About the


This book is about a new kind of leadership in business.

The proposition is simple: to be a successful business leader in today’s world, you are expected to deliver societal value alongside financial value. Not one at the expense of the other. And doing that takes a new mindset: the ability to think like an activist about the role your business plays in the world.

Why we need a new kind of business leader

The issues facing the world aren’t “out there” beyond the business; they go right to the heart of a company’s ability to operate.

From climate change to inequality, this book looks at the issues where businesses play an inherent role – through their manufacturing processes, their workforces, supply chains, products and services, their footprint in the world. 

Businesses are typically seen as part of the problem; activist leaders set out to make them part of the solution.

How to think like an activist

The Activist Leader shows what it takes to do business in these challenging times. Case studies of companies such as Apple, Mastercard, Nestlé, and Maersk bring alive how to take on societal issues with a spirit of activism.

This is a practical book. It sets out how to think about it and how to go about doing it.

How to think like an activist

What does it mean to be an activist leader?

In the book, we hear the perspectives of leaders on activism:

“If I can be the activist then nobody needs to say “you need to do more”.”
Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva

“I think every leader ought to be an activist leader. Active leadership requires you to demonstrate the desire to make an impact on the things that matter.”
Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank

“To me, the activist part is being engaged, thoughtful, willing to take on these issues. Find where the real problem is and organise around it. Then it’s amazing what you can get done.”
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase

“Corporate America wants partial credit for showing their work but getting the wrong answer.”
Mellody Hobson, Chair of Starbucks

“Business will be a big driver of social value in the future – because it makes sense for the business but also because they can and there’s momentum in that direction.”
Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard

“We have a purpose, but we know that 85% of the ballgame is developing granular pathways on how we achieve that purpose.”
Sunny Verghese, CEO of Olam International