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The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has taken a landmark step in establishing a Centre in Values-based Leadership thanks to sponsorship from Allan W.B. Gray, founder of Allan Gray Limited and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. The centre is the first of its kind in South Africa, and seeks to raise important sustainability and responsible practice issues to priority status in South Africa and beyond.

The Centre builds on a long-time relationship between the UCT GSB and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, and represents a major step forward in addressing these critical contemporary business issues.

The Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership will consist of a senior professor, a senior lecturer and two PhD bursaries. Research will follow an agenda decided on by both UCT GSB and the Foundation, the main goal being to explore new ways of doing business, based on purpose and sustainability.

Values-based leadership is an exploration in creating dignity and belonging and initiative through business,” said Professor Walter Baets, Director of the UCT GSB.

It is a fundamental questioning of the principles by which the world has been doing business. We’ve seen that how we have been doing business is questionable. We should bring in a new way of thinking and doing business. Values-based leadership is I believe a fundamental building block of new business and economic practices.”

Baets added that the new Centre is quite bold and innovative. “Not many business schools have values-based leadership faculty and it shows that Allan Gray is innovative and visionary, and that business supports the vision and mission of the UCT GSB,” he said.

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is an organisation that was established in 2005 as an education and development catalyst to assist a generation of high growth entrepreneurial change agents to bring about job creation in Southern Africa.

After much conversation between the Foundation and the GSB it was decided to support the Values-based Leadership Chair; to support an academic powerhouse as it investigates new leadership practices,” said CEO of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Anthony Farr.

The vision of the Foundation is to develop high impact leaders and entrepreneurs. We feel values are implicit in leadership. Leaders should be motivated by a sense of purpose, a philosophy Allan Gray himself has always subscribed to. This partnership is a coming together for a common vision,” said Farr.

The partnership is by no means standard because the relationship will be more closely knit than traditional partnerships of the same sort between sponsors and business schools.

In the case of this Centre, the Foundation will be at the forefront of the research agenda and they will help select the faculty members, it is a mutual responsibility and endeavour,” said Professor Baets.

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