CEO Today - May 2023

January 2023

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STAY CONNECTED! Follow us on: CEO TODAY Copyright 2023 Circulation details can be found at The views expressed in the articles within CEO Today are the contributors’ own, nothing within the announcements or articles should be construed as a profit forecast. All rights reserved. Material contained within this publication is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the prior permission of CEO Today. Disclaimer: Images used in this edition have been done so under the creative commons licenses. For details, see links below. Editor’s Note. May 2023 6

Mark Palmer Editor Greetings from CEO Today magazine! As we enter a new month, we are thrilled to bring you another exciting issue packed with exclusive insights and perspectives from top business leaders and industry experts. At CEO Today, our mission is to provide you with the latest trends, strategies, and thought leadership to inspire and empower you in your leadership role. 7 In this issue, we delve into a diverse range of topics that are shaping the business landscape. From the importance of leadership in a rapidly changing world, we provide in-depth analysis and practical advice to help CEOs stay ahead of the curve. We also feature exclusive interviews with CEOs and executives from various industries, including film, providing valuable insights into their experiences, challenges, and successes. In addition, we have a fascinating interview with Dr. Mihai Manolache, CEO of CEBIS International, who explains how his ‘Mission to Better Healthcare’ has changed patients’ lives for the better. On behalf of the CEO Today team, I would like to thank our readers, contributors, and partners for your continued support. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality content to help you stay informed, inspired, and equipped to navigate the dynamic world of business leadership. Thank you for being part of the CEO Today community. We hope you find this issue insightful and valuable in your journey as a CEO. 32. 66. 52. 44. The 5 Most Popular Crypto Influencers on Social Media An Interview With Mark Murphy Decision Behaviour: The key to unlocking the modern business Conservatorium Hotel Experience Amsterdam in Style Best wishes,

CONTENTS. May 2023 18. A Mission to Better Healthcare 26. The Insurance Broker Market in Sweden 32. An Interview With Mark Murphy 36. A Conversation with Stephen Taylor 44. The 5 Most Popular Crypto Influencers on Social Media 52. Decision Behaviour: The key to unlocking the modern business 56. Businesses Prioritise Employee Compensation Despite Financial Pressures 62. Conservatorium Hotel: Experience Amsterdam in Style 8

62. 44. 26. 18. 9

10 The Stories Everyone’s been Talking about News. May 2023 10

MFS Africa partners Access Bank to enable outward remittances from Kenya and Nigeria. MFS Africa, the largest digital payments network in Africa, operating in over 35 African countries, has partnered with Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest bank which operates across 17 markets, to expand AccessAfrica remittance corridors. AccessAfrica is Access Bank’s service that allows customers to conveniently transfer and receive money across the world from loved ones and business partners. The partnership will provide simplified transfers for AccessAfrica customers, enabling real-time, costeffective cross-border payments for individuals and businesses who want to send financial support to their families abroad or facilitate trade transactions. AccessAfrica customers will also be able to receive payments from all over the world through MFS Africa partners. Commenting on the partnership with MFS Africa, Senior Banking Advisor, Retail, Access Bank, Robert Giles said, “This partnership builds on the existing cross-border payment infrastructure by Access Bank and would facilitate payments to more African corridors, increasing the number of countries we can send instant payments through Access Africa to. Our partnership with MFS Africa and access to hundreds of millions of people in the new markets will help our customers pay and be paid, facilitating greater economic inclusion through trade as well as helping families across borders. Critically this propels us closer towards being ‘Africa’s gateway to the world’ and democratizing access to payments through affordable, safe and reliable platforms. “The partnership reaffirms MFS Africa’s commitment to making borders matter less for individuals and organisations across the continent, ultimately fostering financial inclusion. Through this partnership we’ll be expanding Access instant outbound remittance reach to potentially 400 million mobile wallets and more than 130 banks across over 35 African countries, enabling thousands of people and businesses throughout the continent to receive payments in real time from Nigeria, and improving convenience for and facilitating trade with the neighbouring countries and beyond. Uplifting the African continent through sustainable and accessible financial services has always been at the center of what we do at MFS Africa. Partnering with Access Bank, who shares this ethos, made complete sense,” says Dare Okoudjou, CEO at MFS Africa. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, migrant workers sent over US$95 billion to and within Africa in 2021, benefiting over 200 million family members, majority of whom live in rural areas. Through accessing MFS Africa’s hub, Access Bank will be able to send remittances and payments to MFS Africa’s footprint of over 400 million mobile money wallets, and over 200 million bank accounts across more than 35 African markets. THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP

MANPOWERGROUP UK SUSPENDS ACTIVITY WITH THE CBI In light of the recent controversy surrounding the CBI, Manpowergroup issued the following press release; ManpowerGroup UK is deeply concerned with the serious allegations raised against the CBI and suspends all activity with the business lobby group effective immediately. As the investigation is ongoing, we will continue to monitor the situation and will review our membership accordingly. Intergiro and Incharge Join Forces to Make Banking Easier for Students in Europe 17th April, 2023: Stockholm, Sweden - Intergiro, a Banking as a Service (BaaS) platform, has partnered with financial service provider Incharge to launch a new banking app designed to make financial services easier and more accessible for students in Europe. The Incharge app is free of charge and will offer students the convenience of managing their finances from their smartphones. Students can effortlessly open an account through the app, eliminating the need for paperwork and long wait times — all that is required is a passport or national ID card. The user-friendly mobile banking app delivers a range of financial services, including current accounts, virtual and physical cards that facilitate spending in over 130 currencies, and insightful analytics on spending patterns to help students better comprehend their financial habits. Nick Root, Intergiro’s CEO, commented on the partnership: “Joining forces with Incharge, we are excited to support their goal of making financial services more accessible for students. Leveraging our comprehensive Banking as a Service platform, Incharge can concentrate on delivering a top-notch user experience, allowing users to transfer funds instantly and without any fees. We are confident that this alliance will transform the way young individuals handle their finances.” Enrique Espinosa, Director of Incharge, shared his excitement: “This collaboration between Intergiro and Incharge demonstrates how technology continues to make banking increasingly accessible and convenient. In addition to offering an innovative and secure solution, Incharge is working diligently to produce informative content that help students save money and develop sound financial habits. Our goal is to inspire and empower the next generation to confidently navigate their financial futures.” Besides offering user-friendly financial services, the partnership between Intergiro and Incharge also emphasizes robust security measures. These include two-factor authentication (2FA) and biometric login methods for enhanced protection. The app is equipped with built-in fraud prevention systems that monitor transactions around the clock. Furthermore, the app enhances the user experience by enabling card tokenization through Apple Pay and, starting from June 2023, Google Pay. To explore how you can integrate financial services into your platform or product using Intergiro’s BaaS platform, please visit the company’s website at THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP

Nearly half of UK businesses considering redundancies in 2023 according to new research A new LHH global survey of over 2,500 HR Directors at large companies reveals that the majority are planning on laying off staff or going on a hiring freeze this year LONDON, 26th April 2023 – Nearly half (43%) of UK businesses have recently completed or plan to make layoffs and redundancies in 2023, according to new research from LHH, the world’s leading talent development and career solutions company. A further 29% of UK businesses admitted that they are unsure at this point if they will be making redundancies, and 18% said while they have no plans to layoff staff, they are on a hiring freeze. Just 8% of UK businesses confirmed that they will definitely not make any redundancies this year and are not on a hiring freeze. The research was conducted for LHH via an independent survey by Censuswide of over 2,500 HR Directors at companies with over 500 employees, across the UK, USA, France, Canada and Australia. 500 HR Directors from the UK were surveyed. Almost half (47%) of UK companies considering redundancies this year said that more than a fifth of their workforce could be subject to layoffs. 14% even revealed plans to let over 30% of their workforce go, and 34% said they have plans to layoff between 11-20% of their workforce. The research follows workforce disruption in sectors such as technology, where some of the industry’s largest players have collectively laid off over 150,000 workers in response to slow economic growth and a need to cut costs. THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP



19 THE CEO INTERVIEW A Mission to Better Healthcare: How Medication Adherence Interventions Can Change Patients’ Lives and Make the Healthcare System Better Dr. Mihai Manolache President & CEO of CEBIS International CEO Today recently had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Mihai Manolache, the President & CEO of CEBIS International, a Swiss-based multinational company specializing in healthcare services and nationwide medication adherence initiatives. The article addresses medication adherence interventions, their role in changing patients' lives, and why it's a concern when individuals cannot/ are unable to take their recommended medications. Although it may surprise the reader that patients do not adhere to their medication regime - Dr. Manolache sheds light on this. 20 if patients cannot afford them, they choose other life necessities, such as putting food on the table, rather than paying for their medications. Hence, money is a factor. Equally, patients frequently dislike the side effects of the drugs. As such, they choose not to take them and often do not believe they should be taking the prescriptions. They don’t feel the meds will work for them, or someone has told them not to take them, or there may be cultural reasons why they believe the medication is harmful to them, so they don’t take it. There are also other inadvertent reasons why individuals may not take their prescriptions. Occasionally they forget. Being You stated that there are numerous reasons why individuals do not take their prescription drugs. What are some of the underlying reasons for this? Thus, I suppose I would say that they fall into two categories: people who intentionally do not take their drugs and those who do so unintentionally. As a result, it is becoming increasingly common for patients not to be treated for their diseases. Medicines are expensive; humans, we all forget from time to time. Sometimes it’s because patients don’t realize that they were expected to take that tablet every day or that they were required to continue taking it after the bottle ran out and they were given a replacement. And there are other inadvertent causes. Suppose their medication regimen is complex, and they are required to take tablets numerous times per day and in various combinations. In that case, they may forget to take them, occasionally owing to additional ailments they may have which compound this. Possibly, they are suffering from dementia. Due to their confusion, people may forget or be unaware that they are meant to take their meds. Or perhaps they have visual impairments. They may not be able to see how much insulin they are drawing into their syringe to administer it appropriately. Or maybe they have arthritis in their hands, which prevents them from opening their bottles. Perhaps they are unable to divide the pills; thus, there are generally multiple explanations and not just one. Usually, a combination of factors culminates in a patient’s refusal to adhere to their prescription schedule. Dr. Mihai Manolache President & CEO of CEBIS International About Mihai Manolache I’ve worked in the healthcare system for seventeen years, and I was genuinely surprised by just how common a problem it is for patients not to take their medication as prescribed. For many years, I assumed that patients were taking their medicine and would wonder why some patients didn’t improve with their treatments until I realized that half of the patients on chronic medications were not taking them as prescribed. Clearly, not adhering to a prescribed regimen poses a serious concern. There are numerous causes for this, but the repercussions on patients’ health are phenomenal, as they are more likely to develop diseaserelated difficulties and disabilities or even die. In addition to being detrimental to patients, it is also harmful to society. Hundreds of billions of dollars are lost annually on hospitalizations or support for disabled persons who have contracted diseases due to noncompliance with their medication. 21 THE CEO INTERVIEW Mihai Manolache 21 the medication and allowing their disease to progress is undesirable and that taking the medication has the benefits of controlling the disease, slowing its progression, and reducing the risk of developing complications related to the disease. So, the values are essential. I must acknowledge that we must encourage patients to stick to their meds; therefore, everyone must see the benefit in this. The second need is that it be practical. So, it must be practical for patients to take their drugs. As I have stated, this entails ensuring that they can afford it and that the routine is straightforward. For example, children should take once-daily pills, making their regimen simple. Patients are also people with busy lives; thus, it must fit into their schedules. So, you should provide them with pillboxes that have their pills organized for the week so that it is simple for them to remember and have them located in a convenient location. At the same time, they brush their teeth, for example. Thus, it must be tailored to their way of life, and we have accomplished this. Your organization has accomplished numerous innovative programs. Some are extremely practical, while others are hightech. They are facilitating clinicians’ efforts to ensure that patients take their medication. Please explain some of the practical and high-tech approaches you’ve implemented. Sure. The way I see it, and the way CEBIS International has viewed this issue, is that if you want to change someone’s behavior and get them to do anything, you must meet what I call the three pillars of success. It’s the same three things, and you must pay close attention. Thus, you must first ensure that there is value. Patients must recognize the importance of taking their medications; therefore, they must be educated as to why not taking Additionally, you want patients to be able to monitor the efficacy of their medications, so one of the things we’ve done at CEBIS is to provide patients with different monitoring gadgets. Hence, hypertensive patients can take readings, people with diabetes can monitor their glycemia, and by just connecting the monitors to the internet, they will upload their data into our database, eliminating the need for them to call and receive the same information. And they are not required to see us to provide the medical readings. That is convenient for them because they can accomplish it by simply plugging in a smart device. Hence, this is the second factor, and the third factor is trust. You must establish a relationship of trust with patients. They must accept anything you say as grounded in science and with the patient’s best interests at heart. It is telling that nurses are more trusted than physicians and

22 Dr. Mihai Manolache President & CEO of CEBIS International pharmacists. Year after year, nurses are the most trusted profession in the world of medicine. Therefore, it is imperative that nurses be a member of the care team to continue reinforcing the message that it is vital to follow the prescribed drug regimen. So, this is quite significant. So part of what you’ve discussed pertains more to outpatient care. What about inpatient physicians and hospital-based care teams? How can they respond? Nowadays, a distinct team of physicians and staff cares for the patient in the hospital than the team who will see them for follow-up care. Hence, there is a propensity to just transfer the patient. To that follow-up team, the primary care physician or referring physician, I believe it is their job to take care of the patient thereafter. In contrast, as you’ve heard today if the inpatient team focuses on ensuring that the handoff is successful and not mishandled, they can ensure that the patient receives complete and thorough education at

