Skip to main content

tv   After Words Dambisa Moyo How Boards Work  CSPAN  July 10, 2021 10:01am-11:02am EDT

10:01 am
weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast with american history tv. on sundays, book tv brings the latest in nonfiction books and authors. television for serious readers. learn, discover, explore. weekends on c-span2. >> next on book tv's show popped," economist dambisa moyo with an insider's view on how boards operate. she is interviewed by emily glazer. emily: thank you so much for joining us, dr. are dambisa
10:02 am
moyo, and sharing information about your book, "how boards work." you wear a number of hats, a global economist, corporate board director, and of course now, and this is not your first book, author. you have learned a lot in her more than a decade on different corporate boards across industries. in many ways, this is a playbook for how boards work, how they are evolving, and how they can adapt in the future. i actually want to go back to when you were 39 years old. that was when you joined your first board, sab miller, and you were set apart from others who had come up from corporate america with your writing. how did you learn how to be a good board member? dambisa: so thank you so much for the opportunity to be here and to talk to you about my book, how boards work, but also to give you a little bit of an insight into the challenges and the opportunities for not just boards for the corporations that they lead.
10:03 am
your question is interesting, because i do worry sometimes that writing this kind of book gives the impression that it was always meant to be and was easy and straightforward, and the reality is i actually tried for more than half a decade to get on boards unsuccessfully. and as you rightly point out, in terms of global, large complex organizations, my first board was indeed sab miller, and the real opportunity arose in many ways surprisingly, because i am not and was not the conventional board member, as you might gather, 39, black, a woman born and raised in africa. also, i did not come through the c-suite, a traditional pool for board candidates. what set me apart was the perspective of a much more global purview.
10:04 am
i had traveled to a very fortuitous -- very fortuitously, to over 80 countries around the world, and having that perspective of developed versus developing, democratic versus nondemocratic economies, etc., was particularly important. but what have i learned? i think a number of key takeaways that i hope are clearly outlined in the book. first of all, by the time you are on a board, the reality is these are very complex organizations. the board of barclays where he served was a company that has been around for 360 years. and if you take a step back and think about the historical context of many of these corporations, they have gone through wars, pandemics, good times and bad but somehow managed to stay afloat. that requires a lot of open-mindedness, good judgment in the face of complex issues in order to steady the ship, and
10:05 am
really do the job as a fiduciary but also custodian of these very ported organizations. so listening -- these very important organizations. listening more than speaking is a key take away, but also really appreciating -- by the time something appears on the board agenda, it means it is extremely difficult. to quote president obama, if it was easy, somebody else would have solved it. there is a duty to think about these issues and the more broad perspective and not just in a sort of ideological, there is only one answer, kind of way. those are some of the things i have learned. emily: your book breaks down a couple of really big issues, what boards are and how they operate, the risks for the future, and of course, a lot of the big issues playing out now. i want to first look at one point you made. i am going to read from your book -- the changing times have
10:06 am
made boards more indispensable than ever. so how has that changed in the last year? we are in this global pandemic. i would love to hear what this last year and change has meant as a board member. dambisa: yes, it has been phenomenal in many respects, but it is important to put these things in context. i talk about the first board really being established, or at least recorded, in the 1600's, and in many ways, if you look back over several centuries, the fundamental mandate of the board has not really changed much. traditionally, boards have had two responsibilities. one is providing oversight on strategy. and never two is hiring, and in some instances, firing, the ceo. but really, over the last half decade, there has been a material shift towards the need for corporations to take on a much more social and cultural
10:07 am
responsibility and be good citizens, if you will. and that obviously was really a counterforce to milton friedman's 1970 article in which he basically planted a flag in the sand, essentially suggesting that the financial privacy, shareholders and financial privacy, were really the big key, and important role that corporations play. emily: shareholder versus stakeholder privacy. you cannot talk about it without saying how milton friedman -- milton freeman is maybe not in the modern times we are in right now. dambisa: frankly, i do think that he has been misquoted somewhat, and he was very clear in that article the nature of how corporations participate in the global economy and in society were very much driven by social and cultural contexts.
