Interview An Interview With Ros Rivaz

An Interview With Ros Rivaz

The RemCo Chair at Rexam Pl, and the former COO of Smith & Nephew, Ros Rivaz addresses the skills needed to be a great strategic leader in today’s world.

You’re a strategic Board Director with a diverse portfolio across FTSE 100, large private and not-for-profit organisations. How did you get involved with speaking on the corporate circuit? What do you most enjoy?

You can't beat talking as a great way to communicate! I have always been told that I can transmit information, ideas, concepts and opportunities in a clear, exciting way, hence speaking to audiences large and small. I have been given great feedback; a CEO told me that the insights he gained have helped him to be significantly more effective in his leadership. After speaking to an audience, a senior female executive says she now feels empowered to be great! I have no doubt that she is!

What are the qualities of a good CEO today?

The role has changed. The time that the CEO was the top of a hierarchy of information has gone. Everyone has the same information now, so the CEO needs to think about the insights that his or her team need to implement their strategy, and to enhance performance sustainably.

It’s a risky world. What tools should leaders be leveraging to turn risk into opportunity for their business?

A combination of facts and data, with personal insights and experiences ensures the right conversations - and allows for the right outcomes. Do the right conversations happen? Are the difficult decisions implemented? Is the landscape scanned in a wide enough sweep? These are the questions one needs to be asking in order to assess risk.

Why is diversity in the workplace important?

FTSE 100 Board studies show that diverse boards are consistently achieving better results. Organisations with diverse leadership teams find the same; the great news about everyone bringing a different insight is that amazing things are often developed, discovered and executed. Is it sometimes harder to manage; yes, but I haven't met a CEO or valued senior leader yet, who doesn't enjoy rising to the challenge! In my experience, not only have we improved financials, but safety and environmental performance improvements have been impressive, as well as retention of and engagement of employees.

Who or what inspires you every day?

I like learning through and with people and to be helpful; to contribute. I connect people and things; capitalising on complex opportunities is a good challenge to rise to! Change in everything around us results in opportunities every day; it's a great reason to get up in the morning.


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