A View from Allstate’s CEO: How Corporations Can Be a Force for Good

Entrepreneurs / 30th September 2016

The role of corporations in America needs to change, wrote Allstate Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Wilson in the Washington Post.

“Corporations should be encouraged and rewarded for stepping up to solve society’s problems,” Wilson wrote. “That will require a change in mind-set. Today, corporate leaders are graded on stock price, not on the amount of good their companies do. We must broaden our evaluation of corporations beyond share prices to provide space, light and water for their role to grow. Shareholders should be asking how corporations are building intangible assets such as customer relationships, their employee bases and their reputations, not just pushing for share buybacks.”

Wilson went on to say that successful corporations of tomorrow – “22nd Century Corporations” – should step up to help solve society’s problems. In addition, he cited examples of how fully integrating social good into a corporation’s purpose is good for business. Helping communities raises a company’s reputation among customers, which supports growth and helps them attract, develop, motivate and retain the best workers. Stronger, more prosperous communities with better-educated workers and customers also provide a much better economic and business climate.

Wilson periodically provides comment and insight about timely business and policy topics in national media outlets, and his articles have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN.com. In addition, Wilson recently authored a Huffington Post article on youth empowerment. As CEO of Allstate, Wilson’s emphasis has been not only on doing the right things (such as investing in cutting-edge innovation), but on doing them in the right way – such as optimizing the pace of change and investing in the people of Allstate.

Wilson introduced the concept of a 22nd Century Corporation in Allstate’s 2015 annual report (see www.allstate.com/annualreport) and corporate responsibility report (see http://corporateresponsibility.allstate.com/leadership-messages). In addition, Wilson has overseen a cultural transformation at Allstate, which is transitioning from a products-based company to a value-based organization that “brings out the good” for customers and Allstaters while focusing on “doing good” in areas such as empowering youth, helping domestic violence survivors, promoting teen safe driving and safer communities.

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