CEOs share their resolutions for 2023

C-suite executives from different industries talk about their pledges, plans and personal goals for the year ahead
Nicola Downing 
CEO, Ricoh Europe 

Continuing to support customers on their digital transformation journeys is Ricoh’s number-one priority for 2023. Some customers have powered ahead on their journey, while others are yet to determine what their digital ambitions could and should look like. It’s important for customers to remember that digital transformation is not achieved on the back of a single definitive act. Technology advancements, process developments and new demands mean that businesses need to consider a state of either adoption, adaption or fine-tuning.

Building on Ricoh’s legacy in workspace optimisation, digital transformation and print innovation, our aim is to continue helping customers to grow, enter new markets and attract the best talent, while enabling them to work in more creative and productive ways. Our research shows that nearly two-fifths (39%) of people’s days are occupied with administrative tasks or overcoming technology issues. It all comes back to our commitment to lead change that unleashes human potential through the power and opportunity of technology.

The past year has shown us all that a people-focused approach isn’t the preferred way but the only way

On climate change, we have a series of high-level goals, such as zero greenhouse gas emissions across our entire value chain and using 100% renewable energy by 2050. Our commitments at a global corporate level mean that we are featured in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and that we have an EcoVadis gold rating for our sustainability practices.

Our Fulfillment through Work vision is key to all we do. Our research shows that only 4% of office workers across Europe say they are doing the “bare minimum” at work, suggesting that quiet quitting is not the issue, but a lack of purposeful work. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed said they would find work more enjoyable if they had time for creative tasks. This highlights the need to understand and act on what workers want, especially if you are serious about attracting and retaining top talent.

The past year has shown us all that a people-focused approach isn’t the preferred way but the only way. Like many things where the results aren’t always tangible from the offset, it’s easy to pay lip service here. A mission of mine during 2022 was to put our people front and centre of everything we do. Annual landmarks such as International Women’s Day and Pride are great for shining a spotlight on the value and contributions of particular groups. But at the same time, how we tackle issues that can impact all colleagues, such as mental health, loneliness and striking a healthy work-life balance, must be woven into day-to-day operations. I’m proud to say that this commitment came to the fore at Ricoh Europe in 2022 and will remain just as prominent in the year ahead.

Like many people, I have found exercise a godsend when striving for a better work/life balance. Reformer Pilates has improved my physical resilience, which I’m pleased to say has carried over to my work life. Balance is key, of course. The importance of finding time to read, exercise, sleep and think can never be underestimated. Sometimes the most obvious things to do are the easiest to forget to make time for.

Taro Gibbs 
Managing director, Arthur Knight 

The main target for us is to develop brand awareness, focused particularly in the UK and the US, through targeted social media campaigns and brand ambassador programmes. We feel that investing in the Arthur Knight brand is key to sustainable growth and building repeat custom. A good proportion of men tend to be loyal to just a small number of shoe brands – provided their online shopping experience was smooth and, most importantly, the shoes ‘fit’ comfortably.

As a father, balancing family life with work life as a director is something I need to work on for 2023 and beyond

Dress shoes that include built-in comfort technology are a real growth area in the footwear sector. Younger generations are intolerant to shoes that require ‘breaking in’ yet still have a need to wear smart shoes with a formal outfit. Rubber-sole technology, sheepskin linings and memory-foam insoles allow us to offer footwear that features the best of both worlds.

As an online retailer, we are acutely aware of the importance of search engine optimisation. SEO is one of the best long-term sources of traffic to any website looking to sell footwear. Creating engaging and shareable articles is the key to success in this area, so we will be looking to expand our team of blog writers and to level up on YouTube video content.

On a personal level, as a father of two young children, balancing family life with work life as a director is something I need to work on for 2023 and beyond. In this digital age, it’s possible to work remotely during all hours of the day, which means setting aside quality time for my wife and kids can only be healthy for myself and the business!

Natalie Billingham 
Managing director, Akamai EMEA 

Last year was a year of enormous growth and change after we acquired Guardicore and Linode. While we have many more exciting plans for 2023, it will also be a year for consolidation and reflection on our new position. I want to ensure we retain a distinct and inclusive culture across the region and help reassure and support our people through the uncertainty in the wider world.

At Akamai, we have long been focused on fostering a fun, inclusive and collaborative working culture and this will continue in 2023 as we adjust to a post-pandemic working world. Ninety-seven per cent of our people told us they wanted to continue working in a hybrid way and we are committed to leading into 2023 with a choice-first approach.

I want to ensure we retain a distinct and inclusive culture across the region and help reassure and support our people through the uncertainty in the wider world

Our main aim remains solving problems for our customers in ways that no one else can. A key goal in 2023 will be to drive forward with our cloud computing offering. In a global economy, enterprises need to instantly scale applications to respond to demand and geographies in a serverless way. We’re opening 13 new data centres and introducing distributed sites designed to access locations that are difficult to reach and underserved by other providers.

In 2023, cybercrime will continue to be a huge threat to businesses and consumers. Criminal enterprises have made cyber attacks a repeatable and scalable business and these bad actors will have worsening impacts in the future – including our ability to access fuel, food, and healthcare. Finding solutions will require cross-sector, multi-industry collaboration and robust investment in securing the software and supply chains we rely on.

Increasingly complex business demands combined with economic uncertainty will shake up the cloud marketplace, having a huge impact on how multi-cloud setups are decided – with pressure on budgets placing greater scrutiny on cost efficiency and value for money.

On a personal level, I have promised myself not to be too hard about getting it completely right. But I am setting more time aside to spend with my family, hug my daughter and make precious memories together. At Akamai, we are lucky to have Wellness Days that allow us to switch off from work and recharge, so I’ll be using those to enjoy some wonderful moments with my family.

I want to continue to find creative and fun ways of nurturing an inclusive workforce at Akamai. Last year, we hosted our first EMEA Employee Day, which featured interactive sessions for our employees with several great speakers, including the Paralympian Claire Cashmore. And it is my personal goal to launch further initiatives like this at Akamai to invigorate and inspire our team to keep building our company’s future together.