Source : Les Echos

Source: La Lettre A (article in French)

© Photo: Naval Group

Source: Capital avec Management (article in French)

Source: Les Echos Capital Finance (article in French)

© Capital Finance / Shutterstock

“What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms.”
–Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


“I can’t seem to find meaning in my job anymore”.

This is often what my clients say at the beginning of a coaching relationship.

It seems that when we have achieved career success, we may wake up one day to a nagging feeling that whilst our hard work has brought us everything we wished for—power, financial independence, recognition from peers, social status—we still long to find meaning in what we do.

For some, the wake-up call can be brutal: falling sick, losing our job, the death of a close relative, or a divorce. For others, the dull and painful feeling that we are wasting our life grows until we can no longer ignore it.

When this happens, we may feel lost. We used to think that we had our lives all figured out, but apparently, we don’t. Worse, we don’t know where to turn to for guidance. Those closest to us don’t understand us and they mock us gently: “You’re having a midlife crisis. It will pass.” Or “Don’t be stupid. Look at all you’ve achieved. What are you complaining about?”

Deep inside, though, we know that it won’t pass until we find our true purpose.

This is simpler said than done. Perhaps, we can buy that red convertible, or seek a younger romantic partner. This may buy us a few years, but most likely, material and physical pleasures won’t fill the void. Our soul cannot be bribed so easily.

How, then, can we start our quest?

Here is some guidance that I offer to my clients:

1. We can only hear the faint voice of the soul when we listen carefully. To do that, we must first be in a quiet, silent space. There is no way to hear the soul when we are hyperactive, multitasking, rushing from one meeting to the next, and constantly disturbed by our beeping gadgets.

The soul is like a wild animal—tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out.

—Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

2. Our past often reveals the secrets of the soul. As a child or a young adult, what did we enjoy doing? What places or people attracted us? At the time, we may have followed a path that seemed reasonable; we prioritized money, the social norms of our culture, or we were influenced by our parents to do so, and we buried our dream so deep that we can’t even remember what it is. But the dream still lives, shining ever so lightly like a glowing ember buried deep under layers of ashes.

Discovery literally means uncovering something that has always been there but was hidden from sight by the “blinkers of habit”.

—Herminia Ybarra, in Working Identity

3. We can align to the path of energy that, like a compass, we feel in our bodies. The truth can often be sensed in the body and the heart before it reaches the head. What activities, what people, what places, energize us? We can journal about this at the end of the day. When we look back, what and who gave us energy? Over time, we read our impressions again and start seeing the pattern of our soul.

Of course, it sounds funny, but I start from the conviction that man has also a living body and if something is true for one side, it must be true for the other. For what is the body? The body is merely the visibility of the soul, the psyche; and the soul is the psychological experience of the body. So it is really one and the same thing.

–Carl Gustav Jung, Jung’s Seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra

4. As we mature, our purpose is less about doing and more about being. As long as we believe that endless activity and accumulating stuff, will bring us the fulfillment we seek, we are bound to remain firmly anchored in the material world and ignore the spiritual in us. But intuitively, we discover that fulfillment cannot only be material; if it were, the rich, the famous, and the powerful among us would be also the most content. How can we surrender to what is greater than us, so that instead of asking ourselves what we want from life, we ask what life expects from us?

It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly.

—Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


By Fabrice Desmarescaux, Managing Partner at Eric Salmon & Partners’ Singapore office

Source: LinkedIn

© Photo: James Donovan

Source: Les Echos Executives (article in French)

Source: L’Opinion (article in French)

Based on examples from the financial industry, Fatih Pekbas explains in this article the current issues especially executives are facing. Digital leadership competency is becoming a crucial factor for the successful handling of current challenges. Only with executives who possess the required future-oriented skills, will companies be able to achieve a visionary and result-oriented digital change.

Source: Börsen-Zeitung (article in German)

Singapore’s government has identified the tech sector as an engine of growth. Over the years, the government has created a pro-business ecosystem that enhances innovation and supports VCs, PEs and angel investors. Having lived and worked in the Valley, I get asked, very frequently, “What is Silicon Valley’s recipe for success?” As I reflect upon my time spent in the Valley, my network and the reasons behind the success of my family there, I think the biggest differentiator lies in mindset.

