CEO Today - September 2023 Edition

government to play politics with it? Also yes. And in the process NatWest have lost a Chief Executive that, in her nearly 4 years in role, was universally acknowledged as running a business that was both transforming and performing. The Financial Times gave the next CEO of NatWest only a 25% chance of success. So where does that new leader take the business now? Well. Step 1 – take the business out of its current part-public ownership, where it will be somewhat better insulated from our current political landscape. No doubt that is going to be trickier given the drubbing the share price has taken over this incident. Which takes us to step 2 – refocus the business around a purpose and strategy that drive both commercial performance and social impact (in the spaces where its business model can make the biggest difference to our society). Whilst I believe in diversity - and know it is key to a high performing corporate culture - I suspect that is not where a bank should focus in its social mission. Given the cost-of-living challenges that people face up and down the United Kingdom I suspect that focus is more likely around using its skills and balance sheet to help more customers make their money go further. So, what’s step 3? Ensure every team in the business understands that our job is to deliver on that purpose for every single customer - with empathy, understanding and passion. Whatever their political views. As long as, and this is important, they aren’t criminal in intent or action. The only real lesson from this whole muddled affair that I can see is that every business and every leader needs to keep themselves honest around the blurry line between doing business better - and building the kind of society they personally would like to see. TY REALLY IS NG IF WE DON’T SE WHO HAVE WE DISAGREE TH."

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