Chief executives should speak up on societal issues where they coincide with corporate values, according to the head of Europe’s body representing directors.
Irene Prijovic, chair of ecoDa—the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations—said that chief executives speaking out would help rebuild trust, and it had to go beyond being reported in the press.
She said that the personal communications of CEOs and other intellectuals broadens trust, as well as “through new media where our buyers, employees and other companies’ stakeholders are present”.
She added: “CEOs and experts should not conform but should speak up on broader issues of society in accordance with their values.”
Prijovic said that business had a trust issue, and rebuilding trust would be “hard”. But she said: “We just have to accept that this is the fact and act on it by making ethical and responsible long-term decisions, conducting socially and environmentally responsible businesses.
“It is hard to know what is good in such a chaotic, complex, scientifically and technologically changing world we live in. So we have a huge responsibility to be aware of how our lives and businesses are lived and changing.”
Prijovic gave her speech at the European Corporate Governance Conference in Malta on 4 May.