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Checking in with 3 influential CEOs on the future of stakeholder capitalism

June 15, 2022, 9:40 PM UTC
Nasdaq CEO, Adena Friedman, Levi's CEO, Chip Bergh, and Just Capital CEO, Martin Whittaker.
Simon Dawson—Bloomberg/Getty Images; Slaven Vlasic—Getty Images; Christopher Goodney—Bloomberg/Getty Images

To celebrate the 100th episode of Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast, co-hosts Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt checked in with three past guests for updates on the initiatives they discussed the last time they were on the show—and to share some perspective on how strongly the business world is embracing the idea of stakeholder capitalism. The episode features conversations with Levi Strauss CEO Charles Bergh, NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman, and JUST Capital CEO Martin Whittaker.

Listen to the episode or read the full transcript below.


Alan MurrayLeadership Next is powered by the folks at Deloitte, who, like me, are super focused on how CEOs can lead in the context of disruption and evolving societal expectations. Welcome to Leadership Next, the podcast about the changing rules of business leadership. I’m Alan Murray. I’m here with my amazing co-host, Ellen McGirt. And Ellen, do you know how many of these we’ve done?

Ellen McGirt: Alan, tell me. I think I know but…tell me…tell me…tell me.

Murray: 100!

McGirt: My god, Alan, what an achievement. Our first episode published in March 2020, right before…

Murray: …the big pandemic. Yeah. And it’s really important to remember that because when we conceived to doing this podcast, we had no idea what we were in for, had no idea that the pandemic was going to hit with the force that it hit. And we’ve really sort of been coterminous with the pandemic for the last two-and-a-half years, which has been a blessing in disguise because it really gave us an opportunity to have very candid conversations with leaders about how they were dealing with one of the most bracing and disorienting episodes of their careers.

McGirt: Hundred percent. Hundred percent. And through all of it, I think we’ve managed to stick to the goal that you laid out for our listeners in that very first episode. Let me go back to your original words because I think they’re important here. [Quoting Murray] “My goal here on Leadership Next

Murray: [Recording of Murray’s voice] …to introduce you to some of these leaders who are redefining the role of business and the role of business leaders in today’s world. We’re going to dig into what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, how they’re doing it, and we’re going to ask: How much of an impact are they really having?

McGirt: Wow, like in real time we did that.

Murray: Ellen, it warms my heart to hear you read my words. But we did do it in real time. An amazing array of guests join us over the past two and a half years, starting with Satya Nadella [from Microsoft] right up to, I think, Doug McMillon was 98 or 99, from Walmart, our regular listeners have gotten to know that each week, they’re going to hear from a different CEO with a different set of perspectives. So today, to mark our 100th episode, we wanted to do something a little bit different. We’ve gone back to three of our previous guests to get them to talk about what’s changed over that two-and-a-half-year period.

McGirt: Which was wonderful. And there were a couple of goals here. One, we wanted to get an update on the initiatives that they had underway when we spoke last. We really wanted to hear about the progress they’ve made on some of these important issues at this really challenging time. And the second goal, Alan, really goes back to what you said in that first episode about accountability. We’re hoping to gain some perspective on how strongly the business world is embracing this idea of stakeholder capitalism that we talk about every week. So you ready to jump in?

Murray: Oh, let’s do it, Ellen. So one of our early guests on Leadership Next, Ellen, was Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss. And we’re really fortunate to have him back for the 100th episode. Chip, Thanks for joining.

Charles Bergh: Oh, thank you very much. It’s an honor to be here for number 100.

Murray: We’ve learned so much over the last two-and-a-half years of doing this thing and, you know, one of the things I’m really dying to ask you about because I feel like we’ve reached a moment where there’s starting to be some significant pushback from business. And here’s what I hear from CEOs and I need to get you to respond to this. Most CEOs today seem to have bought on to the basic notion that companies have to be more organized around people and have human values and that means they need to have values, things they believe in, things they will stand up for.

