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Economy, Finance, Telecoms, Media and Technology

Tackling the Productivity Challenge

Cross-sector solutions for business and the economy

London |
Speakers include:
Martin Wolf CBE

Martin Wolf CBE

Financial Times

Helena  Morrissey DBE

Helena Morrissey DBE

Sir Michael  Arthur

Sir Michael Arthur

Boeing Europe


Productivity growth in the United Kingdom has been disappointing in recent years and the economy has suffered as a result. The country's decision to leave the European Union has precipitated a new period of uncertainty for businesses which could act as a further drag. The Financial Times conference on Tackling the Productivity Challenge will address concerns around economic policy, company culture, supply chain management and IT infrastructure investment. Crucially, the event will look at productivity from a business management perspective while also providing insights into the economics. 

fallback Add to my Calendar 10/13/2016 08:30:0010/13/2016 17:00:00trueTackling the Productivity ChallengeProductivity growth in the United Kingdom has been disappointing in recent years and the economy has suffered as a result. The country's decision to leave the European Union has precipitated a new period of uncertainty for businesses which could act as a further drag. The Financial Times conference on Tackling the Productivity Challenge will address concerns around economic policy, company culture, supply chain management and IT infrastructure investment. Crucially, the event will look at productivity from a business management perspective while also providing insights into the economics. Tackling-the-Productivity-Challenge192036fdfe819f5187ffeba201c7e1fdMM/DD/YYYY

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Speakers (19)

Martin Wolf CBE

Martin Wolf CBE

Chief Economics Commentator
Financial Times

Martin Wolf is Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 “for services to financial journalism”. He was a member of the UK government’s Independent Commission on Banking between June 2010 and September 2011. Mr Wolf is an honorary fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University and King’s College, London. He is also an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham. In 2014, he was made a University Global Fellow of Columbia University, and a Senior Fellow in Global Economic Policy at its School of International Public Affairs. He is a member of the International Media Council of the World Economic Forum.

Mr Wolf has been included in Foreign Policy’s list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2019, he received the Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished business and financial journalism. He has also won the Wincott Foundation senior prize for excellence in financial journalism, the RTZ David Watt memorial prize, the Journalism Prize of the Fundacio Catalunya Oberta (Open Catalonia Foundation), Commentator of the Year at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards, the “Ludwig-Erhard Preis für Wirtschaftspublizistik” (“Ludwig Erhard Prize for economic commentary”), and “Commentariat of the Year” at the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. The Society of American Business Editors and Writers recognised Mr Wolf in its Best in Business Journalism competition. He has also won the Ischia International Journalism Prize and the Overseas Press Club of America’s prize for “best commentary on international news in any medium”.

His most recent publications are Fixing Global Finance (Washington D.C: Johns Hopkins University Press, and London: Yale University Press, 2008 and 2010) and The Shifts and The Shocks: What we’ve learned – and have still to learn – from the financial crisis (London and New York: Allen Lane, 2014). Mr Wolf was educated at Oxford University. He has honorary doctorates from Kingston University, Macquarie University, the London School of Economics, Warwick University and KU Leuven.

Helena  Morrissey DBE

Helena Morrissey DBE

Head of Personal Investing, Legal & General Investment Management; Founder, 30% Club

Helena Morrissey has been Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General Investment Management since May 2017. Before this she was Chief Executive Officer of Newton Investment Management for 15 years, overseeing assets that more than doubled during her tenure. She joined Newton in 1994 as a fixed income fund manager and was appointed CEO in 2001. In 2016 she became Non-Executive Chairman. The previous year she was appointed to the UK’s Financial Services Trade and Investment Board, and in 2014 she became Chair of The IA, the UK’s industry trade body.

In 2010 Ms Morrissey founded the 30% Club, which lobbies for greater female representation on corporate boards. This has now become an international approach, with 30% Clubs in the US, Hong Kong, Ireland, East and Southern Africa, Australia and Malaysia. She also chairs Opportunity Now, Business in the Community’s gender diversity campaign. Ms Morrissey has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. In March 2017 she was names 'Person of the Year' in the FT's Boldness in Business Awards. In 2013 and 2014 she was voted one of the 50 Most Influential People in Finance globally by Bloomberg Markets. She is a Fellow of the Society of Investment Professionals, a Fellow of the London Business School and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants She was appointed DBE in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours list. A Cambridge philosophy graduate, she began her career with Schroders in New York. She is married with nine children.

