Never waste a good crisis

Terry Leahy

If any CEO knows about marketing's contribution to success it is Tesco's ex-marketing director, Sir Terry Leahy. Here, he urges marketers to take advantage of these difficult times.

This article is an edited version of the speech given to The Marketing Society on 10 October 2011.

I was the first marketing director ever on the board of Tesco and the first marketing person to be CEO. But I'm no longer a marketing CEO, I'm now an investor and I think like an investor which now means I've not the first idea what marketing's about. I assume, as an investor, that marketing should be left to the accountants.

So my first observation is that, as a profession, marketers need to do more to tell the world - investors and finance people - of the vital role that they play in modern commercial enterprise.

When times are good for everybody, it's easy to do well. It's in the difficult times that a brand and a person can make more relative progress.