A.T. Kearney Chief Looks Ahead

07/10/2009

“This is the single most exciting time in business history,” said Paul Laudicina, chairman of the board of A.T. Kearney. “We’re experiencing a fundamental transformation of the business environment.”

Laudicina spoke this afternoon in the Abbott Auditorium at the Darden School of Business. His presentation was part of the School’s Leadership Speaker Series.

He discussed the “new normal” and how people all over the world feel vulnerable due to the current economy.

“While the worst may be over,” he said, “considerable uncertainty remains and the customer is not yet ready to come out of the foxhole.”

Laudicina, who just returned to the United States after attending a summit in Switzerland with 50 CEOs and thought leaders, explained how consumption outpacing income led to today’s economic challenges. He said continued hard work is ahead if the global economy is to rebound.

“Companies will need to change to simpler, more compelling products,” he said. “We need to move away from specialization. People want products and services that offer simplicity, sustainability and self fulfillment. Customers will demand it.”

The A.T. Kearney chief, who has twice been named one of the top 25 most influential consultants by Consulting Magazine, http://www.consultingmag.com also discussed relationships people have with companies and leaders.

“We’ve experienced a broad erosion of trust,” he said. “As a result of the economy, trust collapsed. Leaders must make trust and communication top priorities.”

Laudicina also told the audience of students, faculty, staff, and guests that technology will play a prominent role in the years ahead.

“I’m an optimist,” he said. “I believe we are sitting on the cusp of extraordinary technology innovation that will improve our lives, our businesses and our productivity.”

After his presentation, Laudicina answered questions from the audience. One question caused the veteran consultant to discuss baby boomers and their future buying habits.

“They will eventually stop buying stuff and will purchase experiences instead,” he said. “Especially as they age. Business needs to be ready for that.”

Laudicina has spent 25 years in global consulting. He has written articles and books about business and leadership. A.T. Kearney has been recognized as one of the top ten most desirable places to work.
A video of his presentation will be available soon on the Darden MBA You Tube channel.

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.

For information or questions, please contact communication@darden.virginia.edu.

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