And you’ve been a great example with that: what you’ve done on guns, what you’ve done on voting, and what you’ve done on DEI in a number of areas. But at the same time CEOs are saying but please, please please don’t get me caught up in a political argument. You know, I don’t want to be where Disney’s Bob Chapek was in Florida. I don’t want to be where our political system is having these endlessly polarizing debates over tough issues. And I think part of the problem that we’re facing Chip is, people don’t know how to do both. How do you stand up for values, like getting automatic machine guns out of the hands of kids, or getting everybody you possibly can to go out and vote without also finding yourself in the middle of a very polarizing political debate?

Bergh: Yeah, it’s, it is I think the topic of the moment with CEOs these days. Unfortunately, the world has become so polarized that virtually anything is turning into a political issue. And that is the challenge. But I believe that the role of business business has a purpose to play beyond just making a dollar and returning it to shareholders. And so I think the fundamental challenge is how do you take positions or take stands on things that are hard to argue with? And, you know, that becomes the difficulty. I mean, you know, let’s take one as an example: for voting. You know, all along what I’ve said is, every person in America who is eligible to vote should be able to vote without any extraordinary barriers being put in their way. And anybody who’s not eligible to vote should not be able to vote. That seems to be something that everybody ought to be able to agree to.

Murray: You would think so.

Bergh: And yet, you know, people come out of the woodwork to argue with that. You know, one other quick example, you know, we, after the George Floyd murder, and Ellen knows this very well, you know, we took a number of very public positions of what we were going to do to make progress and publicly said that this is probably one of my biggest failures as a CEO over the last 11 years is that we hadn’t made the kind of progress we needed to. So we made a number of very, very specific commitments.

We had a shareholder proposal this past year on our proxy from a super conservative organization, basically saying that Diversity Equity and Inclusion training was inherently racist, and that we should stop, that asked the Board of Directors to stop us from doing it. That went down in flames. It had less than 1% of support, but you know, it, it obviously required a lot of effort for us to you know, make sure that we got people to understand the issue. And again, it’s unfortunate because many of these issues, the center can largely agree on what’s the right thing to do. That the problem is the 20 or 30% of America that is on the two extremes that has consumed the media waves and turned every argument into a highly politicized argument.

McGirt: I saw that proxy resolution. I’m glad it went down in flames. But now it’d be a good time to update us on your DEI initiatives. When we talked in the fall of 2020, you were very much launching your journey. You were very thoughtful about what hadn’t workedwhere you were surprised by some of the lived experiences of folks working at Levi’s. How has that been?

Bergh: Well, I would say it’s a journey and we are not at the finish line to be clear, and I don’t know if there ever is a finish line to be honest. But but I think we’ve made you know, candidly, very good progress. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we just released our first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report. One of the commitments that we made was that every single year, we would publish our diversity, equity and inclusion, data around ethnicity and representation at all levels of management here in the U.S. and globally, as well as gender diversity as well.

Our board is more diverse today. That was a step in the right direction. Our Black employee group has gone from 5.6 to 7.3%. That’s a step in the right direction. We’re still low representation, which is a 13%. And Latinx has gone from nine-and-a-half to eleven-and-a half percent here in the U.S. and that’s just in the last year. My leadership team now is more women than it is men. The total company we’re 58% women, so that’s really, really good. And we’ve really put a focus on our pipeline. We have ramped up our diversity, equity and inclusion pipeline, working with historically black colleges and universities. We today just started our summer intern program with a cohort of summer interns here in San Francisco. It is 78% BIPOC, which is awesome. And this is the pipeline that feeds into our new hire pool. We typically offer about 70 to 80% of our interns and the vast majority of them accept and come back so you know that’s why I said this is it is a journey. We got to build it but we’re making good progress, but it requires no real commitment.

