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“CEO Confidential”: Francesco Starace’s speech

What does being a good leader mean and what responsibilities does this role entail? Francesco Starace shares his thoughts

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We must not forget that being a CEO means being responsible”: in an interview for “CEO Confidential,” an initiative promoted by “Il Sole 24 Ore” (Italy’s leading financial newspaper), Enel’s CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace stressed that holding this position today means above all being aware of the importance of this role in creating “value, work and therefore wealth in society.” For a leader it’s essential to be able to listen to others, the community in general and stakeholders, and understand their needs: “It takes humility, curiosity and the ability to empathize with the other person’s problems, trying to understand the reasons for things. If all this seems ‘difficult,’ then you should find another job.” It is therefore essential to identify with others without ever “hiding from yourself” or renouncing your identity: “When it’s time to make a decision, even after having listened to everyone, there’s a moment of solitude. However, this doesn’t have to be heavy. On the contrary, listening to yourself and following what you think is right can be beneficial.

“What is the vision we want to have in the future? To allow society to thrive and live well, without having a negative impact on the environment and without mortgaging the future of our children. In other words, doing things in an increasingly sustainable way”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO

It’s also important for good leaders to be able to instill a clear and well-defined vision in their own reality: “All companies have a reason to exist. Those who question their real reason are those who find the so-called ‘vision’ within them. This is nothing more than the future projection of one’s way of being in a powerful form.” As Starace recalled, Enel has historically had its own reason to exist in supporting the growth of Italy. Firstly, in the postwar period, when it was founded with the aim of bringing electricity to the whole country. And today, in facing the new challenges of the contemporary world: “What is the vision we want to have in the future? To allow society to thrive and live well, without having a negative impact on the environment and without mortgaging the future of our children. In other words, doing things in an increasingly sustainable way.

The circular economy will be one of the pillars of future strategies. However, as Starace explained, it needs to be understood from a perspective that looks beyond the simple concept of recycling: “Even if absolute circularity is impossible, from an economic point of view there is the possibility of making great progress as regards the efficient use of both environmental and human resources. There are many examples of the circular economy that concern people we do not value, in whom we can invest and whom we can make happier.

Enel editorial staff