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Alumni Stories · Digital

Leading Digital Business Transformation: A CEO’s experience in the program

Interview with Domenico De Luca, CEO of Axpo Trading AG, on how LDBT helped him advance his transformation agenda
February 2018

IMD: How important is it for you as a CEO to be directly involved in the transformation of your business?

Domenico De Luca: As CEO of Axpo Trading it is key for me to be directly involved in the digital transformation of our business. Participating in the Leading Digital Business Transformation (LDBT) Program, I quickly realized, that it is not just digital strategy we were talking about, but it was about overall business strategy. Any top manager should be directly involved, in my opinion. Digital transformation touches several aspects beyond technology: strategy, organization, culture, change management. This is clearly the competence of top management.

IMD: Why you chose to participate in LDBT?

Domenico De Luca: Digital transformation may become also disruptive in our industry (Energy Trading and Sales). I was very curious to learn about the digital world first-hand and meet executives from other companies and learn about their experiences. I wanted to understand to which extent other industries have been or are going to be disrupted.

IMD: What are the challenges you face as an organization? And how will LDBT help shape your response to those challenges?

Domenico De Luca: We have several digital initiatives within our company. However, we do not have a clear vision, strategy and organizational set up to face the challenges yet.

We have a huge opportunity though: Leveraging our strong core business, our outstanding franchise in Europe – and soon to be in the US – and a can-do attitude is engrained in our culture. We are agile and very close to customers. In terms of customer experience in the sales process, I would say we are among the best. In the after sales we definitely need to improve. We have a very decentralized organization which is very beneficial to the proximity to our customers. However, to launch strategic projects at group level is a longer and more complex process.

IMD: What did you find most valuable and engaging in the program?

Domenico De Luca: I have some clearer ideas now how to move ahead. We are preparing a two-day workshop – with IMD – with the management board team to define our Digital Roadmap. We need the buy-in of the Management Board if we want to have a chance to succeed.