“There will be no return to normal for business” – the conclusion of 28 global leaders


Despite the raised hopes of a vaccine, there will be no return to the pre-COVID world of business, according to 28 global business leaders.  “There is no going back,” was the clear message from the men and women who took part in the “Leaders in Lockdown” project, which is the focus of a new book published today (Thursday November 12, 2020).

Their insights were captured in in-depth interviews over the first 100 days of lockdown between March and June 2020. The leaders include

  • Unilever CHRO, Leena Nair
  • Tata CHRO, Nupur Singh Mallick
  • Europe CEO of Zurich Group, Alison Martin
  • Founder of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert
  • Founder of Stagecoach PLC, Sir Brian Souter
  • New York Times CEO, Mark Thompson
  • Founder of Banyan Tree Holdings, Ho Kwon Ping
  • Philip Morris International Vice-President, Marian Salzman
  • Executive Chair of Care Home Company, HC-One Sir David Behan
  • Former Grant Thornton CEO, Sacha Romanovich
  • CEO of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Clement Kwok
  • Former Communications Advisor to The Queen, Sally Osman
  • Tradeshift CEO, Christian Lanng.
  • US Four Star General Stan McChrystal.

Atholl Duncan author of 'Leaders in Lockdown in business news story

The project concluded with seven themes for “res-setting business strategies and re-setting society” which are published in the book “Leaders in Lockdown”.  The leaders argued that every single long held business belief had been thrown out the window by COVID-19.  They spoke of the need to inject humanity back into leadership. Some claimed COVID-19 highlighted how trickle-down economics doesn’t work.  They thought the virus exposed the selfishness of countries rather than our ability to be compassionate internationalists. Some called it a “moment of truth” when companies would now have to “truly embrace purpose through actions not just words”.  Others said, “diplomacy is going to be redrawn for the next several generations”.

One warned, “Anyone caught going back to life before COVID-19 will pay a terrible price. Because your competition is going to a better place.”  Most hoped that a kinder, more caring society would emerge.  The seven themes are

  1. The new age of purpose
  2. The new world of work
  3. Tackling inequality
  4. Global cooperation
  5. Resilience
  6. Resetting the supply chain
  7. Maximizing potential

Black Isle Group Chair and the book’s author, Atholl Duncan said, “The insights of the “Leaders in Lockdown” are true gold dust for all who are still struggling to come to terms with the short term and long-term implications of the virus. Our worlds have been changed forever by the pandemic. We hope the insights of the “Leaders in Lockdown” will help re-set the business world for the future and re-set society.”

“Leaders in Lockdown” is available on Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith in the UK and on www.bookdepository.com for the rest of the world. Contact Atholl Duncan for interviews on [email protected] or 07766 725229.