The other thing that has happened is the board has put a component of senior management’s long term compensation based on our diversity, equity and inclusion results so you know, good progress, but still quite a bit. of work to be done. So it is one of our top five priorities as a company. And I was asked a question about a month ago, what’s going to happen when it falls off of the top five priority? And I said, it ain’t falling off, because this is going to be one of my legacies when I leave. We are going to be a much more diverse company. And it’s going to make us a better company. I mean, fundamentally, we’re doing this because there’s a really compelling business case. It’ll make us perform better in the marketplace. Full stop.

Murray: Chip, give us an update on guns. I mean, you were an early mover in that area as well. We’ve had a couple of very high profile shootings, by teenagers using automatic weapons. What can the business community do to help here?

Bergh: The first thing I want to say is this is all about trying to reduce or mitigate the gun violence epidemic that we have in this country. I worry when I hear people shorthand by saying guns or gun control because that all of a sudden gets the NRA coming out of the woodwork and and you know, this is not about repealing the Second Amendment or anything like that. But we took a position on this we kind of got into it because our store managers were concerned about people walking into their stores with weapons. And we unfortunately had a weapon go off in one of our stores back in, I don’t remember if it was 2016 or 2017. The individual shot himself in the foot but that boy could have gone into one of my employees or could have gone in or could have hit a shopper in the store or child in the store. It could have been much more tragic than it turned out.

Bergh: So we openly posted a letter respectfully requesting gun owners to just leave their weapons at home when they come to shop at Levi’s and that kind of dragged us into it. And then after the Parkland shooting, we said this is one of society’s biggest issues in this country. It is a top two issue with young people today. And you know our target consumers are young people—an 18 to 25 year old—and they grew up with gun violence in schools. They grew up during lockdown drills and they grew up you know when the lockdown drill happened not knowing whether it was a drill or something for real. So after the Parkland shooting, we decided to take a bolder stand on this. And we put our money where our mouth was we created a $1 million fund. We called the safer tomorrow fund. We’ve worked with a number of nonprofit organizations like Giffords and Brady and Sandy Hook Promise through the years, as well as a number of student led organizations.

And there’s been quite a bit of progress made at the local levels and the state levels in putting common sense laws in place to get the guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t own guns, whether it was a red flag laws or background checks. You know, at the federal level, we’ve been stalemated in the Senate for years and as we speak right now, I know that the Republicans and the Democrats are trying to come up with something that will take legislation and put some laws in place that hopefully will make places of safety, places that should be safe: schools, synagogues, movie theaters, grocery stores, you know, these are places that you take for granted as being safe and unfortunately they are shooting grounds today.

Murray: Chip, here’s a big question for you though. You know, it looks like we may be heading towards an economic slowdown if not a recession. It, you know more often than not when the Fed has to go through one of these tightening episodes, it overcorrect and you end up with a negative economy. And my question is, is all this stakeholder focus going to be put aside when that happens? Our business leaders gonna say I gotta attend to the bottom line here. We’ll come back to stakeholders when the economy is healthy again, do you worry about that at

Bergh: I don’t worry about it in our case, because it’s who we are. I think the combination of the pushback that some businesses are getting and the potential excuse that I’ve got to attend to the bottom line could cause some to pull back. But you know, for us, and this isn’t about me to be really clear this is about the responsibility of a chief executive officer at Levi Strauss and Company, this is who we are as a company. And I am just part of the legacy of CEOs before me who weren’t afraid to take stands on important issues. And my expectation is my successor will do the same thing at some point in time. You know, you can you could argue during the pandemic everybody had that same excuse. And what happened, this is rose to the occasion, you know, we doubled down, we doubled down you know, and I think a number of business leaders really stepped up to the pandemic. So you know, sometimes when the going gets tough, the tough get going.


Murray: I’m Alan Murray, and I’m here with my good friend Joe Ucuzoglu, the CEO of Deloitte, US, and the sponsor of the Leadership Next podcast series, which has been running for 100 episodes. Now in an amazing period of time in the history of business. Thank you for your support.