When we first moved to Santa Clara, we were invited by my aunt and uncle to join them in their weekly hikes. They have been living there for 45 years. Every Friday, the “hiking gang”, as my children called it, would meet at 5 pm and hike up Mission Peak. As a Singapore born & bred mother, my first thoughts were about the potential risks and failure my sons, aged 5 and 10, would face during the 3.5 hours arduous hike up 2000 ft out in the rough elements. I thought about the harsh dry heat of 35 degrees Celsius, the dry and rocky trail, rattle snakes and the risk of bulls attacking hikers. My thoughts changed, when my uncle talked about the hike positively. He said that the kids will learn to appreciate nature, deal with the challenges of wildlife or weather, build endurance and learn to engage with the other hikers. All of this is hard to teach in a classroom. He also shared what the view would be like close to the top of Mission Peak; a panoramic view of the Bay Area, and on a clear day the view of the Sierra Nevada ranges and an immense sense of accomplishment. Such positivity motivated us to join in the hike. By the end of that summer, we were seasoned hikers and loving it.

My younger son, fearless and not for a second thinking that he was so much younger than the hiking gang, enjoyed every second of the hikes and would be the first one to the top. After every hike, we used to meet at the neighbourhood pizza restaurant. During dinner, we used to be amazed listening to the hiking gang as they talked about their failures and successes. They were the microcosm of success in Silicon Valley. The uncle, who was laid off as part of a restructure, did not waste time being negative. With a loan from a friend, he started manufacturing shampoos and creams and is now one of the largest suppliers in California. The uncle who moved from UK and started his own business of making precision engineered parts for bio-medical clients. The uncle who started a private investment fund focusing on early stage start-ups. Listening to their stories we realized how being in the Valley enabled them to be successful. It was all about risk taking, being open to failure, new ideas, talent from around the world and availability of capital. They gave up the general security and stability of the corporate world and with gumption, positivity and leveraging off their network took the plunge. The three of them have achieved success that they had never dreamed off.

My mindset has evolved. More and more, I think of possibilities and the fact that failure is never a bad thing. If you keep trying and adopting new ways you will succeed. As I spoke with my team and network that worked at start-ups and larger tech firms, I saw the value built by being in an environment that is empowering and lacks the stodginess and formality of hierarchy. In this sort of an environment, the value created by employees comes from higher engagement, nimbleness and minds that work more innovatively and creatively.

So, the recipe for success is in the mindset of:

  • Positivity, bravery, boldness
  • Risk taking
  • Resilience – keep trying until failures become successes
  • Creating collaborative networks and leveraging these for help
  • Thinking of solutions and not obstacles

As I returned to Singapore, I was amazed by the start-up scene and the framework that has been set in motion. Singapore’s government has an admirable strategy for attracting top tech companies, investment capital and top talent. A change in mindset needs to become part of the Singaporean DNA and most of it begins at home and in our schools.

As Robert Frost wrote:

“Two roads diverged in the wood, and I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.”


by Brindha Bal, partner at Eric Salmon & Partners’ Singapore office.

Source: Linkedin


Source: Les Echos (article in French)

© Photo: Unédic

Artificial intelligence has developed impressively in recent years. And Artificial Intelligence is already taking on leadership roles, for example in security and data analytics. Will AI also assume management functions and thus replace directors and vice-presidents? A short outlook is given in this article.

Source: Computerwoche (article in German)

In the rapidly changing world of retail, what are the skills that a future chief executive needs and what roles are desirable as they make their way to the hot seat?


Source: Retail Week 

The sweat on the brow of the last years had – at last — dissipated.  The body and mind had relaxed.  He’d been thinking he had it all sorted.

Then he had a grand awakening.  Leafing through a research paper he saw the summarised figures:-

  • Baby Boomers (born 1945 – 1964) – c. one quarter of the world’s population
  • Xs (b 1965 – 1980) – c. 1.4 billion population
  • Millennials (b 1980 – 2000) – c. 1.7 billion population
  • Gen Zs (born 2000 onwards) – 2 billion to 2.5 billion

Stunned, he and many of our other clients here at Eric Salmon & Partners have just started to address this generation coming into the workforce, and right they are to pay heed given what the pointers tell us:  indeed, a dramatic workplace evolution is likely to be prompted by this largest and newest generation, Zs.

Gen Z Lens

What’s most important to grasp is there is a notable shift in how Gen Zs view the world:-

  • First generation born in an ‘always connected’ world
  • Raised by mostly Gen X parents who emphasised family and tried best to give a positive childhood experience but with a more frugal existence than many Boomers were able to provide

Call them ‘mini Atlases’ with the world on their shoulders, Zs have faced some really hard-hitting conditions:  polarised politics, social media pressures, technologies which bring opportunities but threats as well … and a tough world economy with a rapidly changing labour market.

