6 March 2019

CEO Breakfast Series

Hosted by Refinitiv and led by CEO David Craig at Refinitiv’s offices in Canary Wharf

Attendees were senior business leaders from various member firms and was an ‘invitation only’ event.

Conversation centred around the themes of organisational transformation and growth.  It was fascinating to hear about the live example of organizational and culture change, growth strategy and transformation of a company that has been powering the financial markets since 1851, which occurred as part of the transition of Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk into a new firm, called Refinitiv, as part of the Blackstone portfolio (announced in October 2018).

We were given a rare insider’s view of the challenges of managing a merger through a financial crisis (when Thomson and Reuters came together) and the strategy, grit and focus it took to get back to growth and get the company into value creation mode, beyond the crisis.  ‘Never waste a crisis’ set the tone for a discussion on how a crisis leads to opportunities and positive changes that leaders need to take recognise and advantage of.  Through all this, David was candid about his personal journey as a leader, the bumps and triumphs along the way and his views on ‘what got you here, won’t get you there’, which drives the need for leaders to continuously evolve, learn and grow themselves and challenge their teams in a similar manner.

There was much discussion about data and its role in the industry and our society – how seriously Refinitiv takes it role as a data powerhouse and how the financial markets could be a force for good.  David talked passionately about how innovation and investments in data, AI and predictive analytics are not only helping our clients manage various front, middle and back office workflows and enabling more efficient regulatory reporting and governance, but are also helping clients and various agencies across the world tackle some of the real world problems of financial crime, human trafficking, etc.  As David described his recent Davos trip and experience, the meetings, the panel he presented on AI, etc. all I was thinking how exhausting it must have been!

With discussion about so much change and transition, everyone got very animated around the table to discuss how leaders can retain credibility while leading and driving such tremendous and significant change in their organisations – being authentic, grounded, acting with honesty and humility were some of the takeaways.  David’s indicated that how you turn up as leaders and the way you manage your energy and time is incredibly important and this resonated across the group of leaders in the room.

I am pretty confident that everyone around the table enjoyed the conversation tremendously including our very generous host, CEO of Refinitiv – David Craig – and we hope to repeat the success in the coming months with another event and opportunity to engage in conversation with a CEO/Senior Leader, so if this appeals to you, please reach out to your company’s LWF Board Member for details.

Key take-aways:

  • Public to private – focus on value creation
  • At a time when technology and data seems to be, and is, changing everything, human capital and expertise is becoming more important
  • ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’
  • Never waste a crisis, and if you don’t have a crisis, find one to drive change
  • Put purpose in the heart and the core of the business, not around the outside – people want to make a difference and feel they are doing something valuable.