Franz Heueckamp (Cologne, 48 years old) is the first foreign CEO of IESE business school. This German engineer, who doesn’t usually wear a tie, wore it because the institution celebrated its big day this week: the annual Alumni Meeting, which took place this year on the recently opened campus in Madrid and welcomed some 5,500 people in a new hybrid format (on-site and virtual), He believes it will continue in the future. He is happy to see the former students of the Special Management Center, “who are everything to IESE,” reunite after the onslaught of the pandemic.
The school’s 55,000 former students (38,000 residents in Spain) are its engine for development, says Heukamp, not only because they continue training but also because they are promoters of specific projects, initiatives and programmes, such as the Masters in Management, which was born at his request, stands out. “Without them we could not have the facilities we have, neither research nor scholarships.” Not in vain, they contributed about 10 million euros [el 10% de los ingresos previstos para este año] To budget the foundation between fee payment and your donations. He points out that they support the learning of the youngest. They are your best communication network.
Heukamp believes that we are facing a change of times. Globalization capitalism and the unprecedented growth of wealth, as well as inequality, have led to a “paradigm shift”. The question now is how do we prepare the economy to be less carbon dependent and how do we narrow the inequality gap, he estimates. “This world we are entering is different. It is not a world of global expansion like the world it was in the past 30 years but it is much more straightforward and complex. Economics must change the way it operates.”
The director of IESE is convinced that he will do it “because the ingenuity of human beings is so great. We will make it happen, not without much work and important modifications, such as those in which we live today where we are short on supplies and do not know how to organize the transmission of energy well … but where we go we will be Much better. I am very optimistic.
Also with regard to the correction of inequality. Heukamp believes the answer will come from more fair taxation and the introduction of a minimum wage for society… “There is a reversal going on. We don’t know very well how to do it, but I’m also optimistic and I think an agreement will be reached to solve it.”
The pandemic has also brought about changes in leadership. “Before, there was already awareness that the world was progressing very well economically, but there were problems: climate change and growing social inequality. With the pandemic, there is much more awareness, because of the suffering we have experienced and the difficulties in managing the uncertainty. It has helped In raising awareness not only that these issues are important but urgent. And they are at the top of the CEO’s agenda much more than ever. Entrepreneurs have realized that there are people who don’t want to work for companies that don’t take these issues seriously,” he explains. .
These are global challenges of concern to government, civil society, and businesses. Solutions will pass through everyone’s cooperation. In his opinion, the business world should be the driver for them.
However, these companies fuel inequality by chasing profits at any cost and astronomical salaries for their managers. How should they help reverse this? According to the IESE director, companies should, first of all, help create wealth and “also be aware of the people who work for them, not only as workers but as individuals and in their family environment, with affinity in a treatment”. In addition, they have to worry about how they can be part of the solution with suppliers, customers and society rather than leaving it in the hands of the government or other institutions.
“The benefits are important to the company’s health, but that doesn’t mean they are the most important,” he estimates. Heukamp looks at entrepreneurs who, when starting their business, are trying to solve a real problem to say: “We have to make sure that this very natural concern of the entrepreneur is not lost when the company grows. It is necessary and has always been. The pandemic has demonstrated, with an awareness of the fragility of Personal health, public life, professional relationships, that business profits are not everything.”
Despite this, the salaries of CEOs for Ibex 35 companies are 86 times higher than those of their workforce. Is the distance too big? Without wanting to get into appraisals, Heukamp asserts, “There must be a fair relationship between the salaries of managers and their teams and combined with idealism and transparency. There is no magic indicator. But you have to rule by principles of fairness and treat your employees well. This ratio between the best and the worst is increasing, At least in the United States, and the reason why it is not well understood.”
New Courses: Sustainability and Emotion Management
As a result of the health crisis, companies postponed training sessions for their employees and this translated into a 15% drop in IESE revenue in 2020. But now its director is seeing a revival in executive programs, both in open and ad-hoc formats. “I have the teams on the ropes. There is a problem with the logistics management after the reactivation,” he admits. 2022 will be very similar or even better than the year before the pandemic. “But if the coronavirus continues to recover, as in Europe, and there are travel restrictions, it could end up affecting us.”
Companies are turning to IESE to address new issues after the health crisis: how to manage sustainability or aspects of leadership such as managing virtual teams, ‘that will stay in the future’, and managing the emotional burden of the post-covid workforce, are key.
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