MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jacinda Ardern has risen to the top of headhunters’ must-call list. In a surprise move on Thursday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister revealed she was stepping down after more than five years in the role, saying she had “no more in the tank”. Her contacts, international profile, and social-justice nous are skills corporates, charities and supranational organisations treasure in board members and advisers.
To be sure, her unapologetic socialist leanings might prevent her joining outfits like JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala – where erstwhile British PM Tony Blair landed. But her vote for legalising cannabis could put her on the radar of companies hoping to take advantage of loosening rules across Asia. Her administration’s push to legalise abortion and to enact climate change legislation gives her serious ESG clout.
Ardern also has a talent for turning adversity into opportunity. After being recorded calling an opposition politician an “arrogant prick” last year, she apologised, teamed up with her victim and sold a signed copy of the phrase to raise $64,000 for prostate cancer. That’s a knack gaffe-prone organisations everywhere would pay for. (By Antony Currie)
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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)
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