News

New Leadership for a New Automotive Industry?

 


La Tribune | October 19, 2017



The La Tribune article, “New Leadership for a New Automotive Industry,” co-written by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Xavier d'Aumale and Barnaby Noble
analyzed the new automotive industry. A translated excerpt of the article is below.

Changes in use patterns, new mobility solutions, and the proliferation of digital technology are attracting new competitors like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Tesla, who are seeking to capture a share of the profits from the largest industry in the world. By Xavier d’Aumale and Barnaby Noble, Russell Reynolds Associates France(*).

We see it every day: technological developments in the automotive industry are an excellent illustration of the digital transformation taking place in companies today. This year, Frankfurt provided a showcase for this trend.

Changes in use patterns, new mobility solutions, and the proliferation of digital technology are attracting new competitors like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Tesla, who are seeking to capture a share of the profits from the largest industry in the world. Manufacturers and suppliers have no other choice but to enter into new business lines and offer new services, in addition to their core business, if they want to keep their place at the table. Skills and leadership are merely the conditions for a successful implementation of this transformation. And what is true for automobiles is true for industry as a whole.

A successful transformation requires not only the recruitment of new technical and business skills in those new activities, but also a profound change in the leadership and governance model. The “fail-fast” method employed by the new players in the field is a perfect illustration of this. It involves quickly introducing a potentially imperfect product on the market and then upgrading it in fast loops. Of course, this is difficult to imagine for the design of the vehicles themselves, given the security and quality requirements, but it has been proven relevant to their new onboard services. In other words, mobility is at the heart of this transformation.

Today, 90% of executives in the automotive sector are men, and 75% come from their company’s home country. More than two-thirds of executive hires are internal promotions. Although diversity – particularly generational – is developing within management teams, it is still in its early stages, in view of what lies ahead.

Entering these new digital businesses now means bringing one or more new profiles into management. A study of proprietary psychometric data revealed that, in a context of traditional industries, the best profile is the “productive disruptor.” These people are fairly rare and yet essential, and can be described as follows:

To read the full article​​ in the original French, click here.

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New Leadership for a New Automotive Industry?