Joe Ucuzoglu: Alan, it’s a real pleasure for all of us to be a part of this, and little did we know when we initially architected the concept that we were entering into what is proven to be one of the most challenging and transformative couple of years in, frankly, the history of business and society, and it’s a pretty special endeavor to have been able to chronicle all of this real time.

Murray: Joe, always so great to talk to you. An amazing two-and-a-half years we’ve learned so much I think we should give an MBA to anybody who listened to the whole series. Appreciate your support and sponsorship talent.

Ucuzoglu: Alan, it’s been a privilege for all of us at Deloitte to be an integral part of it.

Murray:  The privilege is mine. Thanks so much, Joe.


McGirt: Okay, now let’s go to Adena Friedman. She’s the president and CEO of NASDAQ. Alan, you weren’t able to join me for this conversation, but we both agree that would be great to hear what transpired with the corporate board diversity rules she was trying to pass when she was on the show last.

I think my big takeaway from the conversation was that she was one of the most prepared conversation partners I’ve had a chance to talk with about what she was trying to do, specifically because the backlash to any kind of major power shift can be so profound. And my big takeaway is that be prepared and make sure everyone around you is on exactly the same page and she really delivered that.

Murray: Yeah, and she did get a backlash including one of her predecessors of head of the NASDAQ who wrote a very public piece in the, I think it was in the Wall Street Journal, pushing back against this idea, but she, she persevered. She stuck with it and it may has made real progress as a result.

McGirt: So now let’s talk about the board diversity roll, which has a wonderful outcome. When we caught up last time you had proposed the rule change but it had not been approved and it was finally approved in August. So first of all, congratulations.

Adena Friedman: Yeah, thank you very much. I really appreciate that.

McGirt: It must have been  day of celebration. I know it was a lot of work.

Friedman: It was definitely a great day for us.

McGirt: So can you remind us what the rule actually says?

Friedman: Yeah, so basically, what we’ve decided to do is really rely upon the disclosure economy that we operate in here in the United States. In the U.S. we really do rely upon disclosures from companies to guide investors to give investors access to information they need to make an informed decision. And on the back of that, we decided to ask every company that lists on NASDAQ to supply a table that demonstrates the diversity characteristics of their board based on self described information, and it’s anonymized but it does give investors a solid understanding of the diversity characteristics of a board.

On the back of that then we also asked companies over the next four years to have at least one woman and one other underrepresented minority or LGBTQ member of their board or explain to investors why not. So again, it’s about disclosure. And our rationale for that is NASDAQ is what we call a self regulatory organization and SRO. We establish rules that are the gates to coming and listing on NASDAQ. We get those rules approved by the SEC. But the rules are really geared towards investor protection. And there are some studies that are out there that demonstrate that with boards that have at least one diverse number on their board have better outcomes in terms of fewer instances of financial fraud, and as well as better financial performance. But I would really focus on that notion that having diversity on the board helps in many respects, create diversity of thinking, diversity of opinions. And I think at the end of the day has had a positive effect on investor protection. And as a result of that, we’ve just chosen to have this as part of our governance roles.

McGirt: So has there been a positive impact so far? I subscribe to a service that shows me the board makeup of NASDAQ listed companies or aspirational companies, and I saw a change immediately, so before we get to the backlash, let’s start talking about the positive change that you’ve seen.

Friedman: Yeah, well, this year first of all, is kind of the benchmark here because this is the first year that every company that lists on NASDAQ needs to provide that table to investors and they can do that through their proxy or through their annual statement or on their website. So they have until August eighth to complete and provide the table to investors. And so this is kind of the benchmark here, then over the next now, three years from now, then they’ll really start to look at how they what the composition of their board is and how it’s improving. I would say I agree with you that as we propose the rule and as we started talking to companies about the role, it built up a sense of awareness and interest, and frankly, real conviction around having that as being something that they want to focus on in board composition. So I’m sure anecdotally we’ve heard that there’s been some really good progress, but right now we’re really focusing on just establishing a baseline.

