In need of a new Renaissance

In need of a new Renaissance

I was educated in the classics – in Greek and Roman culture and philosophy. That’s likely why the renaissance has always fascinated me. The renaissance marked a rediscovery of Greek and Roman ideals, including the writings of Roman stateman, philosopher and scholar Cicero, who spoke of the moral duty of the state to govern in harmony with the universal principles of nature, and in accordance with the principles of equality, liberty and rule of law – principles that have inspired modern democracies and provided the tenets of the United Nations.   

The human race is extraordinary for its resilience. In fact, throughout the ages, some of the greatest leaps forward for humanity have happened after deep and enduring crises.

The renaissance took off from the devastating impacts of the bubonic plague. It was a rebirth of knowledge and reason and changed the world in just about every way we can think. To make sense of the world – of light and shadow, the human anatomy, the laws of gravity, of cosmos and how we fit in: The coming together of art, philosophy and science collectively pushed the boundaries of what we know and what we can achieve.

It’s time for a re-birth of knowledge and reason

I am hopeful that while COVID-19 has rocked our foundation as a global community, it has also brought a new sense of enlightenment: Of the urgent need to transform the way we consume, invest and live together as a global society. 

We need a return to knowledge and reason anchored in the laws of nature and founded on the principles of putting every person’s freedoms and rights first. Importantly, we need to come together with a new sense of discovery and curiosity in search of new logics of enterprise. These new logics need to establish that economies thrive when humanity thrives. That humanity can only prosper when the planet and everything living thrives. That the success of all of us hinges upon our ability to leave no one behind. That business wins when society wins.

We are at an inflection point

I am by nature an optimist: I truly believe that we are at an inflection point. Just last week, the G7 leaders met in Cornwall to accelerate their ambitions for climate, nature and a resilient global economy that will deliver prosperity and wellbeing for all people. They emphasized the power of democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights to answer the biggest questions and overcome the greatest challenges.

This is a return to reason and a wake-up call. In the lead-up to COP26, many of the world’s largest and most influential businesses are committing to decarbonize their value and supply chains. And investors and stakeholders are challenging the greatest CO2 emitters to significantly raise their ambition.

A crucial role for science and learning

In a fast-changing world, we need to learn fast. Collectively.

That’s also why now is the time for academic institutions to step up. They need to help us challenge the status quo, to point us in the direction of the next horizon of possibilities. Conversely, academia needs to bring the experience and pragmatism of business into their labs. Together, we can discover a new logic of enterprise that can catalyze capitalism and economic systems to deliver the world we want. We can experiment to make business models circular, regenerative, net-zero and socially inclusive. And we can shape the leadership ideals that embody the values and traits which can accelerate the transformation.

The Leonardo Centre on Business for Society

Leonardo da Vinci said: “Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else”.

This week, Imperial College London are launching their new Leonardo Centre on Business for Society. Not surprisingly, renaissance-man Leonardo da Vinci has inspired this new initiative. 

The Leonardo Centre is an open invitation to the most pioneering and forward-looking businesses to de-learn and re-learn how to see the role of business in a changing world; to co-create and experiment together with some of the world’s leading minds and innovators in search for new practices and solutions. The Centre will provide a strong platform for combining business experience and scientific research in search of new logics of enterprise for the world want.

As the Chair of the Advisory Board of Leonardo, I am excited about the mission of the Centre, and grateful to the leadership of Imperial for their vision and foresight. I am convinced that initiatives like these, born out of the academic tradition, could spark a new renaissance of knowledge and reason anchored in universal humanistic values.

Read the full article on LinkedIn here.

Lise Kingo joins the Supervisory Board at Covestro

Lise Kingo joins the Supervisory Board at Covestro

Lise Kingo is honoured and delighted to join the Supervisory Board at Covestro: “I have known Covestro for several years as a very inspiring role model for how to integrate sustainability into business strategy. I am honoured to bring my expertise and help take the company to the next level of implementing a fully circular business strategy.”

Read more here.

Novo Nordisk Foundation establishes a new advisory panel for its humanitarian grants

Novo Nordisk Foundation establishes a new advisory panel for its humanitarian grants

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has established a new advisory panel that will advise the Foundation on strategic issues and considerations related to the Foundation awarding grants for humanitarian purposes and development aid initiatives.

The Humanitarian and Development Aid Advisory Panel is being created because the Foundation has significantly increased its grants for humanitarian purposes in recent years. The Foundation plans to gradually increase its total annual payments for humanitarian purposes to DKK 200 million in 2023.

