The Pope & The CEO is one of the few books written by collaborators and close, personal witnesses of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s life.
Drawing on his experiences as a Swiss Guard for Pope John Paul II, successful businessman and free-market advocate Widmer shares his lessons in business leadership. The Pope & The CEO is a must-read for business people and students interested in the intersection of business and faith; business ethics; and lessons in leadership derived from John Paul II.
The Pope & The CEO outlines nine principles for business leadership including: Know who you are, Know God, Know what’s right, Know how to choose what’s right, Know where you’re going and where you are, Know your team, and Know how to live a balanced life and practice detachment. Each lesson includes a how to guide and exercise. This highly readable book will leave you with concrete, actionable insights and resolutions that can help you live up to your God given potential, and the motivation to go and implement them.
Widmer’s twenty-year career in high-tech includes executive roles at some of the most innovative technology and top business strategy-consulting firms. Those experiences challenged him to reconcile his spiritual life with his work as a business leader. A popular speaker with corporate and Christian audiences alike, Widmer captivates by highlighting some of his personal interactions with John Paul II, providing insight into the little known culture of the Swiss Guards, and drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur and advocate of the free markets within the international development community.
On a parallel front, the current economic and ethical crisis evokes an openness to fresh models of leadership and trust. Left disillusioned by long-respected institutions and supposed business-hero icons, many people and organizations look for leaders and frameworks in which to place their trust. The Pope & The CEO translates some of Pope John Paul II’s legacy into business leadership lessons that respond to this gap.
Get results fast with this quick, colorful guide to Christian business leadership.
Includes how to:
- Explore your vocation and find ways to live up to your God given potential
- Confidently pray at and for your work
- Securely navigate business ethics and morals
- Effortlessly motivate and manage teams of all sizes
- Confidently build a culture of results and responsibility
- Assertively lead by doing and inspiring
- Live an integrated life
“The Pope & The CEO is a wonderful, down-to-earth book. A very successful businessman who got to know Pope John Paul II when he was a young Swiss Guard, learned a lot of lessons from that much-loved “CEO” of 1.1 billion Catholics around the world. He passes on here lessons about habits that help a leader in business draw the best out of his team, and send them out into the world in high spirits. As a work by a good Swiss ought to be, this one is a jewel of practicality — deftly applying anecdotes about this beloved Pope to nine overriding imperatives top leaders need to embody. Each of these nine chapters ends with questions for practical reflection, and suggestions for practice. … one of those wondrous books that helps make one not only a successful leader, but a better woman or man.”
Michael Novak is the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
“Andreas Widmer is an honest man, a good man, and an insightful man. His reflections on what he learned from perhaps the greatest Christian of our time offer all of us a powerful example of leadership at work.”
George Weigel, Pope John Paul II’s Biographer, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center
“Fascinating, intimate, inside stories of one Swiss Guard’s personal interactions with Blessed John Paul II captivates readers with a rare glimpse into the little known culture of the Pope and his guards. Those real-life encounters with the Pope formed Andreas Widmer’s life and views on faith, family, and work—from a young Swiss Guard to a corporate executive and CEO. Real leadership requires reconciling our spiritual lives with our work, and the Pope & The CEO are two Christian men that show us how to put that into practice every day.”
Immaculee Ilibagiza, Author and Motivational Speaker
“John Paul II’s witness to the reality of God’s grace in the life of man, as divine presence and guidance, so inspired and touched the life of one of his body guards, a Swiss guard, that when the latter became an entrepreneur and a CEO, he set himself to emulate the virtues of leadership of the Pope. In this book, the Swiss-Guard-turned-CEO gives a personal witness to the successful application of the Pope’s leadership virtues in the life of a CEO and offers the same to CEO’s and his readers. The book is thus an excellent tribute to the memory of the Pope and a commendable guide to successful entrepreneurship.”
Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
“Andreas Widmer has given us a true gift by sharing his first hand experience of Pope John Paul’s personal habits so that we can incorporate these in our own leadership journey. By making the Pope accessible and by appropriating the Pope’s demeanor into his own personal and work lives, Andreas gave a us a role model who is truly worthy of the word and shows us that it is possible to achieve the sanctity of leadership even in the context of business.”
Carolyn Y. Woo, Dean, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame & Incoming President of Catholic Relief Services
“This book is written by a former member of the Swiss Guard and provides a thoughtful perspective of how Pope John Paul II put his faith into practice in his private and public life. In so doing, he provided inspiration and learning for the author, who later in life was to serve as a corporate executive and CEO. The author’s work was to become a calling of God as he integrated the claims of his faith with the demands of his work.”