23 THE CEO INTERVIEW the time of discharge and then contact the patient after discharge to ensure that they got the pills they were supposed to be taking and that they’re taking them correctly. Proper handover and follow-up can have a significant impact on drug adherence, lowering adverse events and decreasing readmissions. Clearly, follow-up is critical to the success of adherence. The other issue I was curious about was whether or not the patient was ultimately responsible for taking these medications. They make the decisions. What recommendations do you have for patients and individuals regarding pharmaceutical use? What is their function? Well, it is the responsibility of both the patient and the medical and care provider team to collaborate. You know, I may have given the impression that the doctor is ordering you to take these medications. You are familiar with the phrase, “Here you go.” Yet, a dialogue is genuinely required. It must be a two-way dialogue to determine what are the greatest remedies for a specific issue, and if meds are involved, what are the most suitable medications? Actually, it is essential that we comprehend the patient’s factual life circumstances. Do they have money problems? Do they have challenges with pill opening or transportation, or do these social issues need to be communicated to the physician and discussed? So, if the physician does not inquire, it is the patient’s responsibility to communicate effectively. There must be a conversation about if there are any adverse effects that patients are particularly concerned about. Is sexual dysfunction a cause for concern among hypertension patients? Or are there cultural explanations? Do they believe that their hot or cold medications should not be taken in conjunction with specific diseases? This must be communicated to the physician if they are not asking; hence, patients must speak out. Public health is the final group that I believe plays a part in this. What role has public health had in enhancing drug adherence? Public health plays a significant role because it affects towns and counties nationwide. So, they can find gaps in care, challenges, or disparities in care across a community and implement large-scale interventions, which is well beyond what we could accomplish as a company. We look at our Medication Adherence Programs. You’re aware that we’re attempting to save lives, reduce fatalities, Mihai Manolache

24 Dr. Mihai Manolache President & CEO of CEBIS International healthcare has been viewed in the past, and we have been successful. However, we still have a long way to go before we reach our goal, which is to personalize the healthcare system to work for each patient. Not just related to medications but also to the diet required for various diseases, mental health, and physical exercise. Our patients are quite satisfied with us and impressed that someone is responsible for them after they leave the doctor’s office. We like to believe that by being close to our patients and reacting to their needs, we are improving their lives. Our medical call center is in constant communication with patients who join our programs. Our nurses are always accessible for face-toface interventions, and our care coaches consult with patients and doctors regarding their requirements, medications, diet, and mental health. Our effect on changing patients’ lives is enormous, and the results are astounding. We recognize that this is our mission and strive to achieve exceptional outcomes for our initiatives. improve outcomes and quality of life, and we’ve developed services ranging from the most basic to the most complicated. Since 2015, we have undertaken a number of extremely challenging medication adherence programs with astounding success rates: over 95% adherence rates for diseases that had only 25-30% adherence prior to the implementation of medication adherence programs. We operate in 29 countries across Europe, the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, and China. We performed extensive programs in Eastern Europe and assisted over 80,000 patients, which is the equivalent of nearly an entire city. In all of our medication adherence initiatives, we integrated technology and human engagement in a way that was individualized for each patient, addressing needs and providing assistance to boost medication adherence and alter health outcomes. In a few countries, regional and national recognition of CEBIS activity exists. We have collaborated with healthcare professionals and public health authorities to change how

25 THE CEO INTERVIEW Mihai Manolache 26

27 THE CEO INTERVIEW Eva Pantzar Waage President and CEO at Säkra The Insurance Broker Market in Sweden After a disruptive start to the decade, what have been the key shifts in the Swedish insurance sector since 2020? I would say that there are three main trends that currently dominate our industry – digitalization, customization and ESG. Insurance is traditionally a low-interest product. However, this is slowly changing, and the industry would benefit from building stronger client relationships and customer loyalty. Here, digitalization and customization are key. We have a lot of client data, and the customers expect us to use this to ensure they are offered the right products at the right time and through the right channel. In this interview, we have the privilege of speaking with Eva Pantzar Waage, an accomplished leader who has made significant contributions to the insurance broker market. As the President and CEO at Säkra, Eva has been at the forefront of driving innovation and significantly growing Säkra’s client base. “If there’s one good thing that has come out of the pandemic, it’s the rapid acceleration in digitalization.“ Eva Pantzar Waage President and CEO at Säkra 28 29 THE CEO INTERVIEW ESG is another central area. The financial sector plays an important role in reaching global sustainability goals. Steering our clients’ pension savings to more sustainable solutions is a significant part of that work. But regardless of industry, being an organization that takes ESG responsibility is becoming a hygiene factor in attracting key talents and being a trusted partner in any business relationship. In what respects has your way of working changed in response to these shifts? If there’s one good thing that has come out of the pandemic, it’s the rapid acceleration in digitalization. We still have a high level of digital client meetings compared to pre-Covid-19, which means increased opportunities for more interactions with clients. Since a relatively large proportion of the customers may never use their insurance – or won’t use their pension savings until retirement, we need to find ways to remind them of the added value that we offer, whether that be through physical meetings or digital interactions. In my opinion, we need a combination of both. At Säkra, we launched a new client interface and application at the end of last year. The purpose is twofold. First, we want to give our clients the best customer experience regardless of when and how they want to get in touch with us. Secondly, with the new services, we can increase the level of communication between the physical meetings. Eva Pantzar Waage 29