The Panel is broadly based and includes both Danish and international experts with many years of experience in their respective fields. These expert members have strong international networks and extensive knowledge across various aspects of humanitarian initiatives, including health, sustainability and human rights. They also have insight into local conditions in the areas in which the Foundation operates. The members are:

  • Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Bassem Saad, CEO, Queen Rania Foundation, Jordan
  • Lise Kingo, former CEO and Director, United Nations Global Compact
  • Flemming Konradsen, Professor, Department of Public Health and Director, School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen
  • Trine Rask Thygesen, State Secretary for Development Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Lars Munch will represent the Foundation’s Board of Directors on the Panel, which will be chaired by Hanna Line Jakobsen, Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

“We have established the new advisory panel to benefit from the extensive experience, insight and networks of its members. The goal is to strengthen the implementation of our strategy and specific programmes, so that these can be as effective as possible for the people and countries we want to help,” explains Hanne Line Jakobsen, Senior Vice President and Head of the Foundation’s grants for humanitarian and social purposes.

“The Novo Nordisk Foundation is in a development phase, and as a new and serious actor in the humanitarian field, we think that it is important to listen to and engage with leading capacities in the fields in which we work,” says Hanne Line Jakobsen.

Since 2019, the Foundation has had two special priorities in its humanitarian grants and development aid initiatives. One is to improve the future prospects of young refugees and other vulnerable adolescents in areas and countries affected by the conflict in Syria. These projects are being carried out in Jordan. The second priority is to combat noncommunicable diseases in the same region and in eastern Africa. These projects are currently being carried out in Jordan and Tanzania. The Foundation also distributes emergency aid for projects worldwide.

A study conducted by the Foundation shows that, from 2014 to 2019, more than 800,000 people in deprived parts of the world have benefitted from humanitarian projects supported by the Foundation.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805,

Sanofi’s Board of Directors proposes the appointment of Rachel Duan and Lise Kingo as independent directors

Sanofi’s Board of Directors proposes the appointment of Rachel Duan and Lise Kingo as independent directors

Paris (France) – March 4, 2020 – At its meeting on March 4, 2020, the Board of Directors of Sanofi decided to propose, at the next Annual General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for April 28, 2020, the appointment of two new independent directors, Rachel Duan and Lise Kingo, as well as the ratification of the appointment by co-optation of Paul Hudson and the reappointment of Laurent Attal, Carole Piwnica, Diane Souza and Thomas Südhof. Claudie Haigneré’s term of office, which expires at the end of the next General Meeting after three full mandates, will not be renewed. In addition, Suet-Fern Lee, after serving on the Board of Directors for the last 9 years, has declared her intention to retire and as a consequence to resign from her directorship before the said meeting.

Rachel Duan is currently Senior Vice President of GE and President & CEO of GE Global Markets, where she is responsible for driving GE’s growth in China, Asia Pacific, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

Rachel Duan joined GE’s Corporate Audit Staff in 1996. She then held several management positions, including Lean Six Sigma, sales and marketing at GE Plastics in China and the Asia-Pacific region. She became President & CEO of GE Advanced Materials China in 2006 and then of the Asia Pacific region in 2008. In 2010, Rachel Duan was appointed President & CEO of GE Healthcare China and President & CEO of GE China in 2014, becoming the first native Chinese woman to hold this position in GE’s largest market outside the United States. She was promoted to her current role in January 2019.

A native of Shanghai, Rachel Duan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and international business from Shanghai International Studies University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States. Throughout her career, she has worked and lived in the United States, Japan and China.

Lise Kingo is currently* CEO & Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, a position she has held since 2015. The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative uniting business to create a better world through universal principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Lise Kingo began her career in 1986 in business-to-business advertising at JP Bureau in Copenhagen and joined Novo Industries (now Novo Nordisk after the merger with Nordisk Gentofte) in 1988, where she remained for 26 years. She served as Chief of Staff, Executive Vice President and member of the Executive Management team since 2002, where she was instrumental in defining Novo Nordisk’s sustainable business strategy. Prior to 2002, she held various positions in Novozymes, Novo Holding and Novo Nordisk, including internal audit, compliance, people & organization, branding and sustainability.
A native of Denmark, Lise Kingo holds a bachelor’s degree in Religions and Ancient Greek Art from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics from the Copenhagen Business School and a master’s degree in Responsibility & Business from the University of Bath in the UK. Lise Kingo is also certified as a director by INSEAD in France. Throughout her career, she has held positions in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands and the United States.

* Lise Kingo will be stepping down from her post as CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact in June 2020. Assuming election to the Board, she will not sit at Board meetings until she has separated from the United Nations.

“The arrival of Rachel Duan and Lise Kingo allow to deepen the skills of the board of directors in the knowledge of emerging markets, especially China as well as in Social Responsibility. The Board of Directors is therefore continuing to adapt the profiles of its members in line with the Group’s strategic needs.” said Serge Weinberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The composition of the Board’s specialized committees will be reviewed at the end of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for April 28, 2020.

About Sanofi

Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.

With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.

Sanofi, Empowering Life

Media Relations Contact
Quentin Vivant
Tel.: +33 (0)1 53 77 46 46

Investor Relations Contact
Felix Lauscher
Tel.: +33 (0)1 53 77 45 45