Transformation Leadership: The winning conditions 

'What was important was to get started and then to leave room for people to experiment and improve.'

Transformation Leadership with Arnaud Soirat

In the fourth episode of our new bonus miniseries of Leadership2050, Andrew White and co-host Adam Canwell are joined by Arnaud Soirat, the former Chief Operating Officer at Rio Tinto, who led the global mining group through a radical bottom-up cultural transformation of the company’s mindset and behaviour.

When Arnaud was called to head up a productivity transformation, he saw that the people at Rio Tinto were its greatest untapped potential to create a new competitive advantage. And so, unlike previous transformations that had been top-down and unsustainable, Arnaud and his team inverted the pyramid and asked those on the shopfloor and actually doing the work to lead on designing a new operating model. 


In 2021 Saïd Business School and EY formed a long-term research collaboration to find out why:

  • most transformations fail to deliver the value that organisations expect?
  • what should CEOs do when a transformation goes off track?

These questions have confounded companies around the world over for decades.


As an extension to this research project Andrew White and Adam Canwell at EY came together in this podcast series, Transformation Leadership2050, to explore the journey a number of global leaders and their workforce went through as they successfully led their organisations through significant change.

In this series Andrew and Adam focus on the specific area of turning points. These are those moments every organisation faces in a transformation which can lead to failure or create positive momentum and accelerate your business into the future. 96% of companies featured in Andrew and Adam’s research face them. Challenges are bound to hit but we don’t plan for them.