10:08 am
i think that gives enough degrees of freedom to think more broadly about what the mission and role of corporations are. of course, in the 140 character world, we have basically blamed tim for the financial privacy argument -- blamed him for the financial privacy argument. but that changes with the business roundtable articulating a very clear, broader -- i should say, widening aperture with respect to the responsibility of corporations to incorporate, not just financial shareholders but the whole range of shareholders, such as communities, employees, regulators, and society at large . to come back to your specific question, what does this mean about the changing role? there is a whole sort of proliferation around areas such as environmental, social, and governance questions, esg, which according to j.p. morgan now
10:09 am
represents trillions of dollars under asset management. everything from climate change, racial and gender justice, worker advocacy, data privacy, voter rights, gun control -- i mean, it has really opened up a wide sort of array of issues, notwithstanding the fact that board members are not elected. but at the same time, i think the last year has reminded us that we do not only have a strategic role thinking about how companies will evolve over time, we have to block and tackle in the here and now to be able to adapt to, in more technical way, to when things go awry, whether it is a pandemic or financial crisis. i will not belabor the point, but i did publish and article in the harvard business review around march or april of 2020 in which i basically talk about how, as a board member, we were
10:10 am
initially incredibly concerned about operations. are people safe? are people able to log into computers? do they have access to health care? then the financial health of the company -- can this company run? do they have a lot of debt? are they able to use the cash flows to cover their responsibilities? then you start to think about other considerations such as the broader marketplace and how we can step up in a world that is incredibly challenged. if you remember, also with very little information. that is how it is changing, from a broader strategic role to a much more technical role, and that is part and parcel of being a good board member. emily: absolutely, and you write about how many people think the buck stops with the ceo, but all these risks board never stayed on, given strategy around the company and operations and not just short-term thinking, a big part of board
10:11 am
members' role, as you write, is ceo's. we know now that ceo's and what is expected of them has really expanded quite a bit. can you tell us a little bit about how you have been involved in ceo succession in the past and if there are different questions you are asking these days that fit into what is expected of business leadership? dambisa: yes, you know, the truth is that i think it is really important that we'll understand that, in essence, corporations are living organisms, basically a collection of human beings, and human beings change, context change. i was reminded recently by a board colleague from a company i served on a while ago, and he said the only thing i can guarantee you is that we're are always going to be surprised, be it pandemic, financial crisis, the rise of china, could be any manner of geopolitical risks, brags it, etc. -- brexit,
10:12 am
america first strategy, etc. there will always be surprise, and that is an important frame when thinking about how organizations run, but also about the ceo. traditionally, boards, and i have been involved in both hiring and in some instance, i am afraid, firing -- emily: part of the job. dambisa: yes, an unpleasant part of the job, but it is part of the job nevertheless. but we have traditionally looked at a ceo candidate's financial and operational experiences, how they managed teams, their leadership style, how their leadership style marries without company is. if the company needs to restructure and reduce costs, is this a ceo that can lead the charge during a difficult time?
10:13 am
how do they think about strategic opportunities? so that is how we traditionally approach this. i think there has been a big area missing, which is about probing the sort of ethical compass and moral compass of candidates. how have we done that? we have, and we relied very heavily on references, but obviously, when you are living in a world where, in just 18 months, over 400 ceo's and business leaders lost their jobs because of #metoo, it does sort of really bring much more of a stark relief, the importance of ethics. that is one of the discussions in the book that i try to emphasize, that that is a muscle that organizations are going to have to really strengthen, not just for selecting the ceo that also for selecting board members, thinking about the organization more generally, as well. the ethical question is going to
10:14 am
move us from just thinking about opportunities and if it is profitable and legal into the realm of, is it also ethical? does this contort with how we want our brand to be seen and the organization to be viewed? emily: absolutely, and you cannot just say to someone, are you ethical, are you moral? it is not that simple. i believe there is a simple question you said you like to ask. i think it was, what is the worst thing you have done to somebody else? is that right? dambisa: what is the worst thing you have done to another human being? i was actually joking with my siblings and friends and saying i think this a great date question, as well. emily: [laughs] dambisa: but the truth is, these are not gotcha questions. there is not necessarily a right or wrong. it is really trying to get at this challenge of the complexity of the issues that boards have to deal with. we are not looking for a box
10:15 am
ticked yes, this is the right answer. cannot possibly be the case that there is always a right or wrong answer. because we are operating in different cultures, different ideological societies, different jurisdictions legally and regulatory, and means that we always have to be very open-minded and judicious with our sort of opinions and ideologies. emily: absolutely. when i read that question, i really had to think, what is the worst thing i have done to another human being? you know, is it something when you were 10 years old? it really makes you think a lot. another really big part of being a board member is helping to develop company strategy, direction, and you write a lot about assessing business units and how you need a mix of data analysis, market contacts, and other measures. you were cautioned by an external auditor to not fall into a trap when evaluating business units. can you tell us more about that? dambisa: yes, this was very
10:16 am
early in my board career. an external auditor said people tend to be very focused on businesses that look like they might cause trouble, and he cautioned me and said, you know, you should also be as vigilant in reviewing and assessing the performance of businesses that seem to be doing too well. we tend to think, oh, that is brilliant, this business unit is doing so wonderfully, we do not need to worry about that. but actually, that is exactly when you should probe. you know, what kind of a market allows a business to thrive? is this a monopoly? what does this mean from a regulatory perspective and competition perspective? there are questions that should be merged, make sure we are not doing things that are an ethical or, of course, illegal, or dare i say it, corrupt? so i thought that was a tremendously important piece of advice in a world that is incredibly complex and chaotic,
10:17 am
in the sense that we have risk of the globalization, lots of issues with respect to technology and disruption and what that might lead to. i think it is really important for us to be vigilant, not just on the downside but also on the upside opportunities when we see them. emily: indeed. i want to talk about some specific instances and anecdotes you mentioned about your own board experience and how it helped you learn more from those experiences. you mentioned how there were all these things you just cannot plan for, and sometimes you just cannot anticipate it. a share price swung from seven dollars to $53 while you are on the board. wow. what is that like as a director to have that kind of fluctuation? dambisa: for someone like myself who is relatively new as a board member, in general, and in the corporate governance, it was quite traumatic.