McGirt: So let’s talk about the resistance. I know that there was some resistance right when it was first proposed, but it’s been pretty serious. And one example in December 2021 17 State Attorneys General said the rule was unconstitutional. And they also called it odious and crude and all that other stuff. And I just know from general reporting within corporate life, it is a serious headwind for a majority of dominant culture executives to feel like they’re being replaced. In fact, I was at an event with chief diversity officers and they reported that advancing certain groups of professionals will mean fewer opportunity for others, being themselves, you just, you just made a you rolled your eyes I understand. You’ve heard this a million times before, but that’s what we’re up against here. How do you respond to that backlash? And how serious do you think it’s going to be?

Friedman: Well, first of all, we really focus on the process of getting the rule approved, and that process includes a common period with the SEC. We had over 200 comments come in and about 85% of the comments are positive or neutral. So we felt that we had a really, really strong support from key constituents that either we’re going to be impacted by it or that were going to benefit from the information. And so, of course, we’re in a democracy and I actually am a huge believer in respectful debate. I really am. I think it’s a it’s a core underpinning of this country. So I respect the fact that people have different opinions about it. And they brought up some concerns. We had to write a very detailed response to all the concerns that were raised. We provided them support for, you know, what our case was, and we made some minor modifications to it to accommodate, for instance, smaller companies and smaller boards. But in the end of the day, we got the support we needed from the SEC, and that was important.

McGirt: So you’re ready.

Friedman: Absolutely. Absolutely.

McGirt: So, I want to switch to the other ultimate stakeholder challenge that we’re facing, which is getting to a net zero economy, and I know that you’re a capital markets true believer, which is great, but you’re you’re pulling together some really interesting ideas about where this can happen in the marketplace. So let’s establish the sort of the foundation here when it comes to the carbon economy. What is NASDAQ’s role in all of this?

Friedman: I look at as a three-legged stool. One is really underwriting and supporting innovation, because the innovations that are really going to get us to a net zero world probably haven’t even been created yet. There’s probably a lot of foundational elements that have been created. But the role of capital markets is to fund innovation. So that innovation and those new technologies are going to be a core underpinning of getting us to a netzero world.

The second is making sure that those companies that are already in the energy space, those companies also have an opportunity to innovate. They’re well capitalized, and they’re well established. So helping them through and guiding them through that transition with capital and giving them also the benefit of investors kind of pointing to allowing them to show progress against their own transition, I think that’s also the second leg of the stool.

And then the third leg is carbon removal. So you know, yes, we are going to be in an emissions economy for a long time. But there are technologies that have been created that actually suck carbon out of the air, they put it into a safe storage place, and they basically remove it from the environment. Those technologies are also a critical part of it, but you have to have a price for that. Right. So what we’ve actually we’ve acquired a majority stake in Puro, which is a carbon removal marketplace that establishes a market price for carbon removals and allows companies who are trying to meet their net zero obligations to buy into those credits, as well as to buy future credits.

So if you’re giving a forward commitment on a [hard to hear[, if you go suck that carbon out of the air, we will pay you for that now and over the next five years. That gives them a funding source that they can then go borrow against to go and actually increase their supply and make it so that they can become a big part of that three legged stool. So our belief is that it requires all three of those things and the capital markets sit in the center of all of it, and that’s that’s why we were really committed to this as part of our strategy.

Murray: Now we’ve come to our final guest, Martin Whittaker of JUST Capital. JUST capital was an organization set up a few years ago to try and both determine what people expected of the companies that serve them and also which ones were doing a good job. Providing society with what it was looking for. So JUST Capital has been a first mover in this new era of stakeholder capitalism, and it’s great to have Martin back.

