Dan Hesse received the inaugural L. Joseph Thomas Leadership Award in January 2012 and spoke on the subject of Evolving Role of America’s Business Leaders at the ceremony.
In recent years, wireless technology has become the most rapidly adopted technology in history. “It has been growing faster than TVs, PCs, and automobiles combined,” Hess said. A recent survey suggests that four out of 10 students on college campuses cannot go more than 10 minutes without checking one of their wireless devices. “In my day, we couldn’t go more than 10 minutes without checking out a member of the opposite sex,” Hesse joked.
Despite the rapid growth of the industry, Hesse explained that American business in general has been in trouble over the past few years. “In my view, principal business leaders will need to build our nation's leadership back up from the mess left by the lack of political leadership from our increasingly ineffective two-party political system,” Hesse said. “The imperative for corporate social responsibility by America’s business leaders to build our country’s leadership back up has never been greater.”
According to Hesse, one of the main problems with the American economy is the changing attitude towards capitalism. “Mitt Romney’s business background should be an asset, but instead, it’s a political liability,” he said.
Another issue, he believes, is that the nation is losing interest in the future. “I was talking to the CEO of a major corporation just last week, and he said that investors would prefer a higher profit next quarter even if it meant killing his business over the long term,” Hesse said. What’s even worse, he said, is that this is a widely held sentiment.