US CEOs Share Experience of Coming Together to Help India During Covid Crisis

Top U.S. CEOs, who were at the forefront of galvanizing the business community to help India during its Covid-19 crisis earlier this year, reflected on Wednesday on the outpouring of support for their efforts to save lives in India.

“I will always remember the spring weekend when Julie Sweet (CEO of Accenture) and others brought us together, we met via video and talked about what has been a terrible tragedy and urgent crisis. “said Brad, president and general counsel of Microsoft. Smith said at the US-India Business Council’s Ideas on India Summit.

A number of U.S. CEOs gathered in a video call over a weekend that laid the groundwork for one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever carried out collectively by the country’s private sector.

“As we saw Covid rates rise in India, we saw that people’s lives were literally on the line. We saw what it meant for our own employees, some of whom tragically died as a result of this terrible time. “, did he declare.

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“And yet I think we should also take inspiration from the fact that this tragedy has allowed us to discover a renewed and expanded capacity among us within the business community, in terms of what we can do when we come together.” Smith told the virtual audience.

Smith, along with Sweet and Arvind Krishna, CEO and President of IBM, received the USIBC Global Leadership Humanitarian Award from Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.

“In this situation, we found that if we worked together we could mobilize not only our financial resources but our expertise, our logistics supply chains, we could get PPE and critical oxygen related equipment, we We could buy it, we could move it, and we could get it to the people who needed it so we could help save lives, ”Smith said.

“We found that when we acted together, we could not only use our resources and expertise, but we could use our voice. We could use our voice to reach out to governments, including in Washington, DC, and we could also persuade them to do more, ”he said.

“And what we found was that when we combined our strengths in the public and private sectors, together we had a capability that I think neither of us fully appreciated until it. be put to the test. The other thing that we took away from this experience was the determination to help not only the Indian people, but those elsewhere in the world, ”said Smith.

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On April 23, Sweet said she was with her team and they were reviewing this week’s data. Covid cases have increased 160%. “By making a few calls the next day, it was clear to all of us, many, many companies had this in mind and that we could do more together than any of us, the government, the non-profit companies. lucrative couldn’t do it alone, ”she said.

So on April 24, Sweet sent an email around 9:30 p.m. on behalf of Krishna and herself and invited several CEOs and organizations to answer a call at 11:00 a.m. the next day.

“The next day, 20 CEOs, representatives of the US Chambers of Commerce, the India-US Strategy and Partnership Forum, the Business RoundTable, we all hopped on a call. There were no staff, there were no pre-briefings and no slides, ”she said.

“We were just sharing, hearing Raj from FedEx talking about what was going on in the logistics business; hear Alberto and, and Ken, what was happening on the pharmaceutical side. All sharing and all united by one goal. How can we help? ”Said sweet.

“We often talk about the opportunities with the pandemic to rebuild better. And this task force is a real example of our best reconstruction, ”said the CEO of Accenture, accepting the award. Observing that the Covid-19 pandemic has been the greatest challenge of a lifetime, Krishna said stopping its spread is a global problem that demands a global response.

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“I would also like to recognize that no country has had greater challenges on Covid than India. Protecting so many people and ensuring that accurate information is shared and widely available is difficult. Public-private partnerships are essential to the response to the pandemic, as well as to solving other major challenges, ”he said.

“Together, we will continue to ship medical supplies and other aids. Defeating Covid-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes collaboration, innovation and endurance. But I am convinced that by continuing to work together we will find our way through this difficult time and prevail, ”Krishna said.

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