Sir Michael  Arthur

Sir Michael Arthur

Boeing Europe

Sir Michael Arthur is president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland. He joined the company in September 2014 and succeeded the retiring Sir Roger Bone as president of Boeing UK and Ireland on 1 October 2014. He took on additional responsibilities for Europe in March 2016. Sir Michael leads the company’s European strategy and operations to drive business growth through strengthened regional alignment and improved operating efficiencies. He is also responsible for coordinating all Boeing business activities enterprise-wide in the United Kingdom and Ireland, working from the Boeing offices in central London. Before joining Boeing, Sir Michael spent three decades of international government service with the British Diplomatic Service of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) followed by three years as a founding member of a UK-based business consultancy. From 2007 to 2010, he was British ambassador to Germany. Between 2003 and 2007, he was British high commissioner to India. Sir Michael is also a Non-Executive Director of Diligenta (Tata Consultancy Services’ UK subsidiary), UK Chairman of the Königswinter Foundation, an association member of Bupa and a trustee of Orbis in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Sir Michael has a BSc in politics, philosophy and economics from Balliol College, Oxford. After graduating, he held a number of diplomatic posts in New York, Brussels, Paris, Bonn, London and Washington, D.C. These positions included FCO Director General, Director of Resources and Principal Finance Officer for the Diplomatic Service. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington D.C. during the last two years of the Clinton administration (1999-2001).

Mark Hutchinson

Mark Hutchinson

President and Chief Executive Officer
GE Europe

Mark Hutchinson is President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Europe, and a GE company officer. He is responsible for managing GE's European activities and leading the efforts to strengthen GE's operations across Europe. In addition, he retains his current position of Integration Leader for the Alstom transaction, GE’s largest-ever industrial acquisition with 65,000 employees. Prior to his appointment, Mr Hutchinson was President and CEO of GE Greater China, responsible for GE’s growth strategy and leading a team across manufacturing, sourcing, sales and other functions. During his tenure in China, Mr Hutchinson developed and executed a shared growth strategy for all the GE businesses helping to drive double-digit growth, year-over-year, under his leadership. Prior to joining GE China, he was president of GE Capital Real Estate, International where he led the Real Estate team in Europe and Asia successfully through a dramatic cycle. During his decade-long stint as a leader of GE’s capital markets team, Mr Hutchinson successfully led a host of complex transactions in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. Prior to joining GE, Mr Hutchinson was head of the Asian project advisory team, based in Hong Kong, for Barclays Merchant Bank. The successful privatisation of Western Harbour Crossing and the Route 3 Project, both key elements of Hong Kong’s infrastructure development, was a central accomplishment during his tenure. A native of England, Mr Hutchinson graduated from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia where he was awarded a Doctorate of Business.

Pauline Found

Pauline Found

Professor of Lean Operations Management
University of Buckingham

Pauline Found is a Professor of Lean Operations Management at the University of Buckingham. She was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC) at Cardiff University, where she worked for 9 years and was involved in a range of research, knowledge transfer, engagement and executive education projects and initiatives, as well as writing books and papers on Lean. Before joining LERC she held several management roles including purchasing, supply chain and operations planning in a major blue chip manufacturing company for 14 years. She is co-author of Staying Lean: Thriving not just Surviving for which she holds a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize (2009). She was President of the International POMS (Production and Operations Management Society) College of Behavior 2009-2011.She was educated at The Open University, Cardiff University and Bristol University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Operations Management (FIOM) and a Member of the American Society of Quality (ASQ). Professor Found holds a PhD, MBA, BSc (Hons), BA and a Postgraduate Diploma in environmental management.  

