David McKay, CEO of Royal Bank of Canada, is one of a growing group of corporate leaders who recognize that workforce development is one of the defining challenges of our time. McKay is chairing a group of Canadian business leaders who are working with the government to give 150,000 young people a year the opportunity to participate in paid co-op or apprenticeship work programs, and develop the skills needed for the future workforce.
“I started as a co-op student myself,” McKay told me during a visit to Fortune’s offices yesterday. “I was from a low income family and studying at the University of Waterloo to be a coder.” The job gave him the opportunity to move from coding to management, and ultimately become CEO of one of the world’s largest banks, with a market cap of over $100 billion. Such entry level job opportunities “are the great democratizer.”
McKay is also a staunch believer in the notion that companies have to look after stakeholders as well as their shareholders. “There is no such thing as maximizing shareholder value,” he contends. “It depends on the time frame.” Over the longer term, “you fundamentally have to buy into the fact that you are only as strong as your community.”
Also in the new Fortune offices yesterday was HPE CEO Antonio Neri, talking about how he sees the future of computing evolving, and HPE’s role in it. You can see Neri’s interview with Fortune’s Susie Gharib here and here.
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