predicted companies would appoint chief operating officers to help manage the company as the CEO became more preoccupied with political dynamics. The political pressure on multinationals come as boards have been forced to adjust to
the disruption brought about by digital technologies and volatile economies.
Mr Murphy said the end of the mining boom exposed executives who couldn't handle the volatile times: "At $US100 a barrel you can be pretty practical, but at $US40 a barrel you damn well better be disruptive or you won't survive."
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