By the same token, what challenges are on the horizon for the country’s insurance brokers? Price pressure and regulations have had a great impact on our industry over the past decade. As a consequence, we continue to see a strong consolidation in the market. It’s very difficult for a small actor to handle the administrative burden, invest in appropriate systems and at the same time find profitability when the margins continue to come down. I think this is a trend that will continue. Säkra appears to be going from strength to strength with its recent acquisition of Fairwater Marine. Is there anything that you can tell us about Säkra’s growth plans? How do you intend to capitalize on developing trends in the insurance sector? Yes, we have experienced significant growth over the past three years, both organically and through acquisitions. Our client base has grown from 15,000 Clients can, for example, schedule appointments with their broker or financial adviser whenever it suits them. They can also choose to be notified through push notifications if there are circumstances that may trigger the need to review their current insurance cover. As CEO of one of the largest insurance intermediaries in Sweden, what are the most promising areas of opportunity, in your opinion? As an insurance intermediary, we play a key role in creating financial security for our customers. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, and that is built on years of trust. At Säkra, we have over 450 insurance professionals across 80 offices throughout Sweden. Every day, they work to ensure that each client has a proper insurance cover and financial security for the future. Compared to, for example, the banking sector, which is relying more and more on online self-service, we remain dedicated to maintaining strong and personalized relationships with our clients supplemented by digital services, not the reverse. I believe this will be a competitive advantage going forward and it gives us an opportunity to offer additional services to our clients in other related areas. 30 Eva Pantzar Waage President and CEO at Säkra

primarily here in Sweden, but we also have ongoing discussions outside of Sweden. The recent acquisition of Fairwater Marine is one example of a pan-Nordic expansion. The firm has offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen, along with a partnership presence in other regions. In addition, Säkra is a member of several international insurance networks such as Worldwide Broker Network (WBN), Uniba Partners, GBN Worldwide and Funk Alliance. It means that we, together with leading firms around the globe, can help our clients with pension and insurance queries worldwide. As mentioned earlier, initiatives within digitization will be instrumental to success. We released our new customer interface late last year to life and pension customers. This year, we will roll it out to clients within Property & Casualty. We are also investing heavily in our internal platforms and can now, as the only intermediary in Sweden, offer a fully automated system when liaising with the insurance companies in conjunction with the annual renewals. To conclude, I’m very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing Säkra’s growth journey together with all of my competent colleagues in the organization. to 50,000 corporate clients and we’re moving up the cap scale. Traditionally, Säkra has worked primarily with small to mediumsized businesses. Today, a larger portion of our business is geared towards larger and more complex insurance needs. Apart from traditional P&C insurance, we specialize in several key areas, including international placements, master programs, cyber risk, financial lines, marine cargo, automotive, as well as credit, and risk engineering services. On the Life & Pension side, we have recently launched a new occupational pension procurement for large corporations. This means that we have a full range of services aimed at all customer segments. With that in mind, we believe there’s still room for additional growth. If you look at the number of customers today, only 3,000 companies are clients on both the Life and PC sides. Just working with our existing customer base will have a tremendous impact. We are also in the process of building up our offer within wealth management, which only represents a small part of our business today. With a new team onboard and additional services in the pipeline, we expect this business to take off in the coming years. Acquisitions will continue to be an important growth driver. Over the past three years, we have acquired around 60 brokerage firms in Sweden, and we’re still finding opportunities for more consolidation. The plan is to continue our growth path Eva Pantzar Waage THE CEO INTERVIEW “Our client base has grown from 15,000 to 50,000 corporate clients and we’re moving up the cap scale.” 31 32 An Interview With MARK MURPHY Recently, CEO Today magazine was delighted to speak with the CEO of Solar Productions, Mark Murphy, a talented UK-based film director and writer. Mark is credited with numerous film and TV projects, including The Comedian’s Guide To Survival and For Love or Money. CEO of Solar Productions