10:18 am
this is why you want people who have knowledge and savvy and have been able to navigate companies through challenging times. the thing about barron gold in particular is that it is a price taker, a company that relies on mining mineral such as gold and copper that are actually not priced by barrick, they are priced by the market. so there are many global events that can heavily influence not just your performance in terms of your operations but also the share price, as it did. the good news, we should not forget, barrick state trading above $20, so it bounced back. emily: very good point. dambisa: so for the board and the company to be able to turn that kind of a challenging environment around. emily: indeed, and it is not just market fluctuation. you run the board of sab miller, going back as your first msi director, when it was bought for
10:19 am
100 billion dollars in 2016, i believe you said the largest mna deal that deal -- largest m&a deal that year. the board initially did not think the company would be but what was going on back then? dambisa: look, i think this is another reason why, in the book, i suggest that hubris is a very good thing to avoid. anything can happen. anything can happen. aside from that transaction, i have been on boards over a decade now, just over 10 years of serving on boards, and have had a chairman die in office, activists, expropriated assets, regulatory crimes into the billions, a company trading in negative retained earnings, which is quite shocking. emily: wow. dambisa: a share price as high as 53 and as low as seven dollars and what that might mean. i do think in terms of that
10:20 am
transaction in particular, the board made a number of assumptions. we were the second largest beverage company, obviously, in the world, and we thought, gosh, the notion that the number one company would swallow the number two company seemed so distant, partly because we were competing in the same areas and there was also going to be regulatory antitrust issues, and we thought it would be hard to work through. we totally misjudged the fact that in order to buy us, this number one company, anheuser-busch, had to do the largest bond transaction ever, $40 billion, and we thought it was just so implausible, they surely would not do that. again, boy, were we wrong. add to that, i was the chairman of the risk committee at the time, and not only had we assumed the brexit foot would not happen, but we thought if it were to, there is no way people would vote brexit, and that had
10:21 am
material consequences for the valuation of the company and really increasing or altering the probabilities of the transaction getting done. but the transaction did get done, and i think that that is a lesson there that anything can happen. i also wrote in the book that there's no company that is too big, too regulated, too powerful, that could not be visited upon by an activist. it is the same kind of attitude -- i have been on a number of boards were an activist shareholder comes into the star, and you think, how is this possible? but anything can happen. emily: fascinating to hear about it in retrospect and all those things that needed to happen, all the stars to align, and sometimes they do. you mentioned brexit, geopolitical changes that are so big, and we will get more into that later. one more quick anecdote from
10:22 am
your experience, you were on the barclays board as it considered withdrawing from africa. what was that like? dambisa: you know, for me personally, quite traumatic. i was born and raised in africa. my first bank account was in the african branch of barclays bank. emily: wow. dambisa: i was serving on the board at the time and it had been in africa more than 100 years. i had to separate the emotional personal me, someone born in africa, someone committed to africa's progress, ongoing progress in society and the world, from the sort of job of being a fiduciary and custodian of an organization to make sure it can survive and thrive over the long-term. it was a very hard decision. i wanted barclays to stay in africa. but at the same time, the regulatory environment with the 2008 financial crisis and
10:23 am
barclays is a globally significant systemically important company, and on that basis, the regulators had increased some of the capital requirements. that made it very challenging to stay in the country in the manner that we were. so very tough, but it sort of underscores this challenge of having to do things that are perhaps antithetical to what you would like to see happen in the interest of making sure that you're doing a fiduciary duty but also making sure that, over time, as a custodian, this company continues to survive and thrive. i'm happy to see barclays is also very much alive and kicking. emily: is a former banking reporter for five years, but you mentioned should me a little bit. i had not heard that one in a while. i want to go a little broader for a moment. you write a lot about board make
10:24 am
it, how someone even gets to be on a board and the whole power structure within a board. to go really high level for a moment, board makeup has been a topic of debate recently. i am curious, should employees sit on a board, something senator elizabeth warren has called for and as you write exists in germany? dambisa: let me take a step back and say the following, because i have had the privilege of serving on corporate boards in different jurisdictions, the u.s., the u.k., canada, and also, and tell europe -- continental europe, i am constantly inking about best practices -- constantly thinking about best practices and how to enhance board activity. i do address the question run employees, but in the book, i also talk about ways to really upgrade boards, and i'm sure we will get to that. but about employees, it is really interesting. the board structure in germany, in particular, is slightly
