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What Happens When 100 of the World’s Most Influential CEOs Have a Meeting?

Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council meeting fosters conversations large and small.

An empty conference room prepared for a meeting - CSL Behring CEO Paul Perreault recently attended the Wall Street Journal CEO Council meeting in Washington.

There were plenty of headline-making names on the agenda at last week’s meeting of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, D.C.

Of course, people who lead businesses want to hear insights from government decision makers to get a sense of where we’re headed in the U.S. But I also appreciate what I learn from my peers at this annual event.

The council brings together leaders from some of the largest and most influential companies to talk about the issues facing us in global business today.  It’s a chance to engage with people who are leading organizations as different as CSL Behring, IBM, Fed-Ex and The World Bank. I’ve been invited to be a CEO Council member since 2016.

At the core, we’re all serving people and trying to offer more access and more value than we did the day before. At CSL Behring, we keep focusing and refocusing on the patients who need our life-saving medicines to live full lives. The work is never done.

That’s why I was interested, in particular, in two breakout panels: one about cybersecurity and the other about automation and artificial intelligence (AI). “Securing the Home Front,” a panel co-chaired by Bradley H. Feldmann of Cubic Corporation, reminded us that digital security issues continue to evolve and demand our utmost attention.

The panel on automation and artificial intelligence was aptly titled “The Next Workforce.” How do we - as panel co-chair and Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza has put it – make our business “digital at its core?” Alan Trefler of Pegasystems shared interesting insights on bleeding-edge yet practical applications underway at his company, including chatbots and workforce intelligence.

With that in mind, CSL Behring is integrating both automation and AI into capital expansion projects currently underway at each of our manufacturing facilities around the world. Our company wants to construct smart buildings that are ready to maximize the immense talent possessed by our 22,000 employees.

Like I said, the work is never done, but that’s OK. It means the innovating isn’t done yet either.


Paul Perreault is CEO and Managing Director of CSL, Ltd.