Ann Francke

Ann Francke

Chief Executive Officer
Chartered Management Institute

Ann Francke is the Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute, winner of the Louis Armstrong Award for outstanding leadership of a UK professional body 2016, and Author of: Financial Times Guide to Management: How to Make a Difference and Get Results. MsFrancke is a transformational leader with vision, pace and proven ability to deliver profitable growth and build organisational capability. At CMI, she uses her experience in leading organisations to promote best practices in management and leadership, and improve management standards across the UK and beyond. She has been named in the top 100 women to watch in the 2015 Female FTSE report from Cranfield and is an expert on current challenges facing women in the workplace. Ms Francke is a Strategic Advisor at Tongal and a Non-Exec at Grant Thornton International. She is also a member of the CRUK Women of Influence Board, WACL, MGGB and an advisory board member of Lancaster Management, Nottingham Trent and the Open University Business Schools. Prior to CMI MsFrancke was Global General Manager at the British Standards Institution, held executive board positions at Boots and Yell, and was European Vice President at Mars. She began her career at P&G and managed a variety of international brands including Pampers, Always and Olay before rising to global general manager. MsFrancke holds a BA with Distinction from Stanford, an MBA/MS from Columbia; Honorary Doctorates in Business Administration from UWE and Nottingham Trent Universities and a Doctor of the University from Oxford Brookes.

Sir Vince Cable

Sir Vince Cable

Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable is the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party and the current MP for Twickenham. Sir Vince was Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade (2010-2015). He was Member of Parliament for Twickenham 1997-2015; Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems 2007-2010 and Shadow Chancellor 2003-2010.

Before being elected to parliament, Sir Vince was Chief Economist for Shell International from 1995 to 1997

Jacqueline de Rojas

Jacqueline de Rojas


Jacqueline de Rojas is the President of techUK and sits as a Non-Executive Director on the board of UK technology business Rightmove plc. Also holds advisory roles on the boards of Digital Leaders and Accelerate-HER.

She believes the UK can seize its place as a digital nation of significance by attracting, growing and retaining talent and demonstrating that it is a country open for business to global markets.

Richard Kneller

Richard Kneller

Professor of Economics
University of Nottingham

Richard Kneller is a Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham. His research has centred on the determinants of firm level productivity, focusing on UK firms but has included those other OECD countries. A particular focus of his research has been the link with international trade and FDI and he has worked on issues such as the productivity gains from starting to export; the effects of foreign acquisition on the performance of acquired firms, including their productivity and R&D; and the search for FDI spillovers. A more recent strand of research has looked at the productivity determinants of ICT, including broadband on UK firms. He has authored over 60 academic papers in these areas and has acted as an external advisor to the UK Government, OECD and European Commission.

Stephen Bolton

Stephen Bolton

Group Controller

Stephen Bolton has nearly 35 years of business and finance experience. His first 24 years were spent in Unilever and the last 10 years in Diageo plc. During this time he has worked in both senior finance and supply chain roles, having spent time in investor relations, market and divisional supply chain and finance director roles, mergers and acquisitions, group accounting and audit risk and compliance. Whilst his experience is predominantly in consumer goods, he has also worked in soft drinks, animal feeds, plantations, medical products and packaging industries. Geographically, he has lived and worked in South East Asia and spent extended periods in North America, Brazil and Venezuela. In a number of his roles he was responsible for businesses with a global footprint. His current role is Group Controller of Diageo plc, being responsible for all financial and management reporting, business performance management and planning, business partnering support to the global functions and joint ventures and control, risk and compliance for the Group. Prior to this role he was Head of Audit Risk and Compliance for the Group. Mr Bolton is a qualified accountant and is married with one son.  He is a car enthusiast, plays golf badly and is a Governor of Southampton Solent University where he holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business.

Vlatka  Hlupic

Vlatka Hlupic

‘The Management Shift – How to Harness the Power of People and Transform your Organisation for Sustainable Success’

Vlatka Hlupic is an international award-winning thought leader and an author of a ground-breaking book 'The Management Shift - How to Harness the Power of People and Transform Your Organization for Sustainable Success', which was listed by Forbes as one of the top eight business books in 2014, shortlisted for the CMI Management Book of the Year Award and nominated for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. She was voted one of the 30 Most Influential HR Thinkers in the world by HR Magazine in 2015 and 2016 (ranked at position 14). She has won the Croatian Woman of Influence Award, the CMI Management Articles of the Year Award 2015, the Axiom Business Books Award and the Honorary Award from the Leadership Awards. She is a Professor of Business and Management at the University of Westminster, a former Adjunct Faculty at London Business School, a consultant for Said Business School, and a global faculty member of FT/IE Corporate Learning Alliance. She is also a Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Management Shift Consulting Ltd and the Drucker Society London, helping many organisations worldwide to shift their performance to a higher level.