10:25 am
different, a two-tiered system, so there is the managerial board and supervisory one, slightly different from what you might see elsewhere. i will just say before i address the specific question that there is a lot of overlap in terms of the government's responsibility. they have audit committees and compensation committees on these boards, and i think there are very small margins of differences. this one about employees is an important one. i recently wrote an article about the fact that i do believe that -- two things, one, we are more and more in that the boardroom able to get the viewpoint of the employee base into the boardroom, in a way that is really important. technology is allowing us not to go beyond the sort of company managed -- the surveys. emily: you write about like
10:26 am
glass door, blind. so born rivers are following that? -- so board members are following that? dambisa: absolutely paired we want to hear from clients, stakeholders, and employees to make the best decisions. it is important we are getting that message loud and clear, and there is always room for improvements as technology evolves. i have written a number of articles, something on bloomberg opinion a few weeks ago, talking about how it is really important for us to make sure that there still is some possibilities and -- some responsibilities and decision points made at the boardroom or at the managerial level, because the organizational leaders tend to have a much broader purview. so if you run an aspect or business unit of a company, you might have a very different risk tolerance from the way the company, in its entirety, or the
10:27 am
enterprise should be viewed when thinking about something like risk. i generally made the point that i think we have to be careful about bringing people or employees or certain viewpoints into the boardroom, powerful shareholders have to be careful about that. i talk about large nondependent boards, strategic stakes, activists onto the board, because you do not want them to bring a view that might be very narrow and maybe does not take into consideration the more fulsome picture. these are evolving debates and discussions that i think the best boards have all the time, because things are changing. we do want to make sure we get that message in from the employees in particular but also more generally from society at large. emily: in terms of the makeup of the board, it is not just a question about should employees
10:28 am
be part of it or not, it really is also about what kind of diversity is on boards. you write about how major institutional shareholders, there is legislation in california, dat -- nasdaq proposal recently -- what data you seek out to track and monitor when it comes to diversity and inclusion either on boards in general or the employee base, which is something that is definitely at the forefront for many major companies? dambisa: yes, absolutely. look, let's just take a minute to fully appreciate that. is my very good friend melody hopson, now the chairman of starbucks, says, the numbers don't lie. and we know that the numbers tell us very clearly that more diverse boards, corporations, and c-suites do better. the return on equity is superior. it is not just surviving but to thrive and compete being
10:29 am
enhanced by having more diversity. i cite specific data from mckinsey reports. harvard has done a lot of report in this area. so it is not a matter of window dressing, it is a matter of if you want to compete in that when he first century, you need to be really hypersensitive to the issue of diversity. diversity of views, of race, gender, backgrounds, i think is absolutely salient for long-term success. having said that, boards have some levers to influence this. fortunately, we have talked already about our ability to hire the ceo, that is a real opportunity for us not just to hire diverse candidates but also to think about whoever is taking that seat can be a standardbearer for understanding and really pushing the agenda around a more diverse society, more diverse company. but also, we do it through
10:30 am
compensation, not just diversity issues but issues around csg broadly are now part and parcel they consider a part of how we determine compensation, certainly for the for the ceo as the top management and business leaders. i think it will continue to be that. notwithstanding what i just said, we do not want to be in a world fighting discrimination with discrimination. high-performing white guys are absolutely welcome in companies and they should be encouraged to compete and succeed as much as any other group, but there are clearly gaps, and we have been certainly lagging behind in terms of remedying the shortfall in diversity, and i am pleased to say that the companies i am involved with, but more generally there is a real sense that this is not just about employees and boards, etc. it is about subcontractors and people advising us in the
10:31 am
