In an era of hyper-transparency, political and social disruption, businesses are having to re-evaluate their purpose in society. Hyper-competitive global markets, disruptive technologies, cultural shifts in expectations regarding consumption and work, new demands for environmental sustainability and looming automation represent just some of the existential threats that companies are facing today.

More than ever before, companies and boards are facing growing pressure from their stakeholders to integrate new ideas and voices towards their strategy development to enhance commercial success, reduce risk and create shared value. How should companies respond to these challenges? What must companies do to build confidence and remain relevant in a globally connected digital age?

In this programme, we sketch out some key considerations as answers to such questions. The headline thought is that it is crucial to adopt a governance structure (and a ‘corporate culture’) that builds trust and provides a relevant experience for all stakeholders inside and outside a company. And here we do not just refer to the variety of investors (activists, families, ESG investors, etc.) but also key stakeholders including employees, consumers, creditors, other companies (both large and small), non-profits, educational institutions, governments, etc. Increasingly, there is a need to respond to the changing landscape of ‘new’ stakeholder groups.

What would be the future of stakeholder engagement as we move into a more collaborative, inclusive and strategic engagement – an engagement that provides significant value beyond risk avoidance?


  • - Know how to design appropriate and effective stakeholder engagement mechanisms
  • - Understand the importance of reporting and feedback to stakeholders
  • - Explain why a strong corporate culture matters
  • - Master the art of corporate storytelling
  • - Know how to build trust with your stakeholders



A Senior Legal Counsel, an Innovation Advisor, a Board/ Advisory Member of several organisations and a Professor in various universities The Netherlands


Erik P.M. Vermeulen is a Senior Legal Counsel at Signify (f.k.a Philips Lighting), an Innovation Advisor at a law firm in the Hague and a board/advisory member of several organisations, including a healthcare provider in The Netherlands and several startups. He is also a Professor of Business and Financial Law at Tilburg University and teaches international business law regularly at universities in Europe, the United States, Colombia and Japan and has appeared at numerous conferences as a featured or keynote speaker. Erik is also a co-owner of a Michelin star restaurant.

The combination of ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ has proven to be very successful. His role as a practitioner has provided a lot of input for his research on the life cycle of companies as well as corporate governance and culture. The main lesson learned is that stakeholder engagement is crucial to the success of companies around the world.

Erik can best be described as an innovator and has a blog where he shares insights and ideas about how the digital world is changing the way we live, work and learn. He has a particular interest in how artificial intelligence, sensors, data analytics and blockchain are amplifying and accelerating each other, thereby creating new opportunities across all areas of the economy and society.

Erik’s thought-provoking and innovative views on business, leadership, governance, regulation and education have attracted international attention. He regularly serves as an expert advisor to international organisations, such as the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, the World Bank, and national and local governments around the world.

Wednesday | 11 December 2019

8.30am - 9.00am


9.00am - 10.30am

Session 1:
Networks and the 21st Century Company

10.30am - 11.00am

Networking Break

11.00am - 12.30pm

Session 2:
The Three Principles for Staying Relevant
The Principle of ‘Flat Hierarchy’ & The Principle of Inclusiveness

12.30pm - 1.30pm

Networking Lunch

1.30pm - 3.00pm

Session 2:
The Three Principles for Staying Relevant
The Principle of Communication

3.00pm - 3.30pm

Networking Break

3.30pm - 5.00pm

Session 3:
The Role of the Board of Directors in Ecosystems


End of Programme

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