Odgers Berndtson launches ‘CEO for a day’ future talent initiative in Singapore

CEOs from the public and private sector offer a taste of life at the top.

18 September 2017

Top senior executives from leading organisations in the region have joined global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson to give students a chance to be CEO for a Day and experience life at the top.

Penultimate and final year undergraduates from local universities are eligible to apply for the scheme, called CEOx1Day, which will pair 6 finalists with CEOs from top companies in Asia Pacific including Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Lloyd’s, SAXO, Siemens Healthineers and PropertyGuru.

Odgers Berndtson CEOx1Day has been running for 14 years across the firm’s international network in various forms, involving over 230 organisations and students and giving the firm a unique insight into the challenges facing major companies around upcoming millennial talent.

“We’re delighted now to bring this to Singapore and work with Regional Heads from top companies to address some of the very real challenges around the future of leadership.”  said Andie Rees, Managing Partner of Odgers Berndtson Southeast Asia.

Students go through a rigorous recruitment process in late 2017, including online assessments and face-to-face interviews with partners and consultants from Odgers Berndston. In February 2018, each finalist will spend a day shadowing a CEO in their daily activities, giving them a unique chance to learn about their background, career path, and better understand what drives today’s leaders.

David Sproul, CEO of Deloitte North West Europe, who took part in CEOx1Day said: “One of the most important challenges that leaders face is building trust in business – the trust of their employees, customers and the wider public. Central to this is addressing the perceptions people have of corporations and those at the top. Taking part in CEO for a Day is a great opportunity for me to better appreciate what the younger generation thinks about business and, crucially, whether they believe the path to leadership is open to them. I believe business has a key role to play in building the skills and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.”

The scheme has also illustrated a growing mismatch between the characteristics and expectations of younger millennials and the current tools companies use to assess and measure talent, posing real challenges for HR professionals and companies seeking to develop the next generation of leaders.

“It’s not so much that this generation isn’t interested in the corporate world. It's just that they’re not only motivated by making money and having a successful career – but more by making a difference in the world,” commented Eric Beaudan, Director of the firm’s leadership practice, based in Toronto. “This means we’ll have to throw away a lot of the leadership management concepts developed over the past 20 or 30 years because this generation will not be motivated by the traditional performance management measures and techniques.”

Andie Rees, Managing Partner, Southeast Asia of Odgers Berndtson introduces ‘CEO for a Day’ event first ever launched in Asia in Singapore