Rarely have businesses and Business leaders faced such a complex and challenging set of economic pressures, political uncertainties and societal expectations. Regardless of their industry sector, country of origin, or corporate ownership structure, they are under growing pressure to demonstrate outstanding performance not only in terms of competitiveness and market growth, but also in their corporate governance and their corporate citizenship.
- - First, corporate competitiveness: Pressure continues unabated to deliver profits and shareholder value in a period of economic downturn, high levels of competition, and greater international risk and uncertainty. This calls for business leaders and their companies to focus relentlessly on operational efficiency, cost effectiveness, productivity, customer service and innovation.
- - Second, corporate governance: In the wake of corporate governance scandals and public concern over accounting failures, conflicts of interest and inadequate market oversight, there is massive pressure on business leaders to rebuild public trust and to restore investor confidence in their own roles, in their companies, and in the capital markets. This calls for a relentless focus on corporate integrity, accountability and transparency.
- - Third, corporate citizenship: In the face of the high levels of international insecurity and poverty, the backlash against globalization and mistrust of big business, there is growing pressure on business leaders and their companies to deliver wider societal value. This calls for effective management of the company's wider impacts on and contributions to society, making appropriate use of stakeholder engagement. Once again it requires new types of public-private partnership to address challenges that are beyond the capacity or responsibility of an individual company or the private sector.