Karl W. Alleman Practice Group Leader, Chicago
Automotive and Transportation Equipment
The global automotive market is experiencing dramatic changes. New technologies such as connectivity and alternative powertrains as well as the dramatic shift of growth to emerging markets (especially China) offer attractive opportunities, but also significant challenges to the entire industry. New players are rising from outside the industry to create very different market dynamics, and changing customer behaviors require a careful reconsideration of product segmentation and positioning. Automotive suppliers and OEMs alike are racing to develop innovative products based on new technologies that meet rapidly evolving consumer preferences.
While the automotive industry holds significant potential for continued growth and globalization, environmental regulations will demand major ongoing investments, as will consumer and regulatory demands for improved quality and safety. Automotive suppliers can expect ongoing pressure from OEMs to reduce prices and improve productivity.
These major developments in strategy and focus call for leaders with a very different mind-set, broader skill-sets, and a much more global profile.
Extremely high levels of technical and operational complexity are pushing successful companies to strike out on new paths in terms of integration, rationalization and modernization. Increasing levels of international cooperation and supplier involvement require new skills from all players in the market.
What skills are needed now?
To master these challenges, market players obviously need to find top executives who are agile and can successfully lead companies to grow as well as manage turbulent times. Innovation, entrepreneurial mind-set, being open-minded about broader opportunities than just selling products, and superior change management skills will be key. Know-how from other industries, especially High Tech/connectivity will be sought after. Functional skills such as cutting-edge engineering expertise, an environment-friendly approach, and the ability to optimize the supply chain will remain key requisites to round out the profile of teams.
How can Egon Zehnder support the Automotive & Transportation Industry?
In this business environment, best-practice companies ensure that essential competencies are available and developed in their management teams. Egon Zehnder’s Automotive & Transportation Global Practice offers the credentials to support clients’ needs through specific industry expertise, as well as knowledge of and access to top management talent in the market. In collaborating with other Egon Zehnder’s industry and functional practices, we have access to talents from other areas such as digital, connectivity and other new