Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award: Roundtable on Creativity and Leadership

Aug 17, 2010
Pascal Lamy, Director GeneralWorld Trade Organisation, Markus Hinterhäuser, Concert Director Salzburg Festival, Petra Roth, Mayor of Frankfurt, Yannik Nezet-Seguin, Conductor, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestlé Chairman, Walter B. Kielholz, Chairman of the Board of Directors Swiss Re THOUGHT LEADERS: Roundtable panellists from left to right; Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; Markus Hinterhäuser, Concert Director at Salzburg Festival; Petra Roth, Mayor of Frankfurt; Yannik Nezet-Seguin, Conductor; Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestlé Chairman and Walter B. Kielholz, Chairman of Board of Directors Swiss Re.

Leading personalities in the field of politics, culture and business attended a Nestlé-led roundtable to discuss Creativity and Leadership in Salzburg, Austria.

Issues including ‘How important is leadership?’, ‘Which qualities does a person need to be a good leader?’ and ‘Is creativity a crucial leadership quality for success?’ were some of the questions discussed at the event on Friday, August 13th.

Panellists included Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestlé S.A.; Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; Walter B. Kielholz, Chairman of Swiss Re; Petra Roth, Mayor of Frankfurt am Main; Markus Hinterhäuser, Concert Director of the Salzburg Festival and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Following the announcement on the winner of the first Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award on Monday, August 9th 2010 – an initiative by Nestlé and the Salzburg Festival to promote young conductors – the panellists agreed that the rapport between musicians and a conductor is similar in many ways to the relationship between an organisation and its leaders in other areas of activity. 

Where a conductor may be seen as a CEO or team leader, and the instrumental groups may be business units or teams, together they need to find the best solutions for working together and producing an effective outcome.

Mr Brabeck-Letmathe explained: “Every organization needs leaders and managers. A team, be it a management team or an orchestra, needs leadership and motivation to unfold its full potential and performance. At the same time, a leader is nothing without a team which follows the ideas. Directing a company requires a leader who is able to develop and communicate visions which can then be realised by the management.”

Elaborating on the qualities of a leader, Mr Kielholz continued: “The success of a leader is mostly based on qualities such as knowledge, preparation, discipline and the ability to express oneself in a meaningful and motivating way”, while Mr Nézet-Séguin added that another major quality is trust: “A lack of trust is a clear obstacle to leadership.”

However, compared to corporations, leadership in international politics is even more challenging, Mr Lamy stated. He believes that there is a general lack of alignment in institutions such as the World Trade Organisation, representing 153 nations, and added: “The political system creates no global leaders but local statesmen with very different interests and ideas. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to obtain a common sense which makes them understand that there are common challenges which can only be addressed by global leadership.”

Ms Roth recognised that leadership is a necessity as it enables the implementation of sustainable, responsible practices which should be at the heart of any political action.  She said: “Leadership means power and power means responsibility.  If you use it wisely it allows you to develop and build the future in a meaningful way for the next generations.”

When asked about the level of creativity in the Nestlé business, Mr Brabeck concluded: “Creativity is an important success factor. Being present all over the world, we constantly have to adapt to the changing needs of our consumers and this requires creative thinking.  And last but not least, the transformation of Nestlé into a nutrition, health and wellness company requires creativity from many stakeholders within the Company.”

Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award
The Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award is attributed every year by an eminent international jury  to a highly-gifted young conductor.  The winner of the first award is David Afkham, a 27-year-old German.

Related information:
Salzburg Festival 
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