extorting -- external auditors, people managing pension fund money. there is much more that corporations can do, and many companies have large events and gatherings across the united states and the world. there is a lot of scope for companies to say we want to know more information about what these towns and cities record is in terms of education, employment, and criminal justice, and in terms of health care. it is a lot more we can do, -- there is a lot more we can do and it is an period -- exciting period to think about diversity beyond a narrative that people just publish. emily: someone described it to me as a spoke and wheel model, it is not just the company but all the other pieces that come together. despite talking about this right now and how much progress has been made and the thought that goes into the future, there was
10:32 am
a moment that you wrote about in your book that frankly made my jaw dropped. going back to may 2010, an annual shareholder meeting and a shareholder said something quite shocking. i would love to hear you tell the story. dambisa: sure. the context was i was on the board of barclays bank and we had an annual general meeting. we had over 1000 shareholder show up. it was post-financial crisis so a lot of enthusiasm and a massive hall. i was the only visible minority meaning i was the only woman on the board and i was the only black person, so in that respect already standing out. the shareholder stood up and pointed very aggressively and -- at me and said i want to know what the current grant -- credentials are of that statutory woman that you can serve on this board. thankfully i had spent almost 10
10:33 am
years working at goldman sachs and i have a phd in economics so i felt confident that i could justify my existence on the board. but, i often say to minority candidates and to people who are interested in boards that we should not be in a position where we have to lead with our race or gender. we should be leading the conversation in our abilities. we try to work extremely hard, we want to learn, grow, and contribute. it is not about getting any breaks or favors. we want a fair shot at these opportunities, and i think that was my big take away from that experience. when we came off of the podium three of my white male colleagues said thank god they didn't ask me about that because i do not know what i would've answered. i do not think i would have been able to answer anything credible. the good news is that the world is changing. in the u.k. we have 34% of women
10:34 am
represented on the footsie -- ftse companies and we find it odd and peculiar when you look at a board and do not see diversity or women and racially, i think it is odd. certainly the boards i am on, it is an anathema to anything they will see now and we are very much attuned to more diversity and it is value add. it is value add for competition. emily: thank you for sharing that story and it ties into what you are talking about, company culture. do people want to be a part of these companies, they feel included and do they want to stay. you write about how company culture is so important and a really big part of being a board member. can you describe a little bit more about how boards get involved in crafting a company's cultural message.
10:35 am
it feels very abstract. what is that like when you are in the weeds? dambisa: it is a wonderful christian -- question because it is incredibly complex. i recall on at least one occasion where a board, we had a visitor of someone who was a cultural short -- sort of champion. i was struck by something he said. he said it is easier to influence, change, and pivot culture of organizations where there is a risk that an employee can die by being on the job. he was talking about having advised the national health service in britain, advised an energy company where they had an accident. he talked about being an advisor for culture to an army. again. people will not go home if they do not ascribe or follow certain cultural norms. the challenge is when you think about how to drive culture in places where you work in a bank,
10:36 am
and the risks are perhaps mitigated considerably. of dying on the job. and i think, the way that the board engages, whether they think more about process versus outcome and i love that hastings is talk about that vis-a-vis netflix. if you are trying to produce penicillin -- penicillin, you want as few degrees as freedom as possible. the penicillin tablet or the vaccine i get should be identical to the one that you get. in that respect you could argue that the process is really critical and everything needs to be to the nth degree the same. that is a difficult -- different cultural setting than netflix where people need to be creative and they need to come up with ideas as far-fetched or crazy as they may seem and they want to see what will come out of it. so the degrees of freedom are
10:37 am
broader. in that respect, the role of the board and how they check and challenge the culture of the company will be quite different. i will just say, really, how we do it and check this and make sure it is working is an evolving and much more of an art than science. we are interested in thinking about things like knowledge, that type of agenda, should we nudge employees to change behaviors, should we penalize people and dock them of their bonus? should be incentive five with bonus -- incentivize with bonuses? we are constantly looking about how these types of tools and efforts within the levers and powers that we have can actually be impactful for changing culture. it is definitely -- school is not out on this one.