This means they have interests and an approach to work that differs from any group before them:-

  • Your average Z talks about dovetailing work with their passions, rather than ‘career’
  • Recent research has shown 75% of Zs in teen years want to convert hobbies into full time jobs
  • Well over half suggest something entrepreneurial would be the ideal
  • “Making a difference in the world” matters. A lot

The ‘So What?’

A key ‘so what’ implication for CEOs and Executive business leaders who are looking at the next generation of talent is that if you aren’t a small, more nascent, cool entrepreneurial venture with values which reflect Z’s society-centric fervour then perhaps you’d best start acting like one…or at least taking on some of that shine:-

  1. Being Real: Research conducted by Gen Z Think Tank Irregular Labs showed that two thirds of Zs feel being true to one’s values and beliefs makes a person cool.  For the average Baby Boomer or X Gen (and, arguably millennial), confidence and abilities were mission-critical, whereas authenticity is atop Z’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Congruence and consistency with Gen Z values and behaviours is key to engage Gen Zs, and that needs to be across both public and private spheres:   for this generation, the worlds of work and leisure are not viewed with a bifurcated lens in the way they were for previous generations.

  1. Feeding the Fire: Trend Analyst Howard Saunders remarked that “True digital natives, raised on smartphones and with social media have ‘on demand’ expectations for everything.”  Research also indicates that they have a marked impulsive nature.

Trying to structure a business to absorb these new mores can lead to heartache for a CEO when other, older, members of staff still add value through more traditional structures.   However, trying to understand these new values – with a view to tapping into the ‘on demand’ and impulsive nature of Zs — can lead to a big plus.  A plug-and-play flexible business model levering freelance, consultancy, interim/temp can engender a stimulating, creative atmosphere while also being cost-efficient in the right circumstances. At the same time, the organisation can feed the fire Zs have for more explosive, short, sharp and diverse stimuli.

  1. Managing the Operational Needs: There are also the pragmatic, operational points to consider.  In the UK, for example, nearly 100% of Zs are online / on mobile for at least an hour a day; and nearly half are connected 10 or more hours a day, receiving close to 3,000 text messages per month.  The average Gen Z has a rather umbilical attachment to the smart phone; more than even the millennial predecessor.

What can today’s CEO do?  Well, as they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”  As Gen Z Analyst and Commentator Tiffany Zhang at Zebra IQ remarks, Zs “constantly talk”, so as CEO, one should get social, too.  Get Gen Zs on side via their language.  Use their media and use it often.

  1. Telling and Selling: As remarked upon earlier, Zs want to feel the authenticity in messages.  For the CEO who’s focused on attracting Zs, this means the need to tell and sell the story, because Zs love storytelling.

And, in the same way that this ‘Gram’-centric generation respond to edgy campaigns with visual tactics in their social media channels so, too, will they respond to a CEO who is using visual displays to get the word out.  Promotion of an uplifting and positive message is important; something which taps into Zs interest in feeling part of the collective, connected, ‘making a difference.’

  1. Allowing for A Social Consciousness:  Gen Zs are self-starting and hard-working (more so than millennials, so says the research!) and want to stand out, expressing their individuality.  Zs accept social and cultural diversity as a norm.  Zs have a verve far beyond what preceding generations have when it comes to social and ecological consciousness.

CEOs who respond with powerful storytelling which ‘tells and sells’ authentically — while empowering Zs to take on environmental and social projects in parallel with their day-to-day work activities — will be best in creating ‘followship,’ a most valuable characteristic for any commercial or social enterprise.

Tackling Gen Z as an audience won’t be a walk in the park for many Baby Boomer or X Gen CEOs and business leaders but Zs are entering the workforce, come what may.  So one might as well be ready — in mind and heart — to entice these new kids on the block.


By Nina Glass, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners’ London office

Source: Le Parisien (article in French)

Dix ans après son arrivée en Belgique, le cabinet de chasseurs de tête a connu le meilleur exercice de son histoire.

Source: La Lettre A (article in French)

Source: Challenges (article in French)

Spezialist für Digitalisierung in den Bereichen Financial and Professional Services seit Jahresanfang an Bord

Source: Challenges (article in French)

© Photo: DCI

Specific skills are scarce in the medical technology industry across a variety of functions. Some companies find creative solutions for solving this problem. In any case you should:

  • Embed recruitment into a long-term human resources strategy
  • Focus on employer branding
  • Implement a modern media presence that includes social media
  • Identify and approach talents early on
  • Focus not only on recruitment, but also on retention


Source: Medizin&Technik (article in German)

The leading German business magazine “Die Wirtschaftswoche“ has – in co-operation with the IUBH (International Business School Bad Honnef) – evaluated the performance of Executive Search firms active in the German market.