McGirt: Yeah, their data they collect is really interesting. We’re going to dig into that right now. And little known fact about Martin’s first episode, he joined us back in April of 2020. That was our sixth episode, but it was my first one. So this was a really nice trip down memory lane for me.

Murray: I can’t believe I had to do five of them by myself. I didn’t realize there was ever a time when you weren’t here doing it with me.

McGirt: It was a dark, dark time, but now we’re together. All right, let’s hear from Martin. We spoke to him Friday afternoon and he was hanging out in his backyard. You might hear some birds or traffic in the background it was it was lovely to see him work from home in nature. So enjoy.

Murray: You know, it’s it’s been almost three years since the Business Roundtable put out its revised purpose of a corporation that ended the era of shareholder primacy and said companies have to pay attention to multiple stakeholders, their employees, their customers, the communities they live in the plan that they inhabit. Three years on, you know, you study this very closely, more closely than anybody I know, three years on, has anything really changed?

Martin Whittaker: Has anything really changed? Well, a lot has changed. Nothing’s changed. I would say the macro environment, there’s sort of obviously COVID, George Floyd, economic shutdown, economic semi reopening, inflation, and now what looks like you know, very dark clouds on the economic horizon that has, I think, fundamentally shifted how business thinks about its role in society. I mean, just like the response to COVID alone, I think showed a lot of business leaders. What could be done when when business really puts its mind to it. So I think there’s been a lot of change there.

So I think that that whole intensification has changed in terms of business performance. We were actually looking at JUST Capital’s universe of companies. We’ve seen a lot of changes. We’ve seen over 200 companies lift wages over a three year period. We’ve seen, I think, a tripling of companies disclosing what they’re doing on pay equity. We’ve seen double digit increase in women on boards and executive comp tied to ESG criteria and the advancement of people of color in the workplace and to senior positions. So as soon as I think there’s been a lot of measurable progress there, you phrased it I had a smile on my face because you said they announced the end of shareholder. I was sort of struck me as as I see me being ironic about that. But it struck me as a as a real question like, do we really think that’s happened and I have to say on that, probably no.

I also sense that the seriousness of the debate right now, Alan, I’ve never seen it, this just sort of intense backlash against stakeholder capitalism, the woke capitalism movement, the backlash against ESG I mean, I don’t think I would have predicted that three years ago. And I think that sort of says okay, this game is real. This is not just sort of a nice conference subject matter, or an interesting topic for a podcast. This is like serious business now. And so, you know, I think that’s good. I welcome that. I think ESG does have a long way to go.

Murray: Let me ask you what has to happen now to make the promise of stakeholder capitalism a reality?

Whittaker: Well, I mean, my view is the BRT statement needs to be built on and American business leaders who signed that need to create a blueprint for what does that actually mean? Because one of the things I see is really when you say, stakeholder capitalism, it means 10 things to 10 different people. And so you have this argument about what it is without even a common understanding what it is you’re arguing about. So I think, you know, we’ve got to try and you know, shareholder primacy shareholder value creation, which is obviously still the single biggest, that’s the North Star for any board or any CEO. Pretty clear. It’s an equation you can actually you know, you can write that down. It’s crystal.

Stakeholder capitalism is so fuzzy. So I would love the BRT or somebody to step forward with just one click down on okay, what does creating value for workers actually mean? What is the playbook to that? You know, in American football playbook, it’s not one play. It’s a sequence of things that could happen of options given individual game circumstance, just like business. So what’s the playbook? What are the things that companies can do to create value for their stakeholders? How do we measure that? What data do we need in order to measure that? And then what’s the business case then we can start to really get to grips with how does this augment shareholder value? Not somehow in some people’s minds, you know, eroded, or we’re playing some kind of zero sum game.

McGirt: So speaking of data, let’s dig into the racial equity tracker. Where are we, as a cohort of large companies on the commitments that we made post George Floyd? And and what does that look like going forward? Because it seems to me that the picture is pretty mixed.

