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The University of Southampton

Christine Lagarde to deliver inaugural Dame Helen Alexander Memorial Lecture

Published: 6 September 2018
Dame Helen Alexander
As Chancellor, Dame Helen Alexander played a leading role for the University of Southampton.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde will deliver the inaugural Dame Helen Alexander Memorial Lecture in London on 17th September.

The annual address is devoted to the memory of Dame Helen Alexander, a much-loved and pioneering figure in British business who also served as Chancellor of the University of Southampton from 2011 until her untimely death in 2017. As Chancellor, Dame Helen played a leading ambassadorial role on behalf of the University, presiding over degree ceremonies at graduation.

The Lecture, to be hosted by Bloomberg, is supported by Helen’s family and by four organisations with which she was closely associated: The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), The Economist, the University of Southampton and UBM. The Lecture’s overarching theme is ‘Women on Business’ as each year, the speaker will be a prominent woman talking about an important aspect of business to an audience of business leaders. Christine Lagarde is expected to focus on the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals, which encompass the idea that economic growth must be accompanied by social inclusions and environmental sustainability.

Amongst the audience at this year’s Lecture will be a group of students and recent graduates from the University of Southampton Business School, selected to attend after competing for the opportunity. Linda Porter, MSc Business Strategy and Innovation Management; Emmanual Agbonika, MSc International Management; Lisa Veiber, BSc Business Analytics; Catherine Guest, PhD researcher; and Lori Wu, BSc Accounting and Finance, are also hopeful of meeting Christine Lagarde at the event.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton, said:

“As Chancellor, Dame Helen was very popular across the University, and we especially miss her personal warmth and enthusiasm which she shared with our staff, students and alumni. This Memorial Lecture is a fitting tribute to Helen’s outstanding contributions as a leader and businesswoman, whose capabilities and achievements serve as an inspiration to us all.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“Helen was a brilliant champion and fought tirelessly to improve the gender balance in business leadership. Through this memorial lecture, her legacy can continue to inspire change in the boardroom and beyond.

“I can’t think of a more fitting speaker than Christine Lagarde for Helen’s inaugural memorial lecture.”

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief at The Economist, said:

“Helen brought a rare combination of talents to business – a mix of intelligence, level-headedness, humanity and decency. An annual lecture by a prominent woman on a topical business theme is an ideal way to build on her legacy, and Christine Lagarde is the ideal inaugural speaker.”

John Micklethwait CBE, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg News:

“We are delighted to host this event at Bloomberg. Helen was one of those business leaders whose legacy went well beyond commercial success: whatever you go in the world, you met people whose lives she changed. She would have loved the idea of this lecture; and been even happier that Christine Lagarde is delivering it.”

The Dame Helen Alexander Memorial Lecture will be recorded and made available via the University of Southampton website after 17th September.



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