10:38 am
this is something we will continue to deal with. i do not think there is a point where we say that is the end, nothing more to be discussed. emily: no more work on culture. can you just imagine? and i think it became even more relevant during this global pandemic. many workforces went remote. a question about employee well-being and loyalty, and at the same time we have seen this employee activist movement or increasingly more vocal employees. i want to go back to this one point we looked at briefly where as a board member you are saying you are not just having whatever management is presenting on how employees are feeling, you are going out to try and get information to get the full breadth of how employees are doing. what was that like for you during the pandemic? and how are you trying to figure that out? dambisa: it is incredibly challenging, because you are straddling a line of thinking
10:39 am
about the here and now and recognizing that at some point these companies will have to stand up and continue to operate , and what does that new world look like? absolutely, you are in the here and now and trying to make sure that the company is in a position to compete and make sure that people are healthy, safe, they can operate and pay salaries and they can do that in a safe way. at the same time you want to make sure that when the company comes out, any learnings and changes, we are talking about what does work -- what is work-life balance, but what does the office look like? we are already trying to telegraph those future scenarios. clearly the deployment of digitized asian talking about -- digitization, the downside risk and also what does that mean for productivity. there is a lot of work in these
10:40 am
areas, and certainly, i think the best boards, and i am proud of the work that we have done in our family office, but generally on the boards in which i serve to steer that course and say we cannot get navelgazing here and now only, because we have to figure out how to get back to a post-covid environment, and i think that balancing act is critical. emily: you talk and write so much about not just having short-term thinking, but long-term what happens and what risk might come in the future. one more quick questions and that i want to get to the broader point. investors, employees, and other stakeholders have been demanding companies do more on environmental factors. i do not think we were speaking for five minutes for we brought up esg which is at the forefront of a lot. it is climate change, pay equity and how companies have to
10:41 am
consider obesity. what role does the board serve on ranging from mental health and gun control? these are big topics and many people may not realize where corporate boards come into play on those. dambisa: again, this is an area that is very quickly evolving. if i look back on my board career, the first five years was some of a ring fence afterthought. we thought about community service or csr, corporate social responsibility, what things out of the foundation and maybe we would have an employee running marathons and thinking about how we would raise money for the communities in which we operate, but that has changed dramatically. now we have gone through the whole narrative of thinking about risk mitigation and greenhouse gases and issues around co2 which continue to be critically important that we are
10:42 am
looking into a world where this is good business and integrated and integrating all of these aspects into how we operate on a regular basis. i mentioned 10 years ago i was the only woman on these boards and the only black person. that would be insane in 2021. i cannot even imagine that i lived in that type of environment. there is no doubt about it, these things are complicated and there is no answer. six months ago or certainly before the tragic death or murder -- and murder of george floyd, i did not think that boards would have to opine on racial dynamics to the extent that we had to do. i did not have to think about voting rights, but we did, do, and have to. there is no compass to say that when this happens this is what you need to do. and very much the environment we are in now i have to think about in six months what might it be. and so, i am very interested and
10:43 am
in the book i tried to push for the thinking and efforts around these issues to make sure that we are very transparent so that we do not end up with a situation where asian employees say we have violence against asian employees you are so enthusiastic and outwardly spoken about black lives matter why are we not talking about that with asians? we want it to be sustainable, so whatever it is you want to have teeth longer-term and we want it to be inhabited -- inevitable -- inhabited to have. we want solutions now, but i don't really think -- and so many other aspects have to be considerate of different cultures. i was just asked not to long ago by a gentleman who said he identified himself as being very conservative, religious, and white and said what is the board
10:44 am
doing for me, i do not hear any consideration of my views and i was struck by that. it is about all of these things that bring all of these voices in, but most of all, really understanding that we try really hard to reduce the amount to the degree of the trade-offs. we do not want to leave anybody behind, and so thinking about things, i talked about racial discrimination, not fighting discrimination with discrimination and making sure that everybody feels like they have an opportunity in the organization, but things like climate change and making sure that we are not just racing towards solutions that ignore the fact that 1.5 billion people around the world have no access to sustainable, cost-effective, and reliable energy. we have to come up with scalable solutions that make sure that people are not ending up and more dire straits. one last thing i will say about
10:45 am
this, i think that also, boards have to be highly attuned to second-order effects. and so when people, for example, put pressure on investors to defund an energy company, we need to understand what that means and the knock on effects for not only impoverishing people around the world, but changing and altering the trajectory of people ability, especially people like myself from the developing world to get access to health care -- health and live a decent life. there are second-order effects. you look at the second border of the united states and all of those challenges, they must be thought about in a sensible and considered way, and this is not all to dismiss the urgency and importance of getting to real solutions. but, i think there is a nuance that needs to be appreciated as
10:46 am
we delve through and go through these challenges. emily: absolutely, we mentioned some of your time on prior boards and i should note that you were on the boards of chevron and 3m, especially since we talked about private ash prior stories. i want to talk about a book when you -- a piece of the book where you talk about forward-looking challenges and especially de globalization. you have -- he wrote about how companies have to weigh things around supply chain, immigration, regulation, supply chain -- and much more. could you say what de globalization means for companies and how you are thinking about that? dambisa: one of the challenges is that we have had a phenomenal period of growth and success. the period between 1950 and 2008 mirrors the gilded age.