Sushil Wadhwani CBE

Sushil Wadhwani CBE

Chief Executive Officer
Wadhwani Asset Management

Dr Sushil Wadhwani is currently Chief Executive Officer of Wadhwani Asset Management LLP and a partner of Caxton Associates. He was a full-time external member of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England between June 1999 and May 2002. From 1995-1999 he was Head of the Quantitative Systems Group, a member of the Management Committee and Partner at Tudor Proprietary Trading LLC. Dr Wadhwani was previously Director of Equity Strategy at Goldman Sachs International (1991-95) and before that Reader / Lecturer in Economics at the London School of Economics (1984-91). He was educated at the London School of Economics, where he obtained a BSc (Econ), MSc (Econ) and PhD (Econ). He is currently a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics as well as a Governor of the National Institute of Economic & Social Research and a member of the Scott Trust Ltd. board. Dr Wadhwani was designated a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2002.

Hamid Mughal OBE

Hamid Mughal OBE

Director, Global Manufacturing

Hamid Mughal is an internationally acclaimed manufacturing leader with over 28 years of experience in the automotive and aerospace Industries. During this period he has held senior positions in a variety of disciplines ranging from Product Engineering to Supply Chain Management. He joined Rolls-Royce in 2001 from BMW Group where he was Director of New Product Programmes.

In his current role as Director of Manufacturing, Rolls-Royce plc, Dr Mughal is responsible for leading the manufacturing activities and strategies across the company’s manufacturing base. This includes the development and deployment of manufacturing methods, standards, technologies, systems and lean practices to achieve Best in Class performance. He is also responsible for the professional development of the global manufacturing community in the company.

Dr Mughal has an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering, BA in Mathematics and Technology, MSc in Production Engineering & Management and a Doctorate in Manufacturing Systems.  He has a keen interest in the latest developments in manufacturing and supply chain management and contributes regularly to professional bodies in his capacity as Pro Chancellor University of Nottingham and External Professor at Manufacturing at Cranfield and Sheffield Universities. He is a Chartered Engineer, winner of the IET’s International Manufacturing Gold Medal, Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, IMechE and IET and a Board member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. 

Dr Mughal passionately believes in the social and economic value of Manufacturing. He plays a leading role in the advancement of competitive manufacturing by promoting collaborative programmes such as the Global network of Advanced Manufacturing Research Centres, the development & application of Lean Production Systems, The Future of Manufacturing project with the UK Government Office of Science and cross-sector education and training programmes for industrial leaders.

Dr Mughal received an OBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to Innovation, Technology and Manufacturing.

John Mills

John Mills


John Mills is an entrepreneur and economist who has long been involved with political affairs. He is the founder and Chairman of John Mills Limited (JML) which specialised is selling high volume consumer products using audio-visual methods of promoting their sale both in the UK and in many other countries – about 85 at the last count. His main interests as an economist are the UK’s relationship with the EU and the relatively poor performance of Western economies compared with those in the East. .Mr Mills was for many years a senior Labour elected member of both Camden Council, the London Borough’s Association and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and in the late 1980s he was Deputy Chairman of the London Dockland Development Corporation. He is currently Founder and Chairman of Labour Leave, the campaign which put forward the progressive left-leaning case for Brexit and successfully fought to get the UK out of the EU. Mr Mills is also Vice Chairman of the Economic Research Council and Chairman of the Pound Campaign, which seeks to reverse the decline of British industry and rebalance the UK economy. He is a frequent commentator on TV and radio and he has a large number of published books, articles, pamphlets and tracts to his credit.

Bjarte  Bogsnes

Bjarte Bogsnes

Vice President, Performance Management Development

Bjarte Bogsnes has had a long international career, both in Finance and HR. He is currently heading up the implementation of Beyond Budgeting at Statoil, Scandinavia’s largest company. Mr Bogsnes is Chairman of Beyond Budgeting Roundtable (BBRT).  He is a popular international business speaker and is the winner of a Harvard Business Review/McKinsey Management Innovation award. Mr Bogsnes is also author of "Implementing Beyond Budgeting - Unlocking the Performance Potential", in which he writes about his implementation experiences. In addition to his role at Statoil, Mr Bogsnes also undertakes select external consulting work.

