Reflections on the Yale CEO Summit 2016: Disruption and Leadership in Focus

Yesterday, I attended the Yale CEO Summit for the second time. The summit, held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, brought together some of the world’s most influential leaders across various sectors. The theme of this year’s summit was “Delight and Despair Over Disruption, Part II: The Post-Election Story.”

This Summit, hosted by Yale School of Management Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, provided a platform for leaders across business, government, and media to discuss the challenges and opportunities of operating in a rapidly changing global landscape. I am grateful to Professor Sonnenfeld for inviting me again to this enlightening event.

The summit was a confluence of ideas and insights, with a particular focus on disruption and leadership. Two leaders who stood out for their exceptional contributions to their respective industries were honored. Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, received the Legend in Leadership Award, and John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, was recognized with the Maverick in Leadership Award.

Terry Lundgren’s leadership at Macy’s has been marked by strategic breakthroughs and a commitment to reinvention. He has successfully repositioned Macy’s by cutting costs while investing in new technologies and businesses. His leadership has seen Macy’s stock price soar and the company become the number six U.S. online store.

Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global; John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile; and Rajiv Pant

John Legere, on the other hand, has been a catalyst for disruption in the telecom sector. In just four years as CEO of T-Mobile, he has forever disrupted the wireless industry and completely upended the way consumers buy wireless services. His leadership has seen T-Mobile grow from a struggling #4 to a thriving #3, becoming the fastest-growing wireless company in America.

The 2016 Yale CEO Summit was attended by a host of prominent leaders who significantly enriched the discussions. Among the attendees were Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet; Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone; Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO of W.L. Ross & Company; William Donaldson, 27th chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford; Nigel Travis, chairman and CEO of Dunkin’ Brands; Matt Levatich, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson; Anne Mulcahy, former president and CEO of Xerox; Peter Orszag, vice Chairman of Investment Banking of Lazard and former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration; John Negroponte, U.S. deputy secretary of state (2007-2009); Thomas James, chairman of Raymond James Financial; and Terry Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s. Their presence and contributions made the summit a truly enriching experience.

The summit was a rewarding experience, providing a wealth of knowledge and insights. The opportunity to learn from so many respected leaders grappling with the complexities of a global world was truly thought-provoking. I appreciate Professor Sonnenfeld including me and providing this learning experience.

For those interested, you can read about my previous experience at the Yale CEO Summit in 2014 here and read the review I wrote of Jeff’s book Firing Back.

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