Modern CEOs work in a different way to their predecessors. Social and culture changes have played a part, but it is the wider availability of secure technology that has enabled this shift. Many of today’s FTSE 250 CEOs began their careers when technology was less pivotal.
Now, while they enjoy an unprecedented degree of freedom, there is little distinction between their professional and personal lives.
Neil Muller, CEO, Daisy Group
“It is a totally different world from 20-30 years ago when I started. Without our systems now, I doubt I’d have been as efficient or effective.
“As the person looking after 4,000 colleagues and 560,000 customers, I’m extra-mobile, and always on. A big part of my job is attracting the best talent. You have to appeal to multiple generations who all have different communication styles. For millennials, work is just something they do: they work to live, not live to work. You have to move with the times: technology drives rapid change.
“Security in today’s world has to sit at the top of our agendas. The data we generate is like a currency. It has a huge value to us and our business. We have world-beating secure processes but we will never stop the bad guys.
Phil Loney, CEO, Royal London
“Slightly unusually, I have worked flexibly for a long time. It has become easier – and more necessary – to work flexibly. I have three work patterns: weeks when I am at our HQ in London, with board meetings and executive commitments; others when I am at our centres; and finally [time spent] talking to regulators, attending investors’ roadshows and lobbying politicians. All require flexibility – and the technology is now in place.
“There is a good business case for structured flexibility: our desk space used to be 40pc underused. The barriers to flexible working are no longer technological. They are now cultural. The only thing that can get in the way is ‘presentism’ – the need to be seen to be working. But if you can’t trust people, you should not have hired them in the first place.”
Dan Gilbert, CEO, Brainlabs
“People work better when they have control over the way they do things. It is baffling to hear about staff being reprimanded for wanting to work from home once a week. Output is all that matters – you have to give staff the freedom to work in their own way.
“Technological innovation underpins everything that Brainlabs does . Whether it’s machine-learning software or Microsoft Excel, it’s the same principle : use it to automate whatever you can; free up humans to do the clever stuff. But technology can be a double-edged sword in terms of security – it enhances our ability to add layers of protection yet creates opportunities for privacy breaches.
“It’s just a question of keeping updated – luckily we have a lot of geeky types here, so we’re pretty clued up.”