33 Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the film industry? I knew from the age of twelve that I wanted to sit behind a film camera and tell stories. I was caught between that and wanting to work in travel as a pilot. Film won out. Halfway through my A-Levels, I was offered an unconditional place at a TV & Theatre school up in York. At the time, I had been studying Physics, Maths, and Business Studies. I pretty much gave up on my studies, spending my time daydreaming and coming up with film stories. What advice would you give to budding filmmakers and directors? For producers - don’t go cheap. Savings in the short term can cost a fortune down the line. Choosing crew based on price over experience will come back and bite you on the… For directors - character and script is key to a good film, and visual flair is a great skill to have, but without engaging characters and a well-plotted story, it’s all for naught. What inspired you to become a film director and writer, and what do you enjoy most about the creative process? Batman (1989) I was twelve years old and blown away. I went to the cinema three times to see it. I love the script process and edit process. Those are when the creative juices flow strongest. Filming is actually more mechanical; time is against you, so you have to stick to the blueprint. Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing a new script? Inspiration finds you. An idea may come to you while walking, sunbathing, sitting in a bar, and watching two random people interacting; while driving your car, while watching the news, the moments are endless. That idea then germinates into a plot line, and if interesting, it rolls around your head like a marble. Alternatively, of course, you might hear a true story or read a book and want to retell it on the big screen. What are the challenges of directing different people on each new project, for example, the actors – how do you build a rapport? It’s important to recognise when someone does a great job, whatever it is, and verbally appreciating it to them goes a long way. The hierarchy in department position doesn’t mean any one person is more important than the other. Keeping egos in check on the set is vital. Actors – I’m not a fan of. This may come back to haunt me, but if Mark Murphy CEO of Solar Productions 34 35 THE CEO INTERVIEW there’s one department on a film that needs constant reassurance and emotional babysitting – that’s the department. Can you walk us through the key parts of the process when creating a film from concept to release? Once you’ve come up with a draft of the script you feel is strong enough to warrant the merit of exciting people to the point they want to come aboard, start tapping into your contacts, get those you’ve worked with in the past to jump aboard, if you have access to any known actors, send them the script. Then most importantly, break down a schedule and a budget, work out a structure from raising funds, utilising both hard and soft cash funds, and make it happen. Once in the edit process, make time to come up with a trailer, something to excite potential sales agents; a film is only a film if people watch it. If it sits on the shelf, then you’ve just wasted your time and someone else’s money. Going back to the concept, make it engaging, but make it commercial! What are the biggest challenges working as a director and writer in getting new projects off the ground? Simple. Raising the money. Film is anathema to investors. How do you foster motivation and passion in your team? Show passion in the film, and inspire them. Don’t exploit them with overtime. The hours are already long enough. Feed them good food. As Napoleon said, “An army marches on its stomach.” Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects you’re working on? No. Ok, maybe just a small peak. A couple of comedies, a twoparter about the Devil’s Summer house, which God wants to get his hands on, so he can turn it into condominiums. A couple of demons and humans are used as pawns in the middle of this fight. “Savings in the short term can cost a fortune down the line.” MARK MURPHY 35 36 A Conversation with Stephen Taylor, CEO of Propaganda and Sweet Concepts Stephen Taylor CEO of Propaganda and Sweet Concepts