Eric Salmon & Partners is amongst the top performers in four industry categories – Consumer / Retail, IT / Telecommunications, Medical Technology & Healthcare and has achieved a *****-rating for excellent quality.

Source: Wirtschaftswoche (article in German)

Last month, I went on a five-day personal retreat. I wanted to live off the grid in quasi silence for a few days and take time to meditate, reflect, read, write, and contemplate in nature. I opted for the DIY option and a friend (thank you Thierry for letting me stay at your mansion in your absence) offered me his beautiful, sea-facing house in northern Brittany. All I needed was to buy a train ticket and to pack warm clothes, good books, walking shoes, and a notebook.

After recording an unapologetic out-of-office message, I settled down in my luxurious cave and spent the next five days in silence only interrupted by short, functional exchanges to resupply at the bakery (excellent tarte aux pommes), the Tuesday market in Trebeurden (organic fruits and vegetables for about one-tenth of the price in Singapore), the wine merchant (this is a retreat, not a rehab), or the local crêperie. For hours on end, I would contemplate the tide and the beach, the wind and the waves, the birds and the rocks, the clouds and the rain, the sun and the stars.

The symbol of the retreat is powerful. We leave the external world and its busyness, noise, urgency, and deadlines. We leave friends and family behind to enter our inner space. Emails, calls, and messages become irrelevant when we listen to the call of the soul. We reconnect with nature, synchronize with the sun, smell the rain, walk barefoot on the grass, eat only when hungry, and sleep when tired. We tune in to our body. We observe and become familiar with our mind. We distinguish signal from noise. The retreat is not a withdrawal. It is more a return to an abode of belonging, of acceptance; to the place we were before we decided to wear our stage costumes and start performing.

Armed with infinite time and silence, we can reflect on the questions of our life, the questions that we never have time to think about because there is always a meeting to attend, a call to return, a client to appease, a picture to post, a family member to please. Do I find satisfaction and fulfillment in what I do? What am I pursuing – money, status, power? Am I living to my full potential and what am I neglecting? What relationships do I need to nurture? Who do I need to say thank you or I love you? What am I most afraid of? What am I most attached to? What weight am I carrying? Who am I trying to impress? As I go deeper into my soul, what is unfolding right now?

Sometimes, we have known the answers for a long time, but never wanted to accept them. Sometimes still, we must peel through layers and layers of conditioning and habitual patterns to have a glimpse at the truth inside.

I spent five days walking along the rugged coast, watching sunsets on the beach, eating slowly, meditating, practicing yoga, and journaling. I took the train with mixed feelings, happy to return home and sad to leave such a beautiful place behind. And on the plane back to Singapore, I responded to emails and realized that the world had not stopped in my absence.


By Fabrice Desmarescaux, Managing Partner at Eric Salmon & Partners’ Singapore office

Source: LinkedIn

© Photo: Ploumanac’h, Côtes-d’Armor, France, on 25 October 2018

Executive Grapevine’s Editor Dan Cave interviewed Nina Glass, Consumer Specialist, Eric Salmon & Partners (published 12 October)

A little more than a week ago, 28 September, GfK published the September’s Consumer Confidence Index for the UK, with measures indicating a less-than-bullish position – to put it mildly.

Negative figures are never encouraging to see for those in consumer-facing sectors, and figures as marked as -27 for sentiment about the general economy over the next 12 months, as Nina Glass, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners says, “hit one squarely in the face.”

Luckily, Executive Grapevine got to sit down with Glass to find out what this means exactly – with confusion and uncertainty being the first points that she sees.

She said: “Interestingly, shopper sentiment about personal finances over the last 12 months and year ahead were still within positive ranges, down three points, but still at +1 and +5 respectively.

“These figures reflect confusion or, in Bank of England speak, the uncertainty in the UK economy. Indeed, it is only another seven months until the UK is expected to take the leap and depart the EU. Brexit is now well and truly looming on the horizon.”

Nina adds that with so much uncertainty, trust is set to become its own currency as consumers try and parse what’s good and what’s not on a shaky consumer landscape. With Millennials set to become the biggest spenders, it’s a group that well-known brands, businesses and start-ups will have to appeal to.

