A good leader is not without inspiration. We asked eight business leaders about who has inspired them, and how they have approached business because of that inspiration.

8 business leaders on who inspires them and why

  1. François Tardif Executive Vice President, Faurecia China

    “I’m an engineer, and I believe in technology and its impact on society. Through her science, Marie Curie had a tremendous impact on society, and on all of our lives.

    “Technology can have a significant impact on people’s lives and that is why we are moving in a direction to create a new mobility for individuals. This will be a total game changer and life changer for billions of people on earth.”

  2. Chris Lyman, CEO, Lotto New Zealand

    “It’s hard to look at Jeff Bezos and not think about what Amazon does and how clear they are about what they need to do as a business.”

  3. Rainer Bürkert, CEO, Würth Industrie Service

    “One of my biggest inspirations is our owner, Professor Reinhold Würth. Even though he is 83 years old, he’s focused on the details, he’s open-minded, and he allows everyone who’s working with him to create their own ideas. He’s always supporting new ideas. This is a necessity for business – having a vibrant curiosity and always looking to the next hilltop.”

    Rainer Bürkert, CEO, Würth Industrie Service
    Rainer Bürkert, CEO, Würth Industrie Service. Image credit: Würth Industry Service
  4. Gregory Enjalbert, Vice President, Bombardier Transportation Rail Control Solutions and Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation Thailand

    “I take a lot of inspiration from people who are trying to improve themselves and who are constantly trying to learn.”

  5. Kent Wong, Managing Director, Chow Tai Fook

    “Our late honorary Chairman Dato Cheng Yu Tung was an important person in my life. He was my mentor and role model. He was keen on driving innovations in Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group.

    “It is through his charisma and persistence that Chow Tai Fook has evolved into the biggest jeweller in Greater China with an extensive retail network. Innovation and creativity can still be found in us today and empowers us to disrupt the market with exciting products and services.”

  6. Mark Gibbs, Global Vice President, SAP and President, SAP Greater China

    “Bill McDermott wrote a wrote a book called Winners Dream and just that title alone is a really powerful message. It’s something that every person in a leadership position needs to think about. You need to have a dream of where you feel you can go as a person, where your organisation can go, and what you can do for your customers.

    “And then very tightly linked to that, a previous SAP CEO, Jim Hagemann Snabe, had a great saying: ‘It’s important to have dreams as well as details.’

    “Because if you have a very powerful dream and you build a clear set of details and actions on how to achieve it, then over time you can achieve that dream.

    “These two men have really inspired me to always think about what’s possible.”

    Mark Gibbs, Global Vice President, SAP and President, SAP Greater China
    Mark Gibbs, Global Vice President, SAP and President, SAP Greater China. Image credit: Natalia Segura
  7. Nicole Sparshott, CEO, T2 Tea

    “The people who inspire me the most are those I come across every day, who are doing remarkable things in their life, and making an enormous difference through just small things.

    “It could be someone in one of our retail stores, maybe a store manager or one of the team, who goes beyond the call of duty to create a customer experience that will never be forgotten.

    “Or the people I work with each day at T2 or Unilever who are passionate advocates of really growing the business but doing it in a way that leaves the planet and the people in our communities in a better place.”

  8. Jerome Chevrier, Managing Director, SPAR China

    “In France, there’s a retail chain founded by one man, Edouard Leclerc, E.Leclerc. He came from nothing to group all the small retailers together in France. It was the first retailer I ever worked for.”

    Jerome Chevrier, Managing Director, SPAR China
    Jerome Chevrier, Managing Director, SPAR China. Image credit: Raul Ariano