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Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year’s Wish for the Coming Decade

With some wishful thinking, aided by a glass of champagne to bring in the new year, I envisaged this press article from later in the decade . . .

PWF Inc, the global conglomerate, today announced Donahugh, currently president of a key business unit of the company, as its new CEO. The last and most senior appointment in its refreshed executive team. Corporate responsibility has been a defining component of Donahugh’s management style.

Over a year ago at a boisterous annual meeting, shareholders demanded a change of leadership and, consistent with the lead set by so many other businesses, approved the cessation of reporting the forthcoming quarter’s expected earnings, to be replaced by annual reporting of the five and ten year outlook.

Although disappointed with the lackluster performance of the company, shareholders offered some limited praise that the current leadership had in the mid part of the decade overseen a fundamental shift of the core business across to new sustainable raw materials. In so doing, the worst of the price hikes that had left some less enlightened competitors in the dust were avoided. The true winners in the sector though had been those that saw this coming in the Aughts.

In making the announcement, Chairman of the Board Peterson pointed out that “It is not coincidental that Donahugh, our pick for the role, headed the division of PWF that over ten years steadily outperformed many stock market darlings which had started so well but then fell by the wayside”

Major pension fund shareholders also made clear that after decades of leadership swings between the traditional management disciplines, it was time for leadership with a new all encompassing perspective. “We need the companies in which we invest to take a more holistic approach” said Green, VP at a large institutional shareholder, “An approach that takes into account engineering, finance and sales to deliver a long term return to shareholders but within the context of the society in which the company operates. In many cases our clients, as well as being investors of PWF, are their employees and customers too or are impacted by PWF simply as members of civil society. We see leaders with a strong record of corporate responsibility to be best placed to fulfill that role”.

Donahugh has a Masters in Sustainable Business Administration and is a Chartered Corporate Responsibility Practitioner.

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