Mark Freebairn, senior partner, Odgers Berndtson
Many business leaders we deal with are concerned about the loss of trust in recent years and disillusionment among the younger generation.
They would like to contribute personally to help build a stronger understanding of what business does, what companies contribute, and we want to use our position to help them. These are challenging times in business, with the future uncertain in many ways. We see it as part of our core role to help today’s leaders understand the kind of talent they need for the future, and support them in developing and finding appropriate people.
‘CEO for a Day’ was originally launched in 2004 across our offices in Germany, and the scheme has run in many other countries across the network since, involving more than 700 chief executives and students.
The UK pilot in 2016 was a natural extension, and following its success, we will be expanding the scheme in the UK this year. Students were chosen, following a rigorous selection process, to shadow chief executives from organisations including BT Group, DFS, Edelman, ITV, Kier Group, Legal & General, The National Trust and Standard Chartered. Odgers Berndtson’s CEO (pictured right) has also taken part.
The idea behind the scheme is for CEOs to give their student a ‘warts and all’ experience on the day – involving them in a normal range of activity so they get a fair sense of what the role entails and the real demands of leading a major organisation.