Business

Jorge Paulo Lemann: Strategy And Leadership In An Age Of Disruption

In a white-hot marketplace that embraces disruption and rewards future-focused leadership, successful organizations are those that can deftly turn changes in technology, culture, competition, and the workforce into profit. How should C-suite executives develop strategies to capture and address breakthrough change? How do leaders implement and leverage new technology and data management in their business models? What strategies have been successful when tackling disruptive trends in the past, and will they continue to work in the years to come?

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Jorge Paulo Lemann on disruption
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Moderator

Adam Lashinsky

Executive Editor, Fortune

Speakers

Jorge Paulo Lemann

Co-Founder and Board Member, 3G Capital; Board Member, Kraft Heinz

Jim McCaughan

President, Global Asset Management; CEO, Principal Global Investors

Tim Sloan

CEO and President, Wells Fargo & Co.

Julie Sweet

CEO, North America, Accenture

Jorge Paulo Lemann: Strategy And Leadership In An Age Of Disruption

Transcript

Jorge Paulo Lemann on disruption: I'm terrified dinosaur especially after attending this meeting and went to a food meeting yesterday and they talked about these new products and new forms of producing food. And I go to the next meeting is artificial intelligence and talking a lot about data analytics and like that and I've been living in this cozy world of old brands big volumes and nothing changing very much. And you can just focus on being very efficient and you'll do OK. And all of a sudden we're being disrupted in all ways. If you go to a supermarket you see hundreds of new brands on the supermarket shelf. Clients doesn't want to move out of his house anymore. He wants everything delivered to his house. In beer we had the you know the kinds of beers coming in all over like that. So we're we're being affected by everything. And what we're doing about it we're we're running to adjust our companies have run sort of in their old way for a long time. So in there we have set up a totally separate department. It's called Zeke's and it's supposed to deal with disruption and supposed to disrupt ourselves. And we have new people different kinds of people younger people more digital minded more data minded like that. We hope this will be a model which we can build on for our other companies. So that's so we're scrambling. And would it be fair to say that in your career of it that this is a new paradigm that you were able to do things basically one way for this period of time and this is a market shift right now.

Very much so. We we bought brands and we thought they would last forever. We bought a lot of cheap money because money was cheap. So that worked out very well and then we simply managed. What was there a little bit more efficiently. Now we have to totally adjust to new demands from clients clients which are a lot more fickle. They want different product every day they are delivered in an easier form like that so we really have to adjust. There are big companies who are ahead of us in terms of being in the commodity business and you know just to name something. Starbucks has one. Nike is another one. Zaara in Europe and like that. So there are people who are in a business like ours which is traditional business and which have adjusted. So we have to go in that direction so if I could if I could disagree with you on something you said you've managed these businesses a little more efficiently I would think most people would agree you've managed them a lot more efficiently. Oh I don't know people people people criticize us for that also. So it's not only not only in this room I think it's an achievement. But but but to play devil's advocate are you are you is there. I could see someone making an argument that your colleague that you and your colleagues are not the people to manage this innovative change because that's not where your experience lies. How do you how do you confront that or approach that of other very careers.

Various careers in my life I was a tennis player a finance guy what and it also I've been adjusting and I'm 78 but I'm already very good. And I'm scrambling to lie down and go away. Like that's so very good. I think that's worth it. And just one quick question I wanted to make sure I understood you the companies you admire that you named are Starbucks Nike and Zaara. I say they they've done a better job than we're doing in terms of understanding what their clients want or what their consumers want. Like that can you. Can you buy any of them. Well I haven't thought about it. Don't think about it. Very good. Let's come let's let's let's come to you please. Your thoughts on what your thoughts on technology and disruption and leadership in general and then will then we'll drill down. Yes since we've been talking about innovation. Firstly why do we have an AI strategy why did Chief Executives have to deal with.