Ioannis Ioannou: Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London School of Business

My NativeAdVantage:


Prof. Ioannou is a strategy scholar whose research focuses on Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). More specifically, he seeks to understand whether, how, and the extent to which the modern business organization contributes towards building a sustainable future. His academic work evolves around two main themes: a) understanding how investment analysts, and the public equity markets, perceive, evaluate and react to corporate engagement with, and integration of, environmental and social issues into strategy and b) understanding the multiple factors (e.g. institutional, regulatory, behavioural) that may affect, drive or hinder, the corporate decision to adopt environmentally and socially responsible strategies. Prof. Ioannou regularly publishes in top-tier peer-reviewed academic journals including the Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Organization Science, The Accounting Review and the Journal of International Business Studies. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Strategic Management Journal and in 2015 received an Outstanding Editorial Board Member Award for his service. In 2016, Prof. Ioannou was awarded the 2016 ARCS Emerging Sustainability Scholar Award; an award that recognises a scholar in the area of corporate sustainability who is likely to make significant contributions to the advancement of corporate sustainability scholarship. At the same event, Prof. Ioannou’s work with R. Durand and O. Hawn received the 2016 ARCS Outstanding Paper Award.


What do you do best?

I am in an industry that focuses on and encourages learning, so I hope that being able to learn is one of my stronger qualities. This does not mean that I do it better than others, but I do try to do it better today relative to how I did yesterday. I do fundamentally believe that at the end of the day, your only competition today, is your yesterday’s self. Each individual is on their own journey, on their own path in life!

What makes you the best?

Never assume you are the best in anything. Relentlessly pursue the next level, keep learning, keep improving, both personally and professionally. Believing that you are the best is, in my view, equivalent to being a victim of your own past success. Also, it is a major reason why companies around the world fail in the long-run! It’s the well-known success trap.

What are your aspirations?

My personal aspiration is to achieve balance across the different dimensions and aspects of my life; especially work/life balance. I believe that the quest for balance is one of the largest contemporary challenges for many of us. There are simply too many demands and expectations on our time and our lives that we need to make choices, and oftentimes, tough choices. I aspire to being able to make those choices wisely! My professional aspiration is to contribute, to the best of my ability, to the broader understanding of how the business corporation may contribute towards building a sustainable future. In so doing, I hope to contribute to our understanding of which business models (and how) may help alleviate some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as climate change, inequality, social immobility.

Biggest Success?

Getting tenure at the London Business School last year. It was a great recognition of my academic work to date, and I consider it to be a major acknowledgement of my contribution to the body of academic knowledge that seeks to understand one of the world’s most powerful modern institutions: that of the modern business corporation.

Most Challenging Moment?

The last year of my PhD program at HBS when, for a variety of reasons, I became totally disillusioned with the academic lifestyle and academic career. At that point, I had to choose between a job offer at a consulting firm vs. an academic career. It took me some time to decide; for me, in many ways, this was equivalent to deciding who I wanted to be and what I wanted to commit to for the rest of my life.


Sometimes you just really need to “let go”. There is such a thing as overthinking or overanalyzing a life decision. Trust that in the end everything is going to be okay. And if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end! (not my own quote, I remember reading this somewhere, but I really believe in, based on personal experience!)

Favorite People/Role Models?

Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, J.K. Rowling, Paul Polman, Tom Steyer. Also, my partner. We have been together  7 years and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him; he has been my rock. And, my brother with whom we are very close; again, someone that has always been there for me.

Favorite Places/Destinations?

I am passionate about learning European History so whenever I get the chance for a weekend getaway from London, I really enjoy exploring European cities and experiencing the local culture while sightseeing. Some of my (very) recent favorites would be Dubrovnik, Bergen, Oslo, Copenhagen, and Cologne! Classic favorites would include Rome, Berlin, Paris, Athens, Barcelona, and Madrid.

Favorite Products/Objects?

Gadgets! I am in love with my Sonos sound system, and my Phillips Hue lights. My soon-to-buy list includes Alexa and possibly … a Tesla!

Current Passions?

I am a voracious book reader. I read on my iPad, my iPhone, my Kindle, I read all the time. I set myself a target of a minimum of 15 books a year. Also, I love languages. Currently, I am learning Turkish!