10:47 am
there was a lot of economic growth, globalization in terms of trade and the of people and the movement of class -- capital and cooperation with institutions. we shot -- we saw the emergence of a lot of large and important corporations that were driving a lot of the gender in terms of growth and partnership in government. but, that is a world if you take a step back, and think freedom house, their data shows that we have only had liberal democracy and market capitalism for 1% of human history. if i go back and start to think about one of the key responsibilities of a board on a regular basis is to mitigate risks, we need to start -- to start thinking that odds are we might be in a world that is much more challenged by this more
10:48 am
idealized global environment and we have seen that in -- with respect to trade, we have seen the emergence of bilateral agreements, tpp, nafta, brexit, these are not only affecting trades and services but supply change. -- chains. i serve on the board of 3m, we make masks, and we have been making a lot of the masks, and real issues with the dpa -- it wasn't the persecution agreement. the dpa of which the former president trump put in place, a sickly restricting the sale of masks -- basically restricting the sale of masks outside of the united states during covid. but it is also about capital flow. people like yourself who worked in finance are familiar with the carry trade, you borrow cheaply in new york and london and
10:49 am
invest in high risk adjusted returning environments like brazil and argentina and south africa, but that world is very fractured now with home -- with investors and capital controls. you start to think about migration and how much that is a topical issue and people across the world resisting immigration, creating pockets of disorderly immigration. we saw in europe and the southern border of the u.s., that has a lot of implications on how companies hire. how do you higher if you do not have the global talent pool? you think about the splinternet, and the real risk of flat -- fracturing around technology and intellectual platforms or there could be one chinese lead and one u.s. led and what that means for how you roll -- run a global business, and finally the breakdown of cooperation as we have known it from the bretton woods in 1944, where we actually
10:50 am
had a liberal order, the world bank imf, they are being challenged by chinese initiatives such as the rsep and the delta and -- belt and road. within the european and american allies, there are real tensions and we have seen that with the rollout of vaccines and the covid response. i have gone through a whole portfolio of issues and the bottom line is that we have to mitigate for the risks. we could wake up in a world which is much more fractured and vulcanized. how do you think about running your business and a world like that is a much -- is an important question that companies and boards need to think about. that is an important thing. i will also say, if i may, it is also not just about thinking about the risks and downside,
10:51 am
but where the opportunities may lie, because as you know and as i mentioned, you cannot shrink your way to growth, you have to think about adding to the company for longer periods. emily: the glass is half-full, even though those are weighty questions. i'm sure you have been waiting for us to go back to it, because the investor base is dramatically changing. when a new director joins a board i am curious about the advice that you give them with dealing with investors. i am thinking institutional investors demanding more and how they align themselves. and of course activist investors becoming the norm, how do you advise on that front? dambisa: i think the most important thing is to read out the motivations and the angles that the investors may take. we tend to think about large, powerful investors whether they
10:52 am
are an activist or passive investor as out there to cause trouble, and i think that sometimes people take that approach, and that is not an ideal approach. we are actually all on the same side, but perhaps there is a delta or goals -- gulf of information as board members and insiders that they may not have. there is a lot of utility in talking to and engaging with the shareholders, but it is important for them to understand that as a fiduciary, it is not just my responsibility to cater to the big and powerful, we need to think about mom and pop who have kept a few shares and have passed it from generation and generation. retail investors should matter equally to the more powerful investors. it is also important to think about the end asset owner, not just asset managers, the owner. because very often they have
10:53 am
aligned goals for the long term. they are just not looking for shorter-term returns or the next quarter. they are also interested and we are talking about pension funds and pensioners and people who invest in these large organizations whose money is being managed. they want to see investments in education and infrastructure. i would hazard a guess that they want us to look through this quarterly machinations and think more strategically about what are we doing for society, hello -- how are we helping society to progress and not just thinking about what the returns are? it is a complex web because there are many different types of shareholders and now we have to think about stakeholders and whether we need to prioritize their ranking system, what metrics matter to them. it is a lot of work that the best institutional investors are doing. before what would happen is we
10:54 am