Nina explains: “Millennial spending power is set to overtake Generation X in 2020. They are a critical economic base – 1.8 billion people worldwide and 13.8 billion in the UK. And what do we know about Millennials? We know they have grown up in a world which to them is unlike that of the post-war, “anything is possible” Baby Boomer Generation where life was rosy and somehow ‘easy’

“There is an intrinsic pessimism exuded by this generation – a sense that one cannot change certain things – and, with it, a marked downturn in that important attribute of trust.”

In a study reported recently in the Financial Times, it was found that only 19% of Millennials believed others could be trusted compared with 40% of Baby Boomers and 31% of X-Gens.

Nina added: “It’s a big part of the reason why Influencers have become so much a norm ‘go-to’ for Millennials. The Telegraph recently published an article highlighting a few of the world’s leading lights in the ‘influencer” category, including Niomi Smart whose “fanbase is as large as the population of Ireland, with 1.5 million Twitter, 1.6 million Instagram, and [1.6 million] on YouTube.” The Influencer is perceived as ‘real,’ ‘authentic,’ someone who purports to be a person to believe in and trust.

“So too, brands with a strong social responsibility, healthy lifestyle, and attention to the environment stand out from the crowd for Millennials. This doesn’t mean expensive products and services: indeed, the shared economy, built largely by Millennials, is based on the lower rather than more expensive. And it doesn’t mean big. Millennials feel affinity with little brands, local brands, brands that care.”

“What is also clear is that it is a consummate time for businesses to reinforce their authenticity, create a belief, engender a sense of belonging to the community. We see it with local butchers and bakeries popping up in some of the UK’s village high streets. There’s no reason that companies shouldn’t do more on a wider scale to tap into these consumer needs.”

They are the brands that this soon-to-be-all-powerful consumer demographic will spend their money with – because they’re trusted.

There’s a lesson in here from which all businesses could learn.


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German companies try and claim to be global players but forget to integrate other cultures into the leadership circle. A first step towards this could be the establishment of a leadership program focussing on international managers to bind qualified leaders to the company in a sustainable way. This is also worthwhile for small and medium-sized companies who should aim to become insiders in Asian markets in the long term. Additionally it is necessary to not only just fill international leadership positions for the present requirements but to recruit also taking into account future global leadership needs.

Source: Asia Bridge

More and more companies establish talent acquisition teams – many of these cannot match the high expectations they are faced with. This article sheds a light on the main root causes for this and discusses how Talent Acquisition should be positioned in the organization in order to be able to deliver sustainable value.

Source: HR Performance (article in German)

In 2014, Oxford University published a report on what the most likely jobs to be automated were. Unsurprisingly, jobs perceived to be less skilled were most at threat. Telemarketing came top of the list with a 99% chance of automation. At the other end of the scale, recreational therapy is thought of as the job with the least risk from being automated with a 0.0028% risk. Perhaps surprisingly, CEOs weren’t the least under threat. Chief Executives came 631st on the 702-strong list. Enough to prick the ears, not enough to worry – at least not for now.

Source: Executive Grapevine

As we swiftly enter the world of automation, obviously there will be a profound impact on society and businesses. As the AI revolution continues to unravel at high velocity, there will be significant impact and change in the leadership models in public and private enterprises. It is evident that AI will play a pivotal role in supporting the quantitative leadership elements and decision making. This is because by its very nature – the AI playbook will commoditise the data based elements of leadership. Based on our discussions with business leaders in the old and new world there will be an even greater emphasis on the softer leadership. Beyond IQ and EQ, a new set of quotients will become more prominent as automation gathers pace. Here’s our take on what ‘leadership quotients’ will make a difference as we continue the path to singularity:

Compassionate Quotient (CQ): Jeff Weiner CEO of LinkedIn is a big proponent of this and did a great talk on this recently in a graduation speech at Wharton. In the workplace CQ is about empathy but with real action. He describes it as aspiring for compassion – which he describes as walking a mile in the other person’s shoes; and understanding their hopes, their fears, their strengths and their weaknesses. And it means doing everything within your power to set them up to be successful. In an AI based world not only will CQ drive team performance but also company performance.

Modesty Quotient (MQ): With the speed of business model and technological advancement traditional hierarchies are being stripped away into flatter and more network based structures. This means leaders need to show a much higher level of humbleness and engagement. This may require the business leader to gain external advice and help internally by engaging more freely with individuals in the organisation who are a few levels below them. This approach is natural in many of the global internet titans but somewhat lacking in the more traditional companies.

Pivot Quotient (PQ): In the world of automation an organisation needs to be responsive, innovate and quickly needs to adapt based on competition and market opportunities. This is not particularly radical given many organisations have strived to do this for many years. The difference now of course is the sheer velocity of the pace of change driven by AI making the notion of pivoting critical. For business leaders this means listening more effectively, removing the ego and better communication and engagement with shareholders and the workforce when making a drastic change. It’s tough for CEO’s – particularly in publicly quoted businesses but they must show real character in taking the risk and remain firm when making a course correction too.

Social Quotient (SQ): In the AI world, Leaders and their organisations will be defined by the role they play in supporting society as the full force of automation kicks in; particularly as it relates to job displacement. There will need to be greater levels of education, training and re-deployment strategies which will require specific attention and investment. There will need to be better collaboration between policy makers and boards of corporations to inhibit any of the negative impact of automation. Leaders who are socially aware and are impactful will gain greater trust from their workforce potentially leading to a happier and productive environment.

With all this said, this may not significantly alter what are in many ways seen as rather an intrinsic set of leadership models to what already exist. However, the big difference is that there is an even greater emphasis on the softer (versus the hard or quantitative) leadership traits which include taking empathy to a newer level, demonstrating humbleness, being steadfast when pivoting and finally being socially aware and creating a much better level of engagement with the workforce. We are in a journey and these quotients may change and evolve as things develop so let us know what you think and happy to hear your views.


By Praf Vagh, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners’ London office

Source: Executive Grapevine

Before Christmas, I had the privilege of being invited to a Porsche SE round table event hosted by Philipp von Hagen (Board Member) on the role of automakers in a digital/autonomous world. As a car enthusiast and given my work in tech/digital, how could I refuse! Thank you – Philipp for inviting me. With a diverse set of attendees including leaders from software, digital media and car OEMs – it was fascinating, thought provoking and at times a striking set of discussions. Here are four key takeaways from the session and subsequent discussions:

Cars will talk to each other to increase safety

Globally with 4G and soon 5G, cars are rolling mobile devices and wireless hotspots. Soon, vehicles will be connected to each other (V2V) and to infrastructure (V2I). When there is danger and a possible collision, every vehicle close to the source will know this. Given the receipt of advanced information, the car will be able to take control of its braking system. VW will launch this in 2019 and the Cadillac CTS already has this capability. Kymeta is creating a V2V platform using satellite technology and has closed over $200M in funding from Bill Gates amongst others. Volvo’s stated aim is to eradicate accidents by 2020. With all these endeavours, we expect safety to drastically increase.

Collaborate or become obsolete

Auto makers collaborate within a complex ecosystem. However, relationships have been predominantly of the supplier-provider type with a focus on cost control. Car manufacturers are quickly integrating suppliers into a true partnership to speed up innovation. We have seen Volvo partnering with Uber and BMW with Amazon to integrate alexa into the head unit so you can ask for news and weather reports. Toyota has launched an artificial investment fund to invest in the next generation of in-car digital technologies; what is interesting is that they are co-investing with their competition.  As cars get smarter and more autonomous, on-the-road services such as shopping or content will be offered as standard. Those auto makers who master the art of collaboration – particularly with tech companies – have a bright future.

Culture change fatigue can kill – so communicate, engage and invest

With young auto rivals such as Tesla, NextEV and Faraday Futures leading the industry disruption, traditional OEMs must battle to remain relevant. As they embrace the digital and green revolution and create new services, they need to retool not only their assembly lines but also their workforce. Transformation fatigue and fear of new technologies, in an industry that has already seen so much restructuring, can paralyze a company. The leaders who engage, communicate, invest in retraining the workforce and when needed, appoint the right external talent, will gain a competitive advantage and survive.

Data could help oil the profits

We know data is becoming the new oil and for the auto industry this could create major growth opportunities. Data is anything related to vehicle speed, images from dashcam, transactions, usage of in car services and location. Then there is the data linked to the car health itself based on the numerous sensors in the hardware which will accurately inform what is happening and monitor performance. Tesla collects terabytes of data from its vehicles and uses machine learning to improve predictive maintenance, self-driving capabilities and the driving experience of its cars. As long as car OEMs do not breach any privacy laws and security is lock tight, they have significant moneymaking opportunities by harnessing the data.

The car industry is going through unprecedented changes and it is not clear who the winners and losers will be. Fuelled by the highly competitive nature of finding the right leaders to drive the change – it should be an incredible ride! Have a great 2018 and please do send me your thoughts.


By Praf Vagh, Consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners’ London office

Source: LinkedIn