2:30 p.m. Pacific standard time
Leadership matters: what’s on the minds of leading CEOs,
moderated by Alan Murray, Editor, FORTUNE magazine
Leadership matters: what’s on the minds of leading CEOs, moderated by Alan Murray, Editor, FORTUNE magazine
Face the brutal truths
Wide-ranging discussion was an understatement in “Leadership Matters: what’s on the minds of leading CEOs.” Throughout the conversation with three leading CEOs—Jennifer Morgan of SAP, Irwin Simon of The Hain Celestial Group and Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co.—one element arose again and again: the importance of honesty and transparency.
When Morgan CEO of SAP, she held an “amnesty meeting,” where she asked the leadership team: “Tell me what’s really going on. Where is the business really today?” She wanted to keep them from telling her what they thought she wanted to hear, “Because if you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t fix it.”
Simon added that in an environment where people are scared, they won’t bring you bad news. “We’re in business. If we’re not having bumps of bad news, we’re not in business. And bad news is… doesn’t get better with age.”
It’s just as important to be honest with your stakeholders, according to Bergh. “The most important thing a CEO can do is to confront the brutal facts.”
But hardest thing of all, said Irwin, is to look in the mirror and “be honest with yourself. You can’t BS yourself.”
Alan Murray is the editor of Fortune, overseeing the magazine, its conferences and its digital properties. Prior to assuming this post in August 2014, Murray was president of the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. He was previously at The Wall Street Journal, where he served as Deputy Managing Editor and Executive Editor, Online. Murray spent a decade as the Journal’s Washington Bureau Chief, during which the bureau won three Pulitzer Prizes; and he subsequently served as CNBC’s Washington Bureau Chief, co-hosting “Capital Report with Alan Murray and Gloria Borger.” At various times, he wrote the Journal’s weekly Business and Political Capital columns, and won numerous awards for his writing on economics and international issues. He is the author of four books, including The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management, Revolt in the Boardroom, and Showdown at Gucci Gulch, coauthored with Jeffrey Birnbaum. Mr. Murray received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina, where he was a John Motley Morehead scholar. He earned a master’s degree in economics at the London School of Economics. In 2005, he completed the Stanford Executive Program. Mr. Murray lives in Greenwich, CT.
President & CEO
Levi Strauss & Co.
Chip Bergh is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.), a leading global apparel and consumer goods company with sales in more than 110 countries. Bergh is a strategic leader with proven ability to build and grow brand powerhouses, bring new products to the mass market, develop innovative marketing campaigns, and capitalize on digital platforms to drive brand awareness. Prior to joining LS&Co., Bergh was Group President, Global Male Grooming, for The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). During his 28-year career at P&G, he served in a number of leadership positions with increasing levels of complexity and scope.
President - North America
SAP America, Inc.
Jennifer Morgan is President of SAP North America and is responsible for leading the business in the region, serving more than 89,000 customers in 25 industries across the United States and Canada. Previously, Jennifer was President of the Regulated Industries market unit for SAP U.S., which encompasses federal, state and local government, as well as the higher education, aerospace and defense, health care, and utilities industries. She has more than 20 years of experience in developing, selling and implementing enterprise-wide solutions for customers. Before joining SAP, she served in a variety of positions for Siebel Systems and Accenture. Jennifer is a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
Irwin D. Simon has been the President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. since he founded the company in 1993. Hain Celestial, headquartered in Lake Success, NY, is a leading organic and natural products company in North America and Europe committed to providing “A Healthier Way of Life™.” With approximately 6,000 employees worldwide and 30 manufacturing facilities, Hain Celestial generated US$2.2 billion in net sales for the year ended June 30, 2014. He serves as a Director on the boards of Jarden Corporation and MDC Partners Inc.