The Global Business Environment

Meeting the Challenges, third edition

by Janet Morrison

Meet the CEO videos

About these videos
In each of these five video interviews, Janet Morrison, the author of The Global Business Environment (3rd edition, Palgrave 2011) talks to business figures about the companies they lead, the industries they work in, and their own career trajectories. Each interview is between 10 and 20 minutes long, and the introductions and chapter headings below are provided to help instructors and students maximise the usefulness of the videos.
Annette Thomas
Annette Thomas, the CEO of Macmillan Publishing, heads a large global company in an industry which has become highly globalized. She sees technology as playing an important role in this process. Digitalization is transforming publishing, first occurring in the area of scientific publication (which was her background), and now permeating other areas of publishing. She feels that these developments will actually make it easier for the company to adapt to local markets. She cites the strong growth in Latin American countries as creating new opportunities. Macmillan is a private, family-owned company, and Annette feels that this structure can be an advantage, as the company can take a longer term view of its goals and stakeholders, in contrast to a public company, which can face pressures in terms of short-term financial performance.

0.01: About Macmillan Publishers Ltd
2.53: Macmillan Publishers as a private, globalized company, in an industry that has become quite consolidated. Discussion of the impact of globalization and consolidation
5.21: The benefits of being a privately owned company
6.19: The challenges and opportunities of digitalization in the publishing industry
10.17: The impact of the 2008-2009 financial crisis on Macmillan Publishers
11.48: New and growing markets for Macmillan Publishers (India and China)
13.45: Annette’s recommendations for students looking for employment (the importance of being ‘tech-savvy’)

Melanie Marshall and Suzi Bergman
Melanie Marshall and Suzi Berman started up their company, Storksak, in 2005, offering a product which filled a gap they had identified in the market – that for well-made bags designed for parents. Melanie specializes in the design, and Suzi, the commercial side of the business. They stress the importance of a good product, a sound business plan and financial backing as essential for starting up a business. Melanie and Suzi first sought to manufacture their products in Europe, specifically the UK or Italy, but these attempts did not work out. In the UK, this was mainly because of lack of the relevant manufacturing skills. When these attempts failed, they went to China, where they found the relevant skills, and have used these Chinese business partners ever since. They stress they did not go to China just to reduce costs, but to find the relevant skills. Suzi has found that her legal background has been very helpful in many aspects of the business, from relations with manufacturers to contracts with distributors, and she stresses the importance of intellectual property to the business.

0.01: The history of Storksak
2.10: Financing a start-up company: Melanie and Suzi’s experience
4.35: The value of a legal background in business
8.20: The production of Storksak bags: experiences in the UK, Italy and China
11.06: Intellectual property issues in the design industry
14.00: The evolution of a new brand: Marshall Bergman 15.27: Key markets and emerging strategy for Storksak
17.49: Balancing business and family life
20.19: Advice for start-up companies

Paul Burns
Professor Paul Burns’s research focuses on entrepreneurship. He emphasizes that for budding entrepreneurs, a business plan is essential, but finance is perhaps the most crucial concern. Obtaining finance became worse following the credit crunch, and he sees the role of government in providing financial help and incentives for SMEs as essential. As the dean of Bedfordshire Business School, Professor Burns is concerned about the place of UK business schools in an increasingly globalized educational scene. In particular, he doubts the wisdom of the government’s policy of shifting university financing towards higher fees charged to students. He is also concerned that British universities, which have long had a good reputation for quality, are now facing competition from emerging markets, where considerable resources are being directed towards higher education.