Bill Pollard Chairman, Fairwyn Investment Company
“In The Pope and the CEO, Andreas Widmer gives a striking testimony to the heroic holiness of life of Blessed Pope John Paul II, which he, as a young Swiss Guard, was blessed to witness at close hand. He offers a most powerful testimony, showing how the holiness of Pope John Paul II inspired and continues to inspire him, also through some most difficult times in his life, to strive for what the saintly Pontiff aptly called the ‘high standard of ordinary Christian living.’ It is my hope that Widmer’s book will draw many, especially those engaged in business, closer to Blessed Pope John Paul II and, through him, to Christ to Whom, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, he gave his whole being, right up to the last moment of his life.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
“The Pope & The CEO is a powerful book. I literally read it in one sitting, late into the night. Now I intend to spend the rest of my vacation re-reading it and carefully considering the questions and exercises.
It is hard to discover a calling; even harder to be true to one. The lessons outlined in this book help the reader find his or her true path. This book is going to touch many lives!”
Jeff Sandefer, Founder, The Acton MBA
“Andreas’ insights from daily life with a great man like John Paul II drives home the point that business decisions can be made from purely human motives OR with God’s inspiration for us and for our work. The anecdotes and insights make The Pope & The CEO a worthwhile read”
Claire Huang, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
“Andreas Widmer has produced an excellent management tool for those of us who believe the teachings of the Church will enlighten our path and guide us to succeed in every endeavor. John Paul II’s relentless defense of freedom helped shape the XX Century. He was a living example of what can happen when the virtues of faith, hope and love merge with wisdom, a positive attitude and strategic thinking. From the C-Suite of large corporations to the day-to- day small entrepreneur, the lessons of The Pope & The CEO are right on target.”
Juan J. Daboub, Ph.D., Founding Chief Executive Officer of the Global Adaptation Institute and former Managing Director of the World Bank
“This book offers a highly readable presentation of Catholic social teaching as it applies not only to the business world but to the life of any leader. The lessons that Andreas Widmer learned from his time as a Swiss Guard provided through his deeper insight into a man who is arguably the greatest Saint of our day, Blessed John Paul II, show forth the universal relevance of Catholic thought. Andreas came to understand that holiness is not only essential to leadership but that leadership is, if lived well, a path to greater holiness. May many read and profit from this wonderful work!”
Mother M. Assumpta Long, O.P.
“This is a surprising book. I didn’t expect to find, in the same book, helpful insight for defining my businesses mission, improving my team’s dynamics, and deepening my prayer. But I did, because The Pope & The CEO is about living an integrated life where our leadership, business activity, personal life, and spirituality deeply inform and reinforce one another. I would like to live this kind of life but its hard without role models. Through Andreas’ stories of his surprising interactions with the Pope, I found in Pope John Paul II an inspiring, concrete example of a man living an integrated life. This has been profoundly relevant to my life and business.”
Karl Wirth is a software executive who is currently founder and CEO of an early stage startup
“Style is not about branding. It is the disposition one displays throughout one’s life. This disposition is most easily exposed in a person’s dealing with others. Having worked with and known Andreas for many years, I experienced his disposition and the evolution of that disposition first hand. His book is the sum of his life and experiences and thus a very personal account. It’s a wonderful witness about how to integrate faith and work.”
Gabriela Spindler, Microsoft New Zealand and formerly Germany
“A captivating book filled with many memorable images of Blessed John Paul II, as well as countless practical pointers. A must-read for any executive seeking to do well and do good.”
Jo Tango, Partner, Kepha Partners
“Any memoir by someone intimately connected on a day-to-day basis to Blessed John Paul II, arguably one of the most influential Christians of the last millennium, would be worth a read. “”The Pope & The CEO” is much more than that: it consists of the meditations of a man who was at once a witness to history as a member of the elite Swiss Guard, a sensitive soul, an intellectual and a business man. Mr. Widmer writes in a an easy yet insightful style that makes his work a valued contribution to the growing corpus on the life and ideas of a man history will called John Paul the Great.”
Fr. Robert A. Sirico, President, The Acton Institute, Grand Rapids, MI
“Pope John Paul II will probably be best remembered for his role in overturning communism in Poland and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Less well known are his many other achievements as a leader. As a former Swiss Guard at the Vatican, Andreas Widmer has given us a rare insight into the life of the Pope and his style of leadership. Observing the inspirational leadership of the Pope close up inspired Andreas to start living his faith more seriously and to apply the Pope’s style of leadership in his corporate world. This wonderful book will give you an insight into the ‘human’ side of the Pope as well as challenge you about your life and how you lead your family, organization and business.”
Dr Kim Tan, Chairman, SpringHill Management Ltd.
“In The Pope & The CEO, Andreas Widmer captures John Paul’s deep commitment to the human person and provides an engaging and insightful look at how this understanding of the human person is necessary for personal and professional flourishing. The book captures the essence of the tradition and teachings on the human person and the good life, and provides compelling and clear guidelines for applying these ideas to current business and professional challenges.”
Anna Halpine, Founder of the World Youth Alliance
“In a world which often sees the Gospel of Truth and the world of business as polar opposites, Andreas Widmer sees, understands, and develops the connections. As Benedict XVI has repeatedly reminded us, we are all called to be saints. In The Pope & the CEO, Widmer shows how the words and actions of Blessed John Paul II provide living guidance for all those charged with high responsibilities in the marketplace: guidance for prudent and morally-wise business decisions, and guidance about how to pursue holiness in our everyday lives.”