37 THE CEO INTERVIEW Eva Pantzar Waage President and CEO at Säkra Tell us about your background and how you founded Sweet Concepts and Propaganda I founded Sweet Concepts in 1993 based on a simple idea of replacing unhygienically un-wrapped mints that were often found on reception desks and hotel counter tops with a mint wrapped in a clear wrapper printed with the words “Thank You.” I had had no money and just an idea and had to find a way to develop this idea and make it a reality, easier said than done for a 23 year old working from his bedroom desk with nothing but yellow pages and an old fashioned telephone. However, the desire to succeed often trumps all obstacles. So having called many different factories, I spoke to a friendly salesman from a leading sweet factory who believed in me and said he would come to my house and talk to me about supplying my first batch of sweets. He visited me at my very supportive patents house and said “I like you and believe in you” and will supply them but you have 30 days to repay me! I replied very confidently, “ sure that’s no problem, as those words left my mouth I was thinking oh wow now I really need to figure this out as I have just committed to a deal and I just knew that I could not let him down. So approximately 30 days later the sweets arrived and I had to get selling fast to turn the sweets into cash. I literally walked around central London restaurants during the day walking in during their busy lunch hours and often being asked to leave as they were too busy serving customers to talk to me. However, undeterred I kept going. My Mum would often accompany me driving around with sweets in the back of her car so I could instantly make sales, and softening the rejections with words of support and encouragement telling me to try another one and keep going. My sales endeavours would continue during the evening where I visited hotels to sell sweets. This was not easy but I had no choice and 30 days later repaid the factory and repaid the faith in that salesman. During the following years I discovered that there was significant interest in the corporate market for personalised confectionery and so the business started in the supply of promotional sweets, chocolates, fortune cookies and other edible promotional gifts. As I was talking to the various corporate promotional gift buyers they started to ask for other types of promotional goods that at that point we did not supply, but I realised that I need to branch out and so in 1998 I founded Propaganda. It now supplies over “I have always been creative in my approach to product design and development, and this creativity also runs through the way I run and approach my businesses.” CEO Today magazine recently caught up with Stephen Taylor, a Londonbased entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist. “Business has taught me many things, but I guess one core value is to be true to yourself and never compromise your values. “ 38 two thousand different promotional business promotional gifts catering to all promotional budgets to suit all marketing campaigns. In addition to our stocks we manufacture new fully bespoke products from new electronic items right through to highly designed packaging, nothing is too small or too complex. As a successful entrepreneur, do you feel that entrepreneurialism is a mindset individuals are born with, or can it be learned? Good question! In short I think some of the essential components of the entrepreneurial skill set can be learnt over time. However the spirt of an entrepreneur is one that I believe is innate, spotting that hidden or often highly disguised opportunity and turning into a business opportunity. This vision and ability is not found in all business people. Sometimes a really good business opportunity arises from what appears to look like a bleak situation, and the entrepreneur mind set does not just spot the potential new opportunity but makes it a reality. Taking risks is not for everyone, but the rewards if you get it right can be life changing, and so can the consequences if you get it wrong. Balancing and mitigating risk is important especially as you get older, as life events dictate the amount of risks that you are willing and able to take at any given time. Stephen Taylor CEO of Propaganda and Sweet Concepts 39 THE CEO INTERVIEW Stephen Taylor 39 What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs or individuals interested in starting their businesses? Firstly I don’t believe the often trotted out phrase “It was different when you started and today is harder now,” or the other great life sucking killer phrase “there are so many of those types of business and it is so competitive and the market place is crowded”. There is always room for a great new competitor but you have to ensure your product and service levels are minimally as good as the competition but hopefully far better. Also you need to look carefully at the idea and analyse the numbers, as often businesses don’t fail due to bad ideas, they fail due to lack of cash flow and planning. In this digital age people seem to forget that you simply can’t burn cash forever without a realistic prospect of making a profit. Also if you need investors choose your partners carefully not just based on who gives you the best deal, but look for the best alignment of vision and personalities. Be prepared for no to very little time off, and that means even on a rare holiday you will be working! There is no such thing as success without hard work. Entrepreneurs are always looking for that new idea and opportunity so the mind is always working even if the body is on holiday. “Business has taught me many things, but I guess one core value is to be true to yourself and never compromise your values. “

40 Stephen Taylor CEO of Propaganda and Sweet Concepts How do Propaganda and Sweet Concepts innovate and stay ahead of the competition? Business is always a highly competitive ever changing landscape that requires continual efforts to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. Product and service innovation are key to staying relevant and fresh. Long gone are the old days of buyer loyalty, today you are only ever one click away from losing your buyers. We innovate and regularly offer new innovative promotional gifts, whilst always ensuing our service levels remain exceptionally high. Never be afraid to look back and change what you’ve done as businesses need to constantly evolve. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a CEO, and how have you overcome them? Staying relevant is important and all business, especially product and service based business, rely heavily on good teams of people. This has got significantly harder after the pandemic and appears no sign of getting any easier. So the two R’s have never been more relevant namely Recruitment and Retention. Finding the right people with the right attitudes has probably never been harder with the younger generations entering the work place, many with a false sense of hard work and responsibility and accountability in the work place. People are looking for more flexible/home working opportunities, but certain jobs require a more traditional office based approach, so home working simply doesn’t work. However, it is easy to get creative with what you can offer such as flexi arrangement, adjusting working hours, allowing more time off, and being accommodating as possible if people request to take short notice days off. Look to see what you can offer that doesn’t compromise the business but adds value for an employee as retention is always better than recruitment. How do Propaganda and Sweet Concepts approach sustainability and social responsibility? The promotional gift market is a small part of the marketing of a business, but carries a disproportionate weight in supply chain ethical evaluation and supplier safety standards. There’s an increasingly keen interest from customers about having all of their products sourced from responsible and ethical manufacturers. In fact, the demand for this as a standard bench mark for supplying promotional products has been growing exponentially over the past 10 years. In more recent years there’s been a heavy move towards recycled and recyclable products, eco / environmentally friendly products, and some customers will only buy products that fulfil these criteria from within this category, even knowing they are sometimes more expensive. The recycled range of promotional product has really grown over the past few years and now includes clothing and other items products made from recycled plastics.