Dave Coplin

Dave Coplin

Chief Envisioning Officer
Microsoft UK

Dave Coplin is author of two books on the need to rethink the usage of technology in the modern world. He is currently the Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK and an established thought leader on the role of technology in our personal and professional lives. He has worked across a wide range of industries and customers, providing strategic advice and guidance around the intersection of a modern society and technology both inside and outside of the world of work.

His first book: “Business Reimagined”, provided a view of a new working environment based on collaborative and flexible working. His latest book, “The Rise of the Humans” provides a further call to action, for both individuals and organisations to harness the digital deluge, to rise up and take back control of the potential that technology offers our society.

Alex Balbontin

Alex Balbontin

Global Head of Operational Excellence and Business Process Management
Credit Suisse

Alex Balbontin is currently the Global Head of Operational Excellence and Business Process Management at Credit Suisse. As part of his role, he is coordinating the Robotics Process Automation roll-out. He has deployed business improvement programs at two global investment banks: JPMorgan Chase (2000- 2005) and Credit Suisse (2005-present), re-engineering ‘Front-to-Back’ (F2B) strategic investment bank processes with an impact of USD 150M (expense and revenue enhancement), contributing to their improvement strategy through project selection and execution, staff recruitment, management and development. As an experienced Lean Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB), Mr Balbontin has trained 50+ senior executives, certified 40+ Black Belts and 200+ Green Belts. Mr Balbontin holds a B.Sc. in Industrial & Systems Engineering, an M.Sc, and Doctorate in Engineering Business Management. He has 20 years Six Sigma experience gained in the UK, Continental Europe, the US, LATAM and APAC. Prior working at Credit Suisse, he spent 3 years at General Electric: as Quality Program Manager (MBB) and Supplier Development Engineer in Appliances. He was the first MBB in GE LATAM. Other experience includes 3 years in the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, where he introduced Lean Sigma training and lectured in Quality Management, Time Compression and Concurrent Engineering for postgraduate education programs, as well as 5 years at JPMorgan Chase as EMEA Productivity and Quality Leader in Treasury Securities Services covering 6,000 employees. Mr Balbontin is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage (IJSSCA), and of the European Society of Concurrent Engineering (ESoCE).    

Kalyan Ram  Madabhushi

Kalyan Ram Madabhushi

Global General Manager, Petrochemicals
Royal Dutch Shell

Kalyan Ram Madabhushi has been a Global General Manager of Petrochemicals at Shell since 2011. He was instrumental in numerous innovative product launches in the solvents industry over the last two decades and has helped turned the business into a highly profitable one for Shell. Mr Madabhushi has spent more than 20 years in the chemicals industry, most recently in the Netherlands from 2006 to present. He also worked in Singapore from 1995 to 2006 in various capacities and under diverse cultural environments. These included running Asia-Pacific and Middle-East businesses to Europe and Africa, and now globally. Mr Madabhushi has been President of the Board of Shell Chemicals NE Europe, Chairman of European Industry Association (FFIG) and has worked closely with Singapore Economic Development Board regarding FTA agreements. In his spare time, Mr Madabhushi coaches/mentors young entrepreneurs in the Netherlands and has contributed to leadership lectures as visiting faculty for business schools and student communities in France, Singapore and the Netherlands. Mr Madabhushi is a mechanical engineer and has a Masters in International Business. He continued his learning with Executive Execution at Oxford (Business Economics) and IMD, Switzerland (Leadership Development).        

Ben Dowd

Ben Dowd

Business Director

Ben Dowd is one of O2’s longest standing directors. During his 17 years with the telecommunications company, He has been instrumental in moving the business from solely mobile into the ICT space. Flexible working, data mobility, consumer technology and network IT are driving transformable change in every size of business and he believes that O2 is uniquely placed to take advantage of that change. Mr Dowd is responsible for the end-to-end running of the business organisation at O2, including SOHO, small businesses, and corporate, as well as multinational customers. He also has responsibility for sales, marketing and the complete customer experience for business customers across all of O2’s direct and indirect channels. 


Chaired by (4)

Martin Sandbu

Martin Sandbu

European Economics Commentator
Financial Times

Martin Sandbu has been writing about economics for the FT since 2009, when he joined the paper as Economics Leader Writer. He now writes the FT's Free Lunch. Before joining the FT, he worked in academia and policy consulting. He has taught and carried out research at Harvard, Columbia and the Wharton School, and has advised governments and NGOs on natural resources and economic development. He is the author of two books, one on business ethics and one on the eurozone, and has degrees from Oxford and Harvard.

