From Brexit, to protests in Hong Kong, to the U.S./China trade war, it’s a moment of massive global uncertainty—and uncertainty is rarely a boon to business. And yet, “there’s never been a better time” to be a CEO, says Sanofi chief executive Paul Hudson.
Thanks to technology, today’s chief executives can “let go of prejudices and ways of working that are decades old” and “[leapfrog] to do things differently,” Hudson explained.
Hudson addressed the changes to the corporate world’s top job at Fortune Global Forum in Paris on Tuesday. He spoke alongside Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, who, like Hudson, started in her current job on Sept. 1 of this year.
Top of mind for CEOs in 2019 is artificial intelligence. Leading global consulting and technology giant Accenture, Sweet has found that companies are educated about A.I. but still figuring out how to apply the technology across their businesses. “We are at an inflection point where everyone understands,” she said. “Fundamentally, we have to move into an era of being able to scale.”
Advancing A.I. into its next era requires strong leadership, Sweet added, complimenting Hudson’s use of the technology at Sanofi: “Companies that are successful, it starts with the CEO and starts with the CEO’s priorities.”
More must-read stories from Fortune’s Global Forum:
—Why ‘data doomsday’ fears aren’t freaking everyone out
—The disruptive e-commerce revolution is benefitting big cosmetics brands
—How businesses are again pulling governments forward on climate change
—When it comes to rare earths, the U.S. still depends on China
—CEOs could be our best hope for fighting climate change and income inequality
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