Part 1 (entrepreneurship):
0.01: About Paul’s research into entrepreneurship and SMEs
1.02: The difficulties that entrepreneurs face in starting their businesses
5.09: The ongoing impact of the credit crunch and financial crisis of 2008-2009 on SMEs and entrepreneurs
6.37: The role of banks (and especially part-nationalized banks) in lending to SMEs
10.19: Paul’s recommendations for budding entrepreneurs
Part two of Paul's video
0.01: How Paul feels the government proposals for higher fees in UK universities will impact the higher education industry
5.34: Britain’s place in the globalized market for higher education
7.46: Corporate Social Responsibility in institutions of higher education: the lessons of the relationship between Libya and the London School of Economics

Jack Waley-Cohen
Jack Waley-Cohen’s company, Lingo24, is a translation service company which aims to provide a high-quality service efficiently and quickly, mainly to business clients. It was founded by Christian Arno in 2001. Although English is thought of as the global language, Jack stresses that the need for translation is actually growing. For example, people are more comfortable using internet retailers in their own language. An aspect of Lingo 24’s growth has been that it benefited from the financial crisis of 2008. It had been focusing on its UK business, but after the financial crisis, looked to expand in other markets, which have been growing successfully since then. Lingo24 has set up operations in some interesting locations – New Zealand, to take advantage of the different time zone for English-language services; Romania, to serve the European market; and Panama, to serve the US. It is now setting up in the Philippines, for the Asian market.

0.01: About Lingo24 and Jack’s role as Operations Director
1.04: The background to the company’s global expansion
2.25: The need for translation services in the age of English as a ‘global language’; the growing importance of the foreign language internet
4.57: The challenges and limitations of machine translation
7.33: Recruiting freelance translators
9.19: Keys to the success of Lingo24: the importance of ‘yes’!
10.27: The effects of the financial crisis on Lingo24
11.53: The background to Lingo24’s global locations
15.17: The importance of efficiency and cost effectiveness
16.01: Jack’s advice for people starting up their own businesses

David McGarry
David, a senior partner in one of the ‘big 4’ global accounting firms, KPMG, is well placed to assess the impacts of globalization and the financial crisis on international business. He cites the rapid rise of global financial flows, facilitated by technological advances and the low cost of borrowing, as factors in the years preceding the financial crisis of 2008. He notes that differing national regulatory setups have been influential (for example, the attractions of Ireland). And he feels that these differences are still relevant. Although global regulation is called for in theory, in practice, countries still see national regulation as important, and still a source of competitive advantage. Appreciating the concern of companies to reduce their exposure to tax where legally possible, he acknowledges that moral issues are becoming more important. He points to the fact that governments are looking ever more carefully at taxation policies in the context of large deficits in public finances.

0.01: About KPMG and David’s role in the company
0.42: Understanding the rapid globalization of financial services
2.24: The impact of technology on financial services
3.31: The internationalization of companies; the floating of international companies on the London Stock Exchange
5.52: The importance of private investment in developing economies (especially India and China)
9.16: Understanding the roots of the 2008 financial crisis
12.58: Regulatory failings in the financial crisis: lessons learnt?
16.00: Offshore financial services
19.18: Moral and legal issues in offshore tax management

The next step: meet more CEOs online

A number of media organisations have their own ‘Meet the CEO’ style videos, and some of these feature business leaders profiled in The Global Business Environment.
  • Financial Times ‘View from the Top’ Series:
    This series includes over 90 video interviews with CEOs from a diverse range of industries and countries. Readers of The Global Business Environment will find the interviews with Paul Bulcke of Nestle (profiled in Chapter 2) and Paul Polman of Unilever (profiled in Chapter 12) particularly interesting.
  • BBC ‘Start-Up Stories’ series:
    Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon (profiled in Chapter 10) is one of over 20 business leaders interviewed in this series, which focuses on the early stages of a number of innovative companies. Mike Lynch of Autonomy (profiled in Chapter 8) is also interviewed in this BBC series.
  • Bloomberg ‘CEO Spotlight’ series:
    This video series features a number of CEOs discussing the business environment, and is updated frequently The CEOs of two of the companies discussed in The Global Business Environment are interviewed in this series: Robert Dudley of BP (see Chapter 13) and Alexander Medvedev of Gazprom (discussed in Chapter 7).
  • EuroBusiness Media ‘CEO-Direct’ series:
    EuroBusiness Media’s video series includes an interview with Ian Cheshire of Kingfisher PLC (profiled in Chapter 3), alongside many other European CEOs.
Many thanks to Alistair Brock for his work in editing these videos.