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"Just because you are CEO, don't think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I've never forgotten that." - Indra Nooyi, CEO PepsiCo

Zhang Yue, the CEO and founder of Broad Group, is widely regarded as one of the most inventive and innovative CEO’s in the world today. Zhang’s success sprung from developing an air conditioning system with his brother. He then went on to become one of Forbes top 100 richest CEO’s in China (Forbes). Zhang is originally from the Hunan Province in China.

Today Zhang is developing an innovative and almost over-imaginative project, which effectively is a "Sky City," which aims to alleviate some of the world’s current pollution problems, and which is essentially a long term plan to eradicate the unsustainable methods of fuel, reduce disease and ultimately be a self-contained city. Zhang claims that the city "can fix many of the world's pollution, congestion, transportation and even disease problems by completely purifying the tower's air," (Reuters Magazine)

The concept itself is forward thinking, and comes at a time when most CEO’s are thinking less of the environment, and more of the current economic crisis. What is interesting about Zhang, is that he realizes and understands that the environmental crisis that the world is facing is just as relevant as the debt crisis, maybe even more so. He very realistically is quoted as saying: “Land shortages are already a grave problem. There's also the very serious transportation issue. We must bring cities together and stretch for the sky in order to save cities and save the Earth. We must eliminate most traffic, traffic that has no value! And we must reduce our dependency on roads and transportation." (Reuters Magazine). Sky City, if it works will be a solution to a problem which has yet to be solved: how do we reduce our carbon footprint without drastically impacting the world that we live in?

Zhang is part of the movement in China since the 1990s where a wave of innovative thinkers have sprung up and taken top spots as CEOs across a range of different companies. Equally, Zhang realizes the importance, especially in China, of appreciating the massive impact corporations have on the environment. Moreover, his success appears to have arisen from both his innovative ideas and his social conscience as a leader. In many people’s opinion, this makes him China’s most influential leader today.
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This article was written by Helen Langley of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
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