Samuel Gregg, Director of Research, Acton Institute
“Must read for anyone in the business world. I know I talk about wanting to be a man of integrity and putting the interests of others above my own, but the Pope’s actions and words reflected that he was a living definition of the word. Thank God, Andreas was present to capture the living witness and testimony of this Pope and share his wisdom to benefit all readers. The Pope & The CEO has captivated and challenged me to become a man that pursues the heart and mind of Christ. Thank you for challenging us to become the men that God desires us all to become.”
David Howlett, Serial Entrepreneur
“As the title suggests, The Pope & The CEO is an attempt – really well done – to articulate an account of the many connections between Christian faith and entrepreneurial-managerial activity. The key to Widmer’s argument is the suggestion that the market, the business, the economy can themselves be the place for reciprocity, fraternity, civilization. Under one condition: that the enterprise is not seen only as a machine to make money. As John Paul II “taught” to the Author, money and profit are weak incentives if we want to move people at the level of their most noble and powerful energies. The narrative of the book is rather original. Between personal recollections of the two years spent as a Swiss Guard and the accurate report of the multifarious activities undertaken since he left the Vatican, Widmer provides us with a useful guidebook for people who really desire to achieve successful leadership.
The Pope & The CEO is a beautifully written book that ought to be read by all those who realize that our time is characterized by a deep crisis, that is not simply economic and financial, but also cultural and ethical. Its reading will certainly contribute to the generation of new ideas and pave the way for new venues of research in managerial studies.”
Stefano Zamagni, Professor of Economics, University of Bologna; Adjunct Prof. of Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University, Bologna Center; President of the Italian Agency for the Third Sector
“A rare glimpse into the life of a member of the Swiss guard and his remarkably accessible reflection son the ongoing challenge and gift of faith.”
Kerry Robinson, Founding Executive Director, NLRCM, Raskob Foundation, FADICA Board of Directors
“Reading The Pope & The CEO and reflecting on the tremendous turmoil in our world today, I am reminded of the enduring importance of effective leadership. From my perspective, it is imperative that we rethink and rebuild our approaches to solving the big issues of the day and capturing the many emerging growth opportunities across the globe. These new organizations will require a new type of leader, or as is articulated in the book a return to the certain successful leadership traits of a great mentor. For current CEOs, this book will cause you to stop and contemplate your own unfolding legacy. For future CEOs, you are provided with some important discoveries for how to shape a better world and a more enjoyable life!”
Bob Keith, President & CEO, Catalyst Growth Partners
“An important book, a reflection on social issues based on Widmer’s unique and memorable experience as a Swiss Guard. The book underlines the human vocation to be free and creative. It is a wonderful example that vividly brings to life the specific ways in which entrepreneurs and managers can offer innovative products, through the organization of work and production that encourages virtuous relations between stakeholders.”
Flavio Felice, Professor at the Pontifical Lateran University and Director of the Research Area on Catholic social doctrine ‘Caritas in Veritate’ at the same university. He is also President of the Tocqueville-Acton Centre Studies in Rome-Milan
“The Pope & The CEO blends the insight of one of the greatest men of our time, Blessed Pope John Paul II with the life and experience of a CEO who worked for the Pope as a Swiss Guard. What Mr. Widmer explains is just as relevant to personal relationships as it is to Christians and Entrepreneurs. The world needs Entrepreneurial enterprise now more than ever and the examples in this book not only show us how to do the right thing morally, but also how doing so is vital to success in our endeavors and true happiness. Mr. Widmer understands and explains business as a calling and the importance of virtuous enterprise in a free society.”
Don Alexander , Co-Owner, Alexander Mfg. Co.
“My friend, Andreas Widmer, found his faith while protecting Pope John Paul II as a member of the Vatican’s legendary Swiss Guards. The experience changed his life and continues to guide his quest to integrate his faith into being a husband, father, CEO and marketplace leader. In The Pope & The CEO, Andreas shares with us his personal memories and the lessons learned from of one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century. John Paul’s powerful example of faith, humility and love will challenge you to discover your calling and put your faith into action. “
Dale Dawson, Founder & CEO. Bridge2Rwanda
“What we find in Andreas Widmer’s book is the fruit, both of his own disciplined and perspicacious scrutiny of his own life, and of the influence on that life of the years he spent, not only in close proximity to Blessed John Paul ll, but in what turned out to be a spiritual mentorship. It is a story suffused with the luminescence of wisdom and holiness.”
Thomas Howard, Catholic Author
“When I first met Andreas, he told me, “I became a committed Christian under the personal witness of Pope John Paul II.” This claim was so unique and stunning, that I was immediately drawn to his testimony. Imagine learning under the tutelage of the “CEO” of Christianity, and allow yourself to learn how to be a CEO from the personal and deeply insightful comments by Andreas Widmer, a former Swiss Guard of Pope John Paul II.”
Richard E. Omohundro, General Partner, The Carpenters Fund