CXO

Brexit: Global business executives sound off on how they will respond

The UK recently decided to leave the EU, sending the business world into a frenzy. Here are what a few business leaders think of the decision.

Image: iStockphoto/almoond

If there's one thing that the Brexit has produced in droves, it's uncertainty. The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union will undoubtedly impact many aspects of the public and private sector alike, but the full brunt of the decision won't be felt for many years.

SEE: Brexit: 5 ways the UK leaving the EU will affect tech firms (Tech Pro Research)

Still, that hasn't stopped the world from speculating how it will change the economy and the political landscape in Europe. Another area where the Brexit is sure to leave a mark is in business, specifically on firms that operate in the UK or do business there. As such, business leaders around the world are planning their response to the decision and taking steps to get ahead of it.

TechRepublic reached out to some business leaders and CXOs to hear their responses to Brexit. Here's what they had to say.

Herbert Hainer, adidas Group CEO

"We regret the UK's decision to leave the European Union. We will now do everything in our means to further successfully run our business in the United Kingdom—the same as we do in all other non-EU member states.

"The UK is one of our most important markets in Europe, adidas has a strong position there. We expect the demand for sporting goods as well as the trend towards leading a fit and healthy lifestyle to continue."

Steve Polilli, SAS Media Relations

"We don't have much to say about Brexit other than we'll try to drive additional sales around the globe to boost revenue impacted by a strong dollar/weak pound.

"Britain's recent vote to leave the European Union will not affect the way SAS does business, as it would for other companies—if the UK economy declines it may slow some sales cycles.

"As the value of the pound weakens against the dollar, the exchange rate may have a minimal negative impact to revenue this year. If the UK economy falters due to uncertainty, we may see a short-term slowing of new sales. Long-term, however, we don't expect to see a big impact."

Clint Oram, co-founder and CMO of SugarCRM

"We've created a cross-departmental 'Brexit task force' to determine how this affects both current and potential customers, and how we can respond to meet their needs. We're in the process of putting together a Webinar with Frank Fanzilli, a SugarCRM board member and the former global CIO at Credit Suisse to discuss how Brexit affects the financial sector.

"Because of Brexit, we are updating how we process payments in different currencies to give UK customers more flexibility. Very soon, we'll have the mechanisms to allow them the choice to pay us in dollars or other currencies.

"Beyond those important internal mechanisms, it's even more important that we start the conversation [about] the importance of keeping control of your cloud data during these times of uncertainty. We are advising customers to maintain cloud flexibility. We don't know how the data storage and data privacy regulations will shake out. It was already a murky issue for US multinational tech companies and now UK companies could be in the same boat. This potentially will take years to figure out as the UK and EU negotiate, but major IT projects can't just be put on hold. We are advising our European customers to work with vendors that operate both their own cloud and also enable other service providers to deliver SaaS services on their clouds, either private or public. In many cases, 'future-proofing' deployments with private clouds that can withstand current regulatory uncertainty is the way go."

Inder M. Singh, senior vice president and corporate marketing and strategy officer for Unisys

"Once we get past the nearer-term geopolitical issues, we could see demand for security, immigration processing, credentialing, and border control solutions grow as a result of Brexit, and any other follow-on actions in the region. The UK accounts for around 12% Unisys' revenues, and the company has a strong presence in the financial services, law enforcement, and public sector verticals in the country..."

"Specifically, some of the sentiment coming from the UK's decision—and others like it that happen in the future—actually can benefit Unisys' business. Concerns for border security, terrorism, cyber security, safeguarding the airports and cargo shipments of the world. We have the answer to those questions. We see demand for our business growing in the UK and elsewhere, and perhaps even more in case the UK begins to augment some of its infrastructure with Brexit..."

SEE: Brexit: Answers to 8 crucial questions for business and technology professionals (TechRepublic)

"While details are still being sorted out, Brexit will likely require that British IT infrastructure disengage from Europe and so IT firms like Unisys will need to do that work of 'lifting and shifting' technology assets and data centers. Financial passporting regulations that have eased the ability of insurance companies, banks, and other financial institutions to conduct business seamlessly across a single EU market to 500M consumers, may now require some institutions to consider building a physical and data presence on both sides of the Channel. While these decisions will not be made immediately, they will need to be worked out with the EU. Again, it is most likely that firms will depend on their incumbent IT providers to help them in this transition, and in some cases may create new jump-ball opportunities to gain share..."

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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