CEO Today - January 2023

THE CEO INTERVIEW 20 Tell us about your career and the things that have led you to consultancy. I started my first venture straight after finishing my studies and it was there that I honed my skills in strategy and consulting. I was attracted by the huge opportunity for transformation – every new project presented new dynamics. While there was always the potential for significant innovation. It was also a complex space and not something everyone wanted to spend time on and this challenge attracted me. This client-centric approach which consistently drives innovation led me to become a consultant. And I’m still here 20 years later! I think I started with the expectation of staying in this field for only a couple of years just to gain some learning insight, without appreciating the depth and breadth of the opportunities that await. What excites you about your work? In my time, I’ve worked across multiple divisions in addition to finance and have enjoyed these exciting challenges to move around the businesses. Not only has this meant there has never been a dull day, but it’s also helped me to broaden my skills and diversify my expertise. The holistic insight I have into the businesses is really valuable for me as a consultant and has also equipped me with a competitive edge. What is your philosophy about hard work? How has the pandemic affected this? I always come with my eyes wide open in any new project and I’m always keen to observe how hard the senior managers of the company are working to achieve what they have achieved. I also monitor how much value I can create. The trajectory to excellence is trying things that are difficult and I believe in the philosophy of always pushing your boundaries. Of course, working and surviving through a global pandemic might be the very definition of hard work but thanks to the array of incredible technological developments that are currently available, most businesses were able to shift to remote working without losing focus on what truly matters. What are the challenges the new digital age presents for your work? In today’s digital world, most companies operate in international markets and even small businesses have exposure across borders. This brings in an extra challenge for anyone working on these projects to meet ever-changing clients’ demands. Many of the clients I work with have a multinational presence, which means we need to coordinate and deliver services in multiple countries where they do business and it is always an exciting challenge within a challenge. Historically, that was not the case! Do you embrace or steer away from Artificial Intelligence in your work? The industry is changing rapidly, and external catalysts are overwhelming business models. The consensus appears to be leaning towards the idea that artificial intelligence can replace the role of human services across all segments of any business. There is no doubt AI plays an important role in decision-making and refining views and I do seek assistance from it when needed but the question is: Can AI ever replace personal experience? I think we’re not going anywhere in our industry. This is an incredibly important aspect of client relationships where the footprint of human interaction in the strategic decision-making process is the key ingredient Q Q Q Q Q

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