Alumni Stories · Leadership - Organizational Design

The Impact of IMD’s Program for Executive Development

Rogerio Lopes from Nestlé tells how the program got him ready to lead change
October 2016

Rogerio Lopes, former Director of the ice cream business unit of Nestlé, Brazil, actual Managing Director of FRONERI Brazil, a joint venture between Nestlé and R&R, on his Program for Executive Development (PED) experience

What PED did for Rogerio

The PED got Rogerio ready to lead change within his organization and shift his business unit’s culture. He describes the program as the right preparation for a senior leader who will face or is facing a major organizational transformation.

About Rogerio

Rogerio was educated as an engineer in Brazil and France and has been with Nestlé since 2005. He has completed a number of executive programs at schools such as IMD and London Business School.

Rogerio’s challenges before joining the program

Rogerio was charged with leading the spinoff of the ice cream division from Nestlé and create FRONERI, a company focus on ice cream and frozen food. He describes this as a major challenge for the organization, which is moving from a very traditional, well-established, and strong Nestlé culture to a more dynamic culture similar to a private-equity environment.

Learning goals

  • Learning how to lead during a major transformation
  • Mastering persuasion and negotiation
  • Leading change and crisis management

Rogerio describes his experience

“The PED is two pieces. The first piece is the Foundation for Business Leadership (FBL). It’s a very helpful refresher course about the basics of everyday business. The second part is Transition to Business Leadership (TBL), which focuses on more sophisticated issues. The TBL prepares us for a very broad range of challenges from persuasion and negotiation to change and crisis management; it covers all the issues that a senior executive leading a major transformation will face.

IMD creates an environment that is safe and friendly but also one in which you are challenged by your peers. There is an impressive range of executives in the PED from different fields who will contribute to your learning and whose learning you will also contribute to.

I had very high expectations for the program. Having gone through a lot of executive training at other schools, I can say that the high level of IMD’s faculty exceeded all of my expectations and not just from an academic perspective; they were also able to engage very senior leaders and challenge them, which is not easy. They were able to bring out the best in us.

Every day during the program I had one of those ‘Aha’ moments, where you start to understand something that you didn’t grasp before.  The faculty were able to bring a fresh look to each subject. There are some topics that I have seen before – change management, crisis management – but the real difference at IMD is that the professors are able to present them in a new light, which is very impactful for senior leaders.

The PED is most beneficial for senior leaders that are preparing themselves for a major change. That could be an organizational change; it could be a career transition from a senior leader to the CEO level, or another Chief position. At some point most of us ask ourselves if we have the right skill set for a new challenge that we will face. PED is the right place to test if you are really ready for the journey.

It’s the ultimate crash test for leadership skills.”

Personal impact

“With the PED I took a step back to reflect. The dimensions of my leadership skills were really challenged.”

Organizational impact

“When I leave IMD after the PED, I feel that I’m going to be ready to lead change in my organization.”

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