Schumpeter: Bumpkin bosses

THE heads of multinational companies like to think of themselves as generals in the globalisation wars. They dream of conquering fresh markets in the East. They boast about the diversity of their armies. And they love to mock politicians for their parochialism: why is Ed Miliband, the leader of the British Labour Party, making such a fuss about Pfizer’s bid for AstraZeneca when the first is run by a Scotsman and the second by a Frenchman?Which all makes a lot of sense: companies in developed countries do themselves nothing but harm if they fail to think globally. The biggest growth opportunities now are in the emerging world: McKinsey, a consultancy, calculates that people there will buy $20 trillion-worth of goods a year by 2020. So are the biggest threats: China’s Huawei has grown rapidly from an improbable idea into one of the world’s biggest telecoms companies.But how good are these generals at applying the logic of globalisation to themselves? Pankaj Ghemawat, of Spain’s IESE and NYU’s Stern business schools, calculates that only 12% of the world’s Fortune Global 500—the largest corporations by revenue—are led by a CEO who hails from a country other than the one in which the…

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