This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Friday 12 May 2023, 2pm to 3.30pm
  • Location: In-person and online
    CL/A/026, Church Lane Building, Campus West, University of York (Map)
  • Audience: Open to staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking not required

Event details

Responsible leadership in turbulent times

Responsible leadership at all levels has never been more necessary than in the present turbulent times. Major scandals have ranged from the role of banks and auditors in the financial crisis to the invidious behaviour of major charities. At the same time, governments have been globally faced with, amongst other things, the huge challenges of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic – not to mention the ramifications of the current conflict in Ukraine.

Responsible Leadership book

This presentation discusses the meaning of responsible leadership – considering the nuances and virtues of notions spanning from shareholder to stakeholder leadership. The various facets of the latter are considered along with the important link to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.

In addressing these themes, Mike Saks draws on his very wide experience in senior positions in universities, advising governments and other national and international bodies in the public and private sectors, and as the current Chair of the UN-endorsed Institute for Responsible Leadership. The collaborative links with the United Nations are crystallised in his latest edited book on Responsible Leadership published by Routledge. 


Zoom link

About the speaker

Professor Mike Saks


Mike Saks is Emeritus Professor at the University of Suffolk and Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln, the University of Westminster, UK and the University of Toronto, Canada. He was previously Visiting Professor at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Plymouth Marjon University and the University of Essex, UK. In 2018 he became Honorary Senior Adviser on Leadership to the United Nations (UN) and co-founder of the UN-endorsed Institute for Responsible Leadership (IRL). He is an appointed member, and only UK representative, on the World Health Organization Technical Expert Group on Global Health Practitioner Regulation. He is a current Fellow of the Institute of Directors, the Institute of Knowledge Exchange, the Research Council for Complementary Medicine and the Royal Society of Arts. Internationally, he was President of the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee on Professional Groups and is the present Vice President of the ISA Research Committee on Health and a Board member of several top international journals, including the Journal of Professions and Organization (Oxford University Press) – on which he is now Associate Editor. He also has a strong enterprise profile as a member of the Innovation Council, along with Chief Executives of major multinational corporations, and as a research adviser on corporate governance to Grant Thornton. In addition, he has been a chair/member of many health committees in the NHS and elsewhere at all levels – covering areas from the changing healthcare workforce to research and development. He has frequently advised professions and governments internationally on health and other matters – most recently producing the commissioned Saks Report in 2021, charting a five-year strategic direction for the Royal College of Podiatry.

Mike Saks received his PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics in 1985, where he also taught. He has held a university Chair since 1992. He was previously Provost/Chief Executive at University Campus Suffolk, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and Dean of Faculty of Health and Community Studies at De Montfort University – after contributing extensively to the Schools of Business, Law, Public Administration and Social Sciences there. He has just stepped down as a long-term Board member at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London, having earlier served on the Executive of the University of Essex and University of East Anglia. His successful career in universities has included receiving Times Higher Education awards for Widening Participation University of the Year and Outstanding Leadership and Management Team of the Year. He has given keynote presentations worldwide, from Argentina, Australia and Azerbaijan to Italy, Japan and South Africa, as well as addressing diplomats and ambassadors at the UN in Geneva. He has participated in funded research with partners spanning from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow to the University of Toronto in Canada, where he received the Best Brains Exchange Award in 2014 from Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Recent invited global visiting roles include the University of California in the United States and Wuhan University in China, in addition to membership of the Advisory Council of the School of Creative Arts in Ghana. 

During his career Mike Saks has published over one hundred high-profile journal articles and chapters on health, leadership, professions, regulation and research methods, as well as some two dozen edited and single authored books on these subjects with top publishers including Oxford University Press, Routledge and Sage. He is series co-editor with Policy Press/Bristol University Press on the Sociology of Health Professions: Future International Developments. His latest book with Routledge – following his monograph on Professions: A Key Idea for Business and Society (2021) – is the volume he has edited on Responsible Leadership: Essential to the Achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2023). This book was written in a unique partnership between the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the IRL, which he currently chairs. It includes twenty chapters by top-ranking contributors from across the globe on issues ranging from corporate social responsibility, cybersecurity, ethics, education and responsible innovation to climate change, health, inequality, labour trafficking, diversity, and youth and social media. As part of his role with the IRL, he also coordinates and fronts up a series of online webinars which go out to many countries in the Global North as well as the Global South in association with UNITAR. Further details of the responsible leadership activities of the IRL.

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • No hearing loop