41 Stephen Taylor THE CEO INTERVIEW There is a great range of products made using natural materials such as found that bamboo, cotton, and even driftwood. You’re also an inventor. Is this your passion, and how do you bring your ideas to fruition? I have always been creative in my approach to product design and development and this creativity also runs through the way I run and approach my businesses. I often see a product and think that I can make it better in either design and or functionality or sometimes I decide to tally redesign creating an entirely new product. I am passionate about good design and that sometimes comes down to the smallest of details from size, weigh and with our sweet containers re designing the way it may open and close. My most popular inventions, and among those I’m proudest of, can be found here: - mints/mint-twister-2/ You have been in business for over 30 years; what keeps you motivated to push forward and innovate? Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! In some ways the business is very similar in its essence as it was on day one due to the nature of the business i.e. placing logos on products, and this will never change. Putting logos on products is a time-tested successful marketing formula, the only thing that changes is the method of printing and the type of products. Promotional gifts still remain one of the most cost-effective high-impact direct marketing tools. You are involved in many philanthropic endeavours, particularly in your local community; what does it mean to you to be able to help others? Business is a great opportunity for expression in the world and to enables you to help make even a small positive difference. If you are fortunate enough to be able to assist charities with time and or donations, it gives you a great sense of satisfaction knowing that your business sweat and toil have made a difference to the world, even if it is just a small difference. What has business taught you over these 30 years? Business has taught me many things but I guess one core value is to be true to yourself and never compromise your personal values. There will undoubtedly be situations that challenge you in a variety of ways, but being true to your self and operating values gets you through most situations. Never take yourself too seriously, and most importantly of all enjoy the ride, bumps and all!



By Kevin Groves The 5 Most Popular Crypto Influencers on Social Media 44 THE DISRUPTORS If you’re wondering who to follow in crypto, here’s our latest list of the best cryptocurrency influencers.


46 THE DISRUPTORS Carl Runefelt Carl Runefelt ranks as the most popular cryptoinfluencer with an overall Crypto influencer score of 7.57. The Swedish crypto investor and entrepreneur, also known as Mooncarl, has become very popular on multiple social media platforms with over 1 million followers on Twitter and over 240,000 on Instagram. Runefelt typically posts about the wealth and successful investment in crypto that has brought him over the years and can make an estimated $2,930 per Instagram post! Ben Armstrong Ranking as the second most popular crypto-influencer is Ben Armstrong, better known as ‘BitBoy Crypto’, with an overall score of 7.44. BitBoy was another early subscriber to Bitcoin and has amassed a net worth of over $5 million. Armstrong has leveraged his wealth and investment success into a massive social media presence, where he boasts the most YouTube subscribers of any other crypto influencer. His impressive social media following means he can earn an estimated $5,560 per Instagram post. Changpeng Zhao Changpeng Zhao ranks as the third most popular crypto-influencer with an overall score of 7.25. CZ is the Canadian–Chinese cofounder of Binance, which has blossomed into the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange. The overwhelming success of his startup has resulted in him becoming the 136th richest person in the world, with a reported net worth of $13.1 billion. Zhao is extremely popular on several forms of social media, however, unlike others with this status, he provides very little information in the way of investment tips and upand-coming crypto. Cryptocurrency is a unique industry that is still in its infancy. Social media was already popular when digital currencies became prominent. When Bitcoin was first launched in 2009, Facebook was already half a decade old and Twitter had been around for three years. Consequently, discussions on social media helped crypto gain popularity in its early years, and it’s still an important tool for investors in the space. Social media can be used as a potential source of investment inspiration, relevant news, and discourse. But this also has the potential to be dangerous, as social media can be a breeding ground for scams involving fraudulent cryptocurrencies and offers. There are several famous, active commentators on cryptocurrency social media known as crypto influencers. Ranging from celebrities to traders and commentators, these influencers can gain huge followers on multiple social platforms. But who is the most prominent crypto influencer? We took a deep dive into the data to find out. 1 2 3

47 Anthony Pompliano Ranking as the fourth most popular crypto-influencer is Anthony ‘Pomp’ Pompliano with an overall score of 6.92. Anthony is a well-known crypto influencer who boasts a popular YouTube channel with over half a million subscribers. Alongside the successful channel, he hosts ‘The Pomp Podcast’ with his brothers where he interviews people in business, finance, and crypto analysts. Pomp is an active investor in the crypto scene but devotes much of his social media presence to informing his audience of up-to-date crypto news. Charles Hoskinson Charles Hoskinson ranks fifth with an overall score of 6.6. One of the most influential figures in the crypto industry, especially from an engineer/ development perspective, Hoskinson is responsible for co-founding both Ethereum and Cardano’s blockchain networks. Hoskinson’s content is typically broadscale discussions about the state of the industry, its future, and any ongoing drama, and he currently has just under 1 million Twitter followers and 230k on Instagram, earning around $3,160 per post! 4 5

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