CEO & Chairman, World Quantum;
Former CEO, London Stock Exchange

My name is Xavier Rolet, I am a global businessman involved in fourteen different enterprises, non for-profits and agricultural ventures around the world.


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What are the main global challenges for business leaders?

It is clear that there are a lot of major challenges for business leaders today. Particularly when they have a global footprint, a lot more so than perhaps 15-20 years ago.

Businesses are expected to in some cases compliment or rectify the ills of our society, e.g., the lack of diversity, inclusion, economic fairness, innovation. The priorities given to national industrial financial policies makes it increasingly difficult for global business to operate.

Despite all what we read about the progress of technology and technological innovation, Harvard business review recently highlighted innovation as the least discussed item on boards of global listed companies. Now this is important because knocking on our door today is a technological revolution and for years, we did not know how to handle it, but it is really looking today like it may and will fulfil its promises.


What interests you about Aston Business School?

The thing that interests me about Aston, in particular Aston Business School, are two fundamental things. First is the focus on innovation and SMEs. They are the lifeblood of our economy, they rarely attract the attention of policymakers, regulation, access to capital, all of these are made far more difficult for SMEs than others. The second element was the attraction of minority students, on diversity and inclusion and giving students both with a UK extraction or immigrant extraction, the opportunities to get a leg up the economic value creation ladder, namely through business studies. So, that dual focus I believe is a much underdeveloped, under-focused area which would make a very significant contribution.



Aston Business School






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What skills do graduates need to become good business leaders?

If I were in the shoes of a business student today or someone considering a career in the business world, I would say as much as possible, try to blend in your portfolio of educational experiences and educational learning. Liberal arts with scientific subjects; liberal arts gives you the opportunity to think holistically to integrate many different variables and different aspects of human society. Of course, scientific training gives you some of the tools that are going to be required. You need to understand the science underpinning that innovation that’s knocking at our door as we speak. But I would say that to combine both elements, in my view and my experience, can give you a competitive advantage in terms of the way you develop your career going forward.