Michael Skapinker

Michael Skapinker

FT Frequent Flyer columnist
Peggy Hollinger

Peggy Hollinger

International Business Editor
Financial Times

Peggy Hollinger was appointed the FT’s industry editor in September 2014. Prior to this, she had been a leader writer since September 2011. Ms Hollinger has also held the positions of the Paris bureau chief and Paris correspondent. Before that she was a UK company news editor and the retail correspondent. Joining the FT in 1987, she has also covered UK utilities and oil and gas and written for Lex. She graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with an honours degree in history.

Gavyn Davies

Gavyn Davies

Fulcrum Asset Management

Fulcrum Asset Management was founded by Gavyn and Andrew Stevens in 2004, and the firm specialises in hedge funds, asset allocation and managed accounts driven by mainly macro themes. Gavyn studied economics at St. John's College, Cambridge and Balliol College Oxford from 1969-74. He was an Economic Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street from 1974-79. He then pursued a career as a City economist, first with Phillips and Drew (1979-81), then with Simon and Coates (1981-86). He was Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs from 1986-2001 and was repeatedly ranked as the top global economist in surveys of institutional investors. He was Chairman of the BBC from 2001-04. He is a partner at Active Private Equity. He has been an adviser to HM Treasury (1992-97) and a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics (1988-96). He has received honorary doctorates or fellowships from five UK universities.


Agenda - 13th Oct

  • 8:30am
  • 9:10am
    Opening remarks from FT Co-chairs

    Martin Sandbu, Economics Writer, Free Lunch, Financial Times

    Michael Skapinker, Associate Editor, Financial Times

  • 9:20am
    Panel: Exploring the economics of productivity

    It is said that productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. This session will look at the broader dynamics of productivity and help stakeholders to improve their understanding of its importance on both a micro and macro-level.

    • What are the criteria for measuring national productivity and how subjective are they?
    • What have been the major drags on productivity growth and living standards in the past decade?
    • How are demographic change, inequality and sovereign indebtedness affecting productivity?
    • What are the most significant national skill-shortages holding back productivity growth?
    • Is the national living wage good or bad for productivity?
    • What will be the short and long term impact of Brexit on UK productivity?

    Sir Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 2010-2015

    Richard Kneller, Professor of Economics, University of Nottingham   

    Sushil Wadhwani  CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Wadhwani Asset Management

    Moderated by Gavyn Davies OBE, Chairman, Fulcrum Asset Management

  • 10:10am
    Keynote address: Achieving constant improvement through supply chain management and innovation

    This industry keynote will explore the challenges and opportunities of embracing innovation in manufacturing processes and supply chain management, setting higher standards for productivity while meeting today’s customer demands and tomorrow’s technological improvement requirements.

    Sir Michael Arthur, President, Boeing Europe

  • 10:40am
    Morning refreshments
  • 11:10am
    Panel: Unlocking business productivity drivers

    Maximising productivity is the key to maximising profit, making it a priority for all businesses. Managers under pressure to find the right balance on decisions affecting output have a lot to gain from improving their understanding of the dynamics of productivity in a business environment.  

    • What are the most important productivity-related metrics for shareholders?
    • What are the benefits and drawbacks of trying to boost productivity through outsourcing?
    • Invest or cut? Dealing with big decisions that may impact productivity
    • Working with government and the public to promote productivity-boosting reforms
    • How are wages and productivity linked and how do businesses find the right balance?
    • How has Six Sigma evolved?

    Stephen Bolton, Group Controller, Diageo

    Pauline Found, Professor of Lean Operations Management, University of Buckingham

    John Mills, Chairman, JML

    Helena Morrissey CBE, Chair, Newton, Chair of the Investment Association, Founder, 30% Club

    Moderated by Michael Skapinker, Associate Editor, Financial Times

  • 12:00pm
    Panel: People and productivity – Building and managing a productive workforce

    Labour costs are one of the largest outlays for businesses, and the challenge of maximising efficiency in operations is a constant pressure. At the same time, investment into workforce development can reap big rewards, so finding the right balance is a key strategic challenge.

    • The role of leadership and communication in getting the best out of employees
    • What are the benefits of dynamic workforce planning and workforce analytics?
    • Why should a business focus on internal skills development over hiring pre-trained staff?
    • What are the most common mistakes made by businesses when managing welfare, disciplinary, performance and attendance issues?
    • How can important are pay and reward schemes in maximising productivity?
    • What options are available to minimise the impact of staff cuts on productivity?

    Bjarte Bogsnes, Vice President, Performance Management Development, Statoil

    Ann Francke, Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Management Institute

    Vlatka Hlupic, Author, ‘The Management Shift – How to Harness the Power of People and Transform your Organisation for Sustainable Success’

    Kalyan Ram Madabhushi, Global General Manager, Royal Dutch Shell

    Moderated by Martin Sandbu, Economics Writer, Free Lunch, Financial Times

  • 12:50pm
    Networking lunch
  • 1:50pm
    Reinventing productivity: Empowering the future of work

    The 20th century approach to work and life is unsustainable in a new era where smart devices and infinite data compete for our time and attention. Without fundamentally changing our definition of productivity and our working habits, the ability to work smarter is simply untenable, leaving only the prospect of working harder in order to survive. This session will focus on reinventing productivity, turning it into something that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.  

    Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft UK

  • 2:20pm
    Panel: Investing in technology to improve productivity

    Investing in enabling technologies and integrating them into business models holds many challenges. Emerging technologies with the potential to disrupt whole industries face particular scrutiny, including questions and concerns about the wider socio-economic impact.

    • The great unknown – measuring the true impact of technology on overall economic productivity
    • Which technologies have the most potential to boost productivity across all business sectors?
    • Which industries are getting the biggest boost in productivity from technology and innovation?
    • How could replacing humans with machines end up having a negative impact on productivity?
    • How are consumer innovations impacting overall economic productivity?
    • Is the "productivity paradox" backed by evidence?
    • How may increased connectivity and smart cities improve productivity?

    Jacqueline de Rojas, President, techUK 

    Alex Balbontin, Global Head of Operational Excellence and Business Process Management, Credit Suisse

    Ben Dowd, Business Director, O2

    Hamid Mughal OBE, Director, Global Manufacturing, Rolls-Royce

    Moderated by Michael Skapinker, Associate Editor, Financial Times

  • 3:10pm
    Afternoon refreshments
  • 3:30pm
    View from the top: How digital is transforming industrial productivity and growth

    Mark Hutchinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Europe 

    Interviewed by Peggy Hollinger, industry Editor, Financial Times

  • 4:10pm
    Why is productivity growth so slow and will this change?

    The FT's Chief Economics Commentator discusses the reasons behind the decline in productivity growth and an assessment of potential solutions. 

    Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

  • 4:55pm
    Closing remarks

    Martin Sandbu, Economics Writer, Free Lunch, Financial Times

    Michael Skapinker, Associate Editor, Financial Times

Why attend

  • Discuss the key productivity challenges for businesses in your industry    
  • Explore unconventional ways of adapting your business to boost productivity
  • Understand the macroeconomics of productivity and how it applies to individual businesses
  • Assess the risks of attempting to boost productivity through technological transformation  
  • Hear from experts in business strategy, workforce development and operational management

Who attends

Tackling the Productivity Challenge is a cross-sector event designed for business professionals including

Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Economist, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Manufacturing Officer, Chief Personnel Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Head of Output, Head of Performance Management, Head of Workforce Intelligence, Head of Workforce Planning, Head of Workforce Strategy, Head of Workforce Analytics, Head of Talent Management, Head of Training and Recruitment, Head of Business Strategy, Head of Business Planning, Head of Training and Recruitment plus Six Sigma black belts/leaders

with responsibilities in the following areas:

  • Business strategy
  • Supply chain management
  • Workforce development
  • Operations
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9 Little Trinity Lane
London EC4V 2AD
Tel: 020 7248 3923



The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT has a record paying readership of one million, three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions. It is part of Nikkei Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global business community.


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Contact Us

Toby Saunders
Sponsorship Opportunities
Financial Times
Funmbi Adenubi
Delegate Booking and Registration Enquiries
Financial Times
Ciaran Larkin
Speaking Opportunities
Financial Times Live
Philippa Howard
Media Partner and Press Enquiries
Financial Times