Do businesses exist to make profits, or to serve a purpose? This talk will present rigorous evidence showing there need be no trade-off between purpose and profit, contrary to conventional wisdom. It will then turn to the practical 'so what?'. How can we embed purpose in the heart of business so that it extends far beyond a mission statement.
The talk will highlight how change cannot be piecemeal but involves holistic reform across many dimensions of a company.
Alex Edmans is the Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Business at Gresham College and Professor of Finance at London Business School.
He completed his BA in Economics and Management at Merton College, University of Oxford, and did his PhD in Finance as a Fulbright Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In 2007, Professor Edmans joined The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, as an Assistant Professor of Finance and then was promoted to a tenured Associate Professor.
Working at the intersection of academia and practice, Professor Edmans is an expert on corporate finance (including executive compensation, corporate governance, investment, growth and innovation), behavioural finance and investing, and corporate social responsibility.
Professor Edmans is the current Managing Editor of the Review of Finance, the leading academic finance journal in Europe. He has published his research in leading academic journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics and Review of Financial Studies. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and Huffington Post.
Professor Edmans serves as the Academic Director of LBS Centre for Corporate Governance, and more generally is a pioneer in corporate governance reform – in particular, embedding purpose into the heart of business and encouraging companies to think long-term. He has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos, testified in the UK Parliament, and presented to the World Bank Board of Directors under their Distinguished Speaker Series. By the time of his appointment, his TEDx talks The Social Responsibility of Business (April 2015) and From Post-Truth to Pro-Truth (May 2017) has attracted a combined 145,000 views.
Professor Edmans is a winner of the Rising Star of Corporate Governance Award, Rising Star of Finance Award, and appeared on the 2017 Poets and Quants Best 40 Under 40 Professors list. He has also collected a raft of teaching and innovation awards from London Business School, including the LBS Best Teacher Award from the MBA 2016 graduating class, as well as 14 teaching awards in his 6 years at Wharton.
He is passionate about making finance research available and understandable for a non-academic audience so that it influences the way people think and act. Appointed the Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Business in 2018, this is Professor Edmans’ first lecture series at Gresham College. He will be focusing on The Role of Business in Society.