Whittaker: Exactly. So the call for racial equity tracker was something we’ve created, it sort of reflected an earlier tracker that we did on COVID when we began to measure how large corporations were responding to the pandemic, across different factors. So that was very effective for us. And a lot of people started just to use the data Ellen’s point rightly identified. So the idea here is you know, we’ve made a commitment as an organization because when you poll the American people, it’s pretty clear that a vast majority of people believe that companies should do more on equity, they should be promoting a more diverse and equitable workplace.

And so the question was, well, what does that mean? How do companies actually do that? So we partnered with policy, Lincoln FSG, two other groups to create a blueprint for what companies could do, which is work that’s going very well. And we stood up this tracker, so we’re measuring for the 100 largest publicly traded corporations I should say, across 23 metrics in six dimensions of racial equity, so anti-discrimination policies, pay equity, community investments, and so on and so forth. And to answer your question, we’re all over the place. So in some areas around, let’s say, anti-discrimination policies and our percentage of companies responding to that is very high. You know, obviously it’s there’s sort of now you’re getting into what’s legal and illegal territory but companies can have they can go beyond what’s minimally required by law, of course, so we you know, we try to track that when it comes to pay equity. You got less than half the companies that disclose doing anything, so, you know, that’s okay. I think we would like to see companies just progress, just as not here to sort of say you’re just an unjust, your good and your bad. We’re sort of like, okay, here’s the playbook. Here’s what you can do. Here’s how you benchmark yourself. Here’s how many companies for example, are disclosing their internal promotion, data by race and ethnicity. Turns out not many, I think 7% So if you want to do that, here’s what you could do, and you know, you’d be a leader in that area. So that’s really what the track is for, to try and be a resource for companies to inspire and hopefully guide them on that journey.

McGirt: Imagine it, episode 100 in the can.

Murray: Such an amazing two and a half years, you know, when you think about first of all, there was a technology revolution that was already underway that was accelerated by the pandemic. Then on top of that you had the social justice explosion that CEOs got involved in in a way they had never gotten involved before. And then, in the end, a complete rethinking of of work of office work of how we get things done together and what purpose does the office serve and where we do it and when we do it. So it’s really been a period of profound change.

McGirt: It really has, and I think my favorite part is talking to people who are in positions of real power and influence, who had to think out loud with us. They just didn’t know what to do. There were so many variables. There were so many issues, there were so many priorities. Nobody needs a CEO not to know what to do. But the idea that you need to think through these big issues with your stakeholders to be able to share that thought process with us I thought was incredibly valuable and generous to this was a tough period of time to have a microphone thrown in your face. Tell us what you’re doing. Tell us why you’re doing it and tell us what impact you think you’re gonna have. At a time of such change.

Murray: Yeah, I think every leader has learned a bit about humility. In the past two and a half years. I suspect you and I have learned a little bit about humility in the same period. And we’re fortunate to dive in and keep going hopefully for another 100 episodes or more.

McGirt: All right. Do you have any predictions for what episode 200 will bring? What will we be talking about then?

Murray: Wow, wow. Well, you know, people ask me all the time whether stakeholder capitalism is real whether it’s just a passing fad, whether it’s just a periodic political play by woke CEOs. I think there’s something very real going on here. I think it responds to fundamental changes in the way business operates, and I suspect 100 episodes from now. We will improve on that point.

McGirt: I hope you’re right. I look forward to finding out.

Alan MurrayLeadership Next is edited by Nicole Vergalla, written by me, Alan Murray, along with my amazing colleagues, Ellen McGirt and Megan Arnold. Our theme is by Jason Snell. Executive producers are Mason Cohn and Megan Arnold. Leadership Next is a production of Fortune MediaLeadership Next episodes are produced by Fortune‘s editorial team.

The views and opinions expressed by podcast speakers and guests are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of Deloitte or its personnel. Nor does Deloitte advocate or endorse any individuals or entities featured on the episodes.

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