Which business people would make good world leaders?

Communities: As the US election nears, we asked alumni who they think has what it takes
Elon Musk © Bloomberg

Listen to this article


We asked executive MBA graduates which business person has the qualities to be a world leader and why.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has redefined himself, devoting incredible amounts of money, time and energy to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There is not another business leader who has proved himself so shrewd while also showing a profound sense of community.
Revenue manager

Elon Musk, chief executive of electric carmaker Tesla, as the earth seems to be a battlefield and he dreams of taking us to another planet.
Marketing manager

I don’t believe any business person has the qualities to be a world leader. Politics is for politicians. I wouldn’t call a plumber to put out a house fire.

I would choose Michael Bloomberg, the media owner and former New York mayor. He has the ability to manage large organisations, a proven track record of running a government and an ability to use data to make decisions regardless of politics — something that many politicians sorely lack.

Sir Richard Branson. Having built his business empire from relatively humble beginnings, he combines eco aspirations with pushing the boundaries of innovation, while giving his highly skilled employees the autonomy and support to succeed.
Chief executive, software company

Indra Nooyi, chief executive of PepsiCo, has the qualities to make the best world leader. She understands cultural diversity and has the ability to manage across racial, political and economic backgrounds. She is also incredibly humble and honest — characteristics that would be invaluable in our current political environment.

Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor product company Patagonia. He has never compromised on his company’s values. For instance, although it would be better for the company if people bought new equipment when theirs is damaged, he is committed to repairs because this makes sense for society overall.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.