would have two people show up, one of them checking in terms of we made esg requirements and others thinking about traditional financial returns. there is a lot of work going on and i am optimistic, i think we are on the same side for human progress in society, and economic development and a functioning global economy, and world, and in that respect, i think we have more in common than we might want to believe. emily: that is an optimistic note to wrap up on. dr. dambisa moyo, this book lays out what a board member does, how they operate, the focus areas and the broad topics you need to think about and into the nitty-gritty. it was a fascinating read and i appreciate the discussion. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> "after words is available as
10:55 am
a podcast. you can listen at c-span.org /podcasts. watch this and all other interviews at booktv.org and just click the after words button on the top of the page. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every history "american history tv" documents america's story and "book tv" brings you the latest on nonfiction authors. it is brought to you by these media companies including media,. >> the world changed in an instant, but media, was ready. schools and businesses went virtual and we powered a new reality. at media, we are built to keep you ahead. >> media, support c-span2 as a public service. ♪
10:56 am
>> the secret service was founded in the aftermath of the assassination of abraham lincoln, but it was not until the death of john f. kennedy that the presidential protection service got closer attention from the american people. carol lanning -- leonnig began reporting into thousand 12. in the prologue of "zero fail" she wrote on the coverage of hooker gate as agents brought hookers to their hotel room. we talked about her in-depth look in her new book. >> carol leonning on this book of book notes+ listen on c-span.org/podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. >> recently the health museum in houston hosted a virtual event with columbia diversity
10:57 am
professor peter hotez on why he believes future pandemics can be prevented by expanding vaccine literacy. >> i started writing this book a year before covid-19 began. and, i think one of the points of the book was what is happening with covid-19 is not the extraordinary event that many claim it is, but rather a culminating event of a lot of unraveling that has been happening over the last few years. it kind of chronicles the collapse, i do not want to say total collapse, but partial unraveling of global health infrastructure and all of the things that we have put in place, which includes a lot of vaccine diplomacy. by that, i define that broadly adds cooperation between -- as cooperation between nations around global health and vaccines, because vaccines are
10:58 am
such powerful tools. the beginning of it actually goes with the beginning of vaccines. when edward jenner developed the first smallpox vaccine in the late 1700s, some say 1798, he was called upon to mediate prisoner exchanges between the british and the french during the napoleonic wars, and thomas jefferson used his vaccine as a goodwill gesture to send the vaccine with the lewis and clark expedition in their exploration of the wilderness with native american groups. the more modern version began with albert sabin, who not many people realized when he developed the polio vaccine he did it jointly with the soviets at the height of the cold war. he sent polio strains to the ussr and got permission from the state department and his soviet counterpart, whose son works at the fda and is a friend and
10:59 am
colleague and got permission to work together. that is where the vaccine was developed and 10 -- tested on 10 million soviet schoolchildren and ultimately led to the licensure of the polio vaccine and it happen for smallpox eradication. the soviets found a way to scale up freeze-dried production of the smallpox vaccine which allows you to take that version into tropical areas so it would not be destroyed by heat, and that is what allowed an american to lead the smallpox eradication campaign. the point is that some of our greatest successes in global health around infectious diseases always relied on international cooperation and cooperation between countries which generally did not agree ideologically and they were really -- willing to put aside their ideologies to put -- to work together. this was something that i was so impressed with as a vaccine scientist and i said how can we
11:00 am
dust this off and maybe give it a fresh coat of paint and reinvigorate it, and i had that role of u.s. science envoy for the state department in the white house between 2014 and 2016 in the obama white house at a very difficult time in the middle east where the isis occupation was starting. and where we were at the height of the syrian conflict and civil war. it is when the proxy wars between iran and saudi arabia were beginning, so a very awful time looking at how we can cooperate between muslim majority nations for vaccine development, and i made some progress but the point is that this is a time when we need it more than ever, and we can talk about what we are seeing now unraveling with what russia is doing, and what with china -- and what china is doing. and now, as if life is not complicated enough, this
11:01 am
anti-science disinformation campaign which is both homegrown in the united states and being launched by russia. how do we walk this back and kind of restore vaccine diplomacy to its rightful place because of its incredible tech -- track record? >> you can find the rest of the program on booktv.org and search for peter hotez or "preventing the next pandemic." >> c-span's book tv continues. next, atlantic staff writer clint smith looks at slavery's legacy in america. and then james patterson and bill clinton discuss their new thriller involving the abduction of the daughter of a former u.s. president by terrorists. later, dambisa moyo offers an insider view on how corporate boards operate. find more information on book tv.org or consult your program guide for full schedule information.

21 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on