Imperial College Business School and Citi Launch New Centre to Help Create Next Generation of Responsible Business Leaders


Imperial College Business School will help businesses redefine their approach to leadership through the work of a new research centre, launched in collaboration with Citi. The Centre for Responsible Leadership aims to help businesses and organisations identify practices that will improve their approach to leadership and boost overall performance. Drawing on both academic theory and business practice, the new centre will focus on generating meaningful change in businesses through evidence-based research that addresses the key economic, social, environmental and technological challenges facing organisations today.

These challenges include how companies need to rethink the way they conduct business following the novel coronavirus crisis. Other areas include the role of leadership in mitigating damage to the environment, and how leaders can provide opportunities to increase equality, inclusiveness and diversity in their employment practices.

The failure of some companies and leaders to behave ethically, including creating social purpose that goes beyond profit, is another area that are looking to be addressed through this initiative. The centre aims to help leaders leverage the opportunities made available through digital transformation, including the use of AI, machine learning, blockchain and robotics.

Professor David Gann, Director of the Centre for Responsible Leadership at Imperial College Business School said: “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for more responsible leaders has never been greater, as companies, government and organisations are forced to re-think their whole operations, from their style of leadership to the role they play in the wider community. This research centre will draw on Imperial’s reputation for innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology to help businesses implement more effective styles of leadership so they can thrive in times of uncertainty.”

The research from the centre will take the form of case studies and analysis of data, focusing on styles of leadership and how they are implemented across organisations. It will include issues such as experiences of moral distress amongst employees. The research will draw on data from the new Leonardo Centre at Imperial College Business School and it will work with the World Economic Forum. The centre’s remit also includes the creation of a new development programme for both senior executives and future business leaders.

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London said: “Imperial’s immense strengths in data analytics, artificial intelligence, organisational behaviour and entrepreneurship will provide the backbone for improving corporate leadership and practices. The partnership with Citi will build upon our synergistic insights and expertise to make a difference for society.”

Naveed Sultan, Global Head, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Imperial College Business School on this exciting and vitally important initiative. Our experience of the financial crisis has provided us with valuable lessons for how firms can survive a major crisis by adopting a more ethical approach to leadership. It also helps contribute to the broader ESG agenda, which is of increasing importance for all organisations. We look forward to sharing our insights and drawing on Imperial’s research excellence to come up with solutions for our global network of clients and partners who are seeking to transform leadership within their organisations.”

The research of the centre will be categorised under the following themes:

  • Excellence in leadership – exploring how to change the culture of an organisation and support its transition to new models of leadership
  • Disruptive technologies – when the potential of new technologies is undermined by its socio-economic context
  • Public realm – when safeguarding public good collides with privacy rights and private incentives
  • Business decisions – when ethically sound choices collide with shareholder interests

In April 2021 Imperial College Business School will be hosting its annual conference on the theme of responsible business. The annual conference brings together academics and industry leaders to debate the key challenges facing businesses and society.

For further information on The Centre for Responsible Leadership visit the Imperial College Business School’s website.

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