Speaker Bios

Nik Gowing – Founder, Director, Co-author ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’; Main Presenter, BBC World News 1996-2014

In 2018 Nik Gowing co-authored (with Chris Langdon) “Thinking the Unthinkable” (published May 2018). It details the findings from hundreds of top level confidential interviews and conversations with corporate and public service leaders, plus hundreds more conversations with the new generation of millennials. In the era of a new disruption leaders reveal that they are ‘scared’, ‘confused’ and ‘overwhelmed’ especially by the new short termism.

Nik Gowing was a main news presenter for the BBC’s international 24-hour news channel BBC World News 1996-2014. He presented The Hub with Nik Gowing, BBC World Debates, Dateline London, plus location coverage of major global stories.

For 18 years Nik worked at ITN where he was bureau chief in Rome and Warsaw, and Diplomatic Editor for Channel Four News (1988-1996). He has been a member of the councils of Chatham House (1998–2004), the Royal United Services Institute (2005–present), and the Overseas Development Institute (2007-2014), the board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy including vice chair (1996-2005), and the advisory council at Wilton Park (1998-2012 ). He is a governor of the Ditchley Foundation. In 1994 he was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center in the J. F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He was a board member for the Hay Literature Festival (2003-2018) and is now a member of the Hay Festival Foundation.

His peer-reviewed study at Oxford University “Skyful of Lies and Black Swans” predicted and identified the new vulnerability, fragility and brittleness of institutional power in the new all-pervasive public information space. The work builds on his work initiated at Harvard.

In 2014 Nik was appointed a Visiting Professor at Kings College, London in the School of Social Science and Public Policy. From 2016 he was a Visiting Professor at Nanyang University (NTU), Singapore focusing on deepening and widening the “Thinking the Unthinkable” research. From 2014 he was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geo-Economics. In September 2017 he was appointed an adviser on leadership challenges to the President of the UN General Assembly.

He was awarded Honorary Doctorates by Exeter University in 2012 and Bristol University in 2015. They recognise his ongoing cutting edge analyses and distinguished career in international journalism.

Jim's Profile

Jim Hagemann Snabe – Chair, A.P Moller – Maersk, Chair, Siemens, Vice-Chair, Allianz & Member of the Board of Trustee, World Economic Forum

Jim Hagemann Snabe is Vice Chairman of Allianz SE (D) and a member of the Board of Trustees at World Economic Forum. Jim has developed his career through 24 years of service in the IT industry. Throughout his career Jim has had leadership roles at SAP and IBM, leading global consulting, sales and product development organizations. He was appointed as an executive board member of SAP in 2008 responsible for Innovation and Product Development. In 2010 Jim Hagemann Snabe was appointed co-CEO alongside Bill McDermott. Together they successfully reinvented the software giant SAP from 2010 to 2014. Through his involvement with the World Economic Forum, Jim is actively engaged in efforts related to the Digital Transformation of business and society. Jim Hagemann Snabe has an M.Sc. (Economics and Business administration) from Aarhus University and is an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School, CBS.

Jim is also a co-author of the newly released book Dreams and Details.

Jon Williams – Partner, Sustainability & Climate Change, PwC

Jon co-leads the corporate team within PwC’s Sustainability & Climate Change practice, offering market-leading strategy and implementation, risk management and reporting solutions to companies. He has a particular focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, particularly relating to climate change, including climate finance and carbon markets. His clients include financial institutions in both developed and developing economies, and companies in the retail, consumer goods, healthcare, energy and mining sectors. Prior to joining PwC, Jon worked for HSBC for 21 years, with a variety of banking roles in Europe and Asia, most recently as Head of Group Sustainable Development. Jon developed and implemented HSBC’s sustainability risk strategy and their sustainable business strategy, with a focus on lending and investments related to climate change, forestry and microfinance. Jon is a member of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and also acts as an Expert Adviser to a major European Bank. He also was a green finance working group co-chair for the Climate Markets & Investors Association (CMIA) and Project Adviser to the World Economic Forum for both the Critical Mass Initiative and the Energy Access Partnership. He previously chaired the Equator Principles, the global benchmark for banks to manage social and environmental issues in project finance, and chaired the Climate Principles, a framework for the finance sector to respond to climate change.

Marisa Donnelly – Manager, Sustainability and Climate Change Consultant, PwC

Marisa Donnelly is a Manager in PwC’s Sustainability & Climate Change team. She was the lead co-author from the PwC team on the Climate Governance Initiative “How to Set-Up Effective Climate Governance on Corporate Boards” report. Marisa also worked closely alongside PwC partner Jon Williams throughout the development of the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Marisa works with a variety of PwC’s corporate clients on climate-related risk management and sustainability strategy solutions.

Veena Ramani – Senior Program Director, Capital Market Systems

Veena leads Ceres’ work on critical market levers that will help scale the transition to sustainable capital markets, including governance systems that companies should put in place at the corporate board level to allow for effective board sustainability oversight. She also oversees Ceres work on sustainability disclosure.

Veena has authored and co-authored a number of reports on board sustainability governance including View from the top: How corporate boards can engage on sustainability performance (2015), Lead from the top: Building sustainability competence on corporate boards (2017) Systems Rule: How board governance can drive sustainability performance (2018) and Getting Climate Smart: A primer for corporate directors in a changing environment (2018).

Veena has been interviewed in a number of corporate governance publications around governance for sustainability, including in the Cover Story of the 2017 Fall Edition of C Suite Magazine. Her work has been featured by NACD, Ethical Boardroom, GreenBiz, Huffington Post, Environmental Leader and Responsible Investor.

From 2006 to 2015, Veena managed the relationships with a wide portfolio of Ceres Company Network members, including the financial services sector and the electric power sector. Veena worked with boards and senior company management on opportunities to integrate sustainability into their business structures and decision making, including policy and program development, disclosures and stakeholder engagement processes. Prior to Ceres, Veena worked as a management consultant with CDM, an environmental consulting firm and focused on providing a variety of sustainability services to clients in the public and private sectors. Veena also spent three years with Integrative Strategies Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization working on developing national and international policy solutions on sustainable development, building consensus and coalitions among civil society groups on these issues and lobbying government representatives. Before that, Veena practiced law in India.

Veena received a Masters in Law degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.A. LL.B (Honors) degree from National Law School from India University, Bangalore.

Dominik Breitinger– Project Lead, Climate Governance & Finance & Global Leadership Fellow, World Economic Forum

Dominik leads the climate governance and finance projects at the World Economic Forum. Further, his work focuses on holistic corporate governance and long-term performance. In his academic research, Dominik studies primarily corporate exposure to ESG-related market failures.

Helle Bank Jorgensen– CEO & Founder, Competent Boards

Helle Bank Jorgensen is an experienced and renowned sustainability, climate change, and ESG advisor with close to 30 years of experience advising global companies and investors on how to turn sustainability into strong financial results.

Helle was the creator of the world’s first Green Account as well as the world’s first Integrated Report, the first holistic supply chain program, and was the principal organizer for the CEO/Investor-network for Business Ethics and Non-Financial Reporting. She led the Improvement of DJSI ranking and investor communication for global companies and has worked on Natural Capital Accounting for IFC/World Bank. In 2015, Helle became the first in North America to have received the Certificate of Achievement and passed the GRI G4 Exam.

She serves on His Royal Highness Prince of Wales A4S Global Expert Panel, the Cornerstone Capital Global Advisory Council, the Board of Danish Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Future-Fit Business Benchmark Release Council. She is also a Board Facilitator for the UN Global Compact Board Program.

Helle was a Partner with PwC in Europe and the U.S. for 11 years, leading sustainability and climate change practices. During this time, she worked with hundreds of world-leading companies and gained extensive experience providing strategic and operational guidance to all functions within an organization, including advising at the C-suite and board level.