Leadership in the Field: Interviews with Global Leaders
By Russell Reynolds Associates with Roger O. Crockett
Gerard Kleisterlee, Chairman of mobile phone giant Vodafone, discusses the role of the board in different regions of the world, the relevance of cultural and gender differences, and the board’s impact on innovation.
For a glimpse of Kleisterlee’s views on leadership, watch the video below.
Gerard Kleisterlee is Chairman of London-based Vodafone Group Plc. If you are not from Europe, or if you don’t spend considerable time there, you might not know that Vodafone is the world’s second largest mobile phone operator with more than 400 million subscribers—roughly quadruple the number of subscribers served by Verizon Wireless, a company Vodafone owns 45% of. Kleisterlee became Chairman in July of 2011, serving as a non-executive member of the Board. He retired as President, CEO and Chairman of Philips Electronics N.V. (‘Philips’) in March 2011 after a career with Philips spanning three decades. Indeed, Kleisterlee has become one of the most prolific governance executives in Europe. In addition to his role at Vodafone, he has been a member of the Daimler AG Supervisory Board since 2009, a non-executive director of the Supervisory Board of Royal Dutch Shell since 2010. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Dell Inc.
Often on the road, Kleisterlee met with us in Vodafone’s Amsterdam offices. Our meeting came before Vodafone launched its current takeover bid for Germany’s biggest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland. But one wonders if Kleisterlee, given his expansive mind and Vodafone’s interest in dominating media services across Europe, might not have already been thinking about such deals. As tempting as it was to talk about wireless, instead we focused on another important subject: corporate governance. After all, Kleisterlee’s knowledge on the topic reaches nearly as far as he is tall. For a glimpse, play the video above or read the edited transcript that follows. (more…)