Getting forthright opinions from media-trained board members can be more difficult than getting blood from a stone. For example, would the nation’s chairmen support a third runway at Heathrow? Have the banks done enough to clean up their acts? Do businesses feel the Olympics have helped the UK? Fortunately the ‘Boardroom Pulse’ survey from Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann, the executive search and talent management consultancy, provide us the much-sought answers to those questions: yes, no and kind of.
Representing companies with a combined market capitalisation of £338.2bn and over 1.4 million employees, the survey noted responses from the boardrooms of some of the UK’s biggest companies. When these CEOs were asked about the plans for Heathrow, 68% responded that they would support the move for a third runway. However, it was also indicated that this would have to be as a part of across the board revisions of infrastructure in the UK.
The banks are hardly rating high in the public’s opinion at the moment. Yet whilst the big financial firms could be forgiven for thinking that at least other large institutions might have their backs, support for them even amongst the biggest boys on the playground is at an all-time low: almost half of respondents were critical of the governance and cultural failings of the banks and felt that their behaviour would have a lasting impact on the country’s reputation as a financial centre.
Perhaps quite predictable thus far. But what about the Olympics? As you can tell from August’s Talking point, whether the Games have benefited the UK is an issue that divides people. And opinion amongst the nation’s most prominent CEOs is similarly divided. Whilst an overwhelming 92% of respondents said they felt that the Games had a long-term positive impact on international perceptions of the UK, more than half believed that they wouldn’t positively affect the economy.
So there we have it. The good, the bad and the ambivalent. Now that’s a Spaghetti western with a British attitude.