February 11, 2020, New York: Today, The B Team announced that Jesper Brodin, Chief Executive Officer of Ingka Group, and Jean Oelwang, Founding CEO and President of Virgin Unite, will join its collective of global leaders from business and civil society on the quest to create new norms of corporate leadership.
“We are pleased to be welcoming two new leaders to The B Team,” says Paul Polman, CEO (2009-2018) of Unilever and Chair of The B Team, “Both Mr. Brodin and Ms. Oelwang’s purpose-driven approach to leadership has helped the practice of stakeholder governance gain hold in the private sector. We look forward to working with them to continue to push radical collaboration in every sector.”
Mr. Brodin’s career with IKEA, began in 1995 in purchase management. He stepped into the role of CEO for Ingka Group in 2017. Under Mr. Brodin’s leadership, the company has committed to deliver to the IKEA ambition of becoming people and planet positive - taking actions in-line with this includes committing to only using recycled or renewable materials in IKEA products by 2030, running refugee inclusion employee programs across 30 markets, reaching near-gender balance in its management, pledging to reach 100% renewable energy use across facilities by 2020 and more.
For Mr. Brodin, none of these efforts would be possible without listening to the company’s employees. After taking on the role of CEO, he traveled around the world meeting with co-workers from managing directors to retail employees and learned that many held shared concerns and priorities around IKEA’s leadership. This dedicated time to listen, and transparency around follow-up efforts, was crucial to his holistic approach to sustainability leadership.
Now, more than ever, Mr. Brodin sees this as a time to put these insights into action. “Together we have a decade to prevent irreversible damage from climate change to the home we all share, the planet. I joined The B Team to spark real change–we need to take a positive, proactive and collaborative approach to turn the climate challenge into scalable solutions–together. It’s good business to be a good business and the time for talk is over. We will act, now,” he said.
In 2003, Ms. Oelwang joined forces with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin staff to create Virgin Unite—leaving her post as Co-CEO of Virgin Mobile Australia and serving as Virgin Unite’s founding CEO. In this capacity, Ms. Oelwang has helped incubate several organizations and leadership initiatives within Virgin Unite including The B Team, The Elders, Ocean Unite and the Carbon War Room.
In addition, Ms. Oelwang leads Virgin Unite and The B Team’s 100% Human at Work Network helping businesses move away from focusing solely on profit and toward helping people achieve their highest potential. Under her leadership, the 100% Human at Work Network has grown to 400 members around the world working to build a future of work that works for everyone.
Partnership is at the core of all of Ms. Oelwang’s Virgin ventures. “I’m honored to be joining a group of leaders who are committed to realizing a better way of doing business for humanity and the planet. I look forward to working collectively to tackle unacceptable issues, to heal divisions and to create an economic system that benefits all.”
Mr. Brodin and Ms. Oelwang join The B Team at a crucial time for the organization’s mission. With calls for an inclusive global economy growing louder, their appointments cement the need for radical collaboration among business, civil society and more to make this vision a reality.
“Mr. Brodin and Ms. Oelwang are inspiring examples of the partnership and holistic leadership this ‘decade of delivery’ requires. Whether it’s the climate crisis or the crisis of inequality, they’ve both helped build the cross-sector coalitions needed for a future that serves all,” B Team CEO Halla Tómasdóttir said, “We’re thrilled to welcome them to The B Team and work together to push for radical collaboration in every sector.”
For more information, please contact Tyler Zang via email@example.com. (New York).
About The B Team
The B Team is a global collective of business and civil society leaders working to create new norms of corporate leadership today, for a better tomorrow. Together, these leaders are holding themselves and their peers accountable for a new way of doing business—one that measures success not only by financial performance, but also by the health of people and our planet—for the benefit of generations to come.
The B Team was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, and includes Leaders Ajay Banga, Oliver Bäte, Marc Benioff, Jesper Brodin, Sharan Burrow, Kathy Calvin, David Crane, Emmanuel Faber, Christiana Figueres, Mats Granryd, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Yolanda Kakabadse, Isabelle Kocher, Guilherme Leal, Andrew Liveris, Indra Nooyi, Jean Oelwang, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, François-Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Mary Robinson, Ratan Tata, Hamdi Ulukaya, Zhang Yue and Professor Muhammad Yunus.