Viewpoints

Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Excellence

During a panel discussion at the 2019 Milken Global Conference, PIMCO CEO Emmanuel Roman discusses how to create a sustainable and lasting culture that can help businesses thrive.

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Manny Roman: You need to be willing to change. Because I look at us, and the biggest challenge is to hire enough good people in tech. And in tech, we compete not against people in this panel, we compete against Google, Apple, Amazon, startup. We set up an office in Austin where one of the goal is to be able to recruit a lot of talented tech people in Texas, because it’s a better hub than California or Southern California to hire people, and all of a sudden, we face — well, University of Austin, Texas, has one of the greatest computer science department, they produce 1000 people in STEMs. So you have new problems that — finance wasn’t confronted with 20 years ago. And we need to address them, and for this we need flexibility.

And so, you not only need to have a culture of excellence and recruiting the right people, but also, your universe changes, because what finance needs for the next 20 years may be very different than what you needed — I’m sure I’m not the only one who have done a partnership with Caltech and a partnership with University of Chicago for this express reason, because we need to hire people who are different.

25 years ago, I think finance was very good at hiring white American males. And I think this is not acceptable. I think we’re spending an enormous amount of time on inclusion and diversity, and I’m sure every member of this panel is. I think you need to hire people who are different from you, in every possible respect.

I just came back from Asia last week, where we have 120 people in Japan, where we’re incredibly committed to the Japanese market, where we need to slightly modify our culture. We need to hire people differently; you have different issues in terms of diversity. All of these things, on a practical basis, you need to deal with.

I think you have a set of values which is global. It’s one firm, and you treat people fairly and equally, and management cares just as much about what’s happening in Japan and Australia, than they care about what’s happening in southern California. And it takes work, and it takes a management committee where you have the head of Asia, who’s represented, the head of London who is represented. And the head of Asia used to be in the US. She moved to Asia; she’s doing an amazing job running Asia. But you move people around.

I always say, when you run a company, you are a custodian to the next generation. You are a custodian. You don’t own it. You’re a custodian. And someone else one day will take your job, and hopefully will do a better job than you have, and they’ll be the measure of your success.

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