Keeping profits, social responsibility, and public relations on an even keel is no mean feat when you're a government contractor. UK services company Serco employs tens of thousands across the world in areas as diverse as defence, justice, and healthcare.
Rupert Soames joined Serco as chief executive in 2014 and completed his tenure at the end of 2022. In this straight-talking interview, Fidelity International's Global Head of Investment Research Ned Salter hears about his ESG lessons and in particular the social component: could Serco pay their staff more? Yes, but they'd lose business. Should they carry out controversial government policy? Yes, if it's the mandate of a democratically elected government. Is ESG investing a good thing? Not in its more zealous forms, no.
Hear him explain these answers in this episode, and why he sees public scrutiny as an essential part of the job, and then listen to Fidelity's investment team explain the significance of what's been said here.
This interview was recorded in July 2022.