My time at the 2011 Annual Meeting passed quickly as it does every year. My three days in Davos were fascinating, engaging, and enlightening. I was pleased to begin my activities with a panel discussion on “Entering the human age – unleashing and leveraging human potential in the new reality." As the leader of an organization with 170,000 member firm professionals, I am passionately interested in how to unleash the potential of large groups so that they work together effectively toward a shared purpose.
I also had the privilege of moderating a panel discussion on “The state of manufacturing: a global update.” This was an opportunity to personally and professionally return to my roots as a leader in Deloitte US’s manufacturing practice. There was broad consensus that manufacturing is going to be led by talent-driven innovation. To support this need, manufacturing organizations must focus on education and skills-building and construct public/private partnerships to deliver the skilled talent they require.
The group also agreed that most manufacturing leaders are working to understand what a successful global manufacturing blueprint looks like in today’s new reality. While the answer to the blueprint question varied, the group agreed that industrial policies like deregulation and public sector involvement will play an important role in stimulating investment and collaboration for manufacturers and the countries where they operate.
I also attended Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev’s opening address. He displayed great composure in the wake of the tragedy at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport and seemed grateful for the moment of silence observed prior to his speech. While he was understandably solemn, he still delivered his message effectively, addressing Russia’s current political, social, and economic challenges and the country’s effort to improve its investment climate. It was a memorable—and at times, very moving—session.
Thursday began another full day of meetings, dialogues, and receptions. I had the privilege of joining other Big Four leaders for a discussion about accounting for new realities. Dennis Nally, Rolf Nonnenmacher, James Turley, and I discussed the possibility of redesigning corporate reporting to integrate information on the environmental, social, and ethical risks associated with global business. We were aligned in our view that while the current model does not always account for certain risks, any new framework must be developed collaboratively between the private sector, accounting professionals, and financial policy standard-setters.
I also took part in a meeting of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, which included a discussion with leading economists about the global economic outlook. Overall, the view was positive and the group agreed that sustained recovery is underway. They expect 2010’s improved economic performance to be stronger in 2011. There also was agreement that the key indicators of recovery will be employment growth plus GDP and that the problem of massive structural unemployment will require major skills-building.
I am honored to have taken part in another Annual Meeting. Each year, I leave Davos grateful for the opportunity I had to broaden my global perspective, engage in memorable dialogs, and connect with old and new colleagues.
Jim Quigley is the Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte). Prior to his current role, he was the CEO of Deloitte United States. Throughout his 36 years with the organization, Jim has held multiple leadership roles and is actively engaged in a number of international business organizations and committees, each working to help shape the policies for a successful and sustainable global economy.
Read Jim's guest blog on the World Economic Forum Blog for more reflections on this year's event.