Launch of Reforming Business for the 21st Century Research

At the launch of the Future of the Corporation research and first On 1 November 2018, Professor Colin Mayer called to make this a moment that shifts the consensus away from the orthodox doctrine that the only purpose of business is to increase profits.

Almost 200 people joined the British Academy at the Guildhall in the City of London. They included academics, business leaders, officials and policy makers, students, business innovators, investors and trade union leaders.

The Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, gave the keynote response to the research.

The event made public, for the first time, the full body of research produced by the British Academy’s Future of the Corporation programme. The research is published in the Journal of the British Academy. Meanwhile, the report, Reforming Business for the 21st Century summarised the research and identified the principle findings.

Wrapping up the event, Colin Mayer said:

“We have had a fantastic discussion – a real insight into the issues that arise. I hope that today will be something that you’ll all remember as a transformational moment when we have come to realise the limitations of the existing model that we have for the firm and the potential for transforming it into something that really does contribute to the common good.”


Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy


Dame Frances Cairncross

A framework for the Future of the Corporation 

Professor Colin Mayer CBE FBA, Academic Lead, Future of the Corporation Programme 


Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 

Challenges and responses

Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve FBA, Philosopher

Richard Gillingwater CBE, Chairman, SSE

Martin Lipton, founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary, TUC

Beatrice Bondy, Senior Advisor, Investor AB

How to bring about change

Corporate Purpose and Trustworthiness

Colm Kelly, Global Leader, Tax and Legal Services, Global Leader, Purpose, PwC

James Perry, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Cook

Culture, Governance and Regulation

Alison Cottrell, CEO, Banking Standards Board

Daniela Weber-Rey, Non-executive Director / Director and member of the German Corporate Governance Code Commission

Mohamed Amersi, Chairman, The Amersi Foundation, Trustee, Prince's Trust International, Member, Global Leadership Council, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford 

Taxation and Globalisation

Professor Mihir Desai, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School

Peter Norris, Chairman, Virgin Group

Finance and Investment

Carine Smith Ihenacho, Chief Corporate Governance Officer, Norges Bank InvestmentManagement

Mark LewisohnGroup Managing Director,UBS and Member of Council, University of Cambridge 


Professor Colin Mayer CBE FBA

Sign up to our email newsletters