CenturyLink was founded on strong principles, as MD of EMEA Richard Warley explains: “The founder of the company was a gentleman by the name of Clarke Williams. He had a very clear moral purpose to his personal life and professional life as well.” Williams was a big fan of ‘The Golden Rule’ which, at its heart, is all about fairness. He wanted his company to treat its employees and its customers fairly.

“Of course, it can be dangerous to put a high standard like that as your core principal,” says Richard, “because there are always going to be examples where you don’t meet it. But if you continually strive towards it, you are going to end up in a good place.

“Furthermore, if you look at the company’s purpose or mission statement, in the first line it doesn’t mention technology, business, money or shareholders. Rather, it talks about improving lives and I think that is the greatest strength of our business. That practical purpose of improving the lives of our employees and our customers, while also having a sense of fairness at its heart, is what has enabled the business to grow and prosper over 85 years.”

During his professional career Richard has seen businesses from many angles, having worked in corporate finance, management and private equity. “I have a 360-degree view of companies and how they work,” he says, “and if I had to sum up my management style it would be knowing that the overriding purpose of a company is to do something for someone else. And, in fact, the overriding purpose of a manager is to help people to do something for someone else.”