Our guest expert was Gavin Ellwood, founder and Executive Chair of the search firm Ellwood Atfield, which handles many high-stakes corporate affairs roles. He shared multiple insights and recent experiences, but also these observations of the current pressures:
Across the course of the conversation, Gavin touched on the main 10 pressures impacting corporate affairs roles currently:
- Public scrutiny of the CEO: being under the microscope increases vulnerability.
- Global economic uncertainty: volatility, tensions and curved balls have become the new normal.
- Legal and regulatory compliance: ever-more challenges of staying abreast of and ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations.
- Cybersecurity threats: of breaches, and a failure to protect data can result in significant financial and reputational damage.
- Social and environmental responsibility: failure to address the most important areas or indeed getting involved unnecessarily can lead to reputational damage, resulting in the removal of a social licence to operate and impact the company’s bottom line.
- Responsibility for stakeholder interests: broader horizons to consider, particularly employee engagement.
- Rapid technological changes: AI in particular brings opportunity but fear of obsolescence.
- Talent management and retention: managing the expectations and needs of employees can be challenging and people have a greater voice than ever.
- Innovation and disruption: the rapid pace of innovation and industry disruption means CEOs must be proactive in anticipating and responding to changes.
- Mental health and well-being: CEOs may face stress, burnout, and a sense of isolation. Balancing work and personal life is crucial for their overall resilience.
According to Gavin, the past few years have upped the ante for corporate affairs and seen it more in the limelight. “Peak pandemic saw CA leaders responding to raised demands for employee and stakeholder engagement. The organisation’s agility, securing its license to operate was paramount, the FTSE firms’ share prices were greatly influenced by the corporate narrative at that time. Companies needed to have an opinion or position on issues of the day. The post-pandemic bounce saw lots of businesses thinking it was them, that they were doing something special. It was a short-lived rising tide for everyone.”
We hold confidential lunches in London from time-to-time, covering high-stakes topics. If you’d like to know more, email [email protected]
BOLDT is a senior-led consultancy focused on delivering business strategy, communications and stakeholder engagement to transform organisations and performance. BOLDT has offices in Berlin, Brussels, Düsseldorf, London, Oslo and Zürich. BOLDT has a network of international partners which enables us to give clients support across Europe and around the world. BOLDT is now part of Bully Pulpit International. Please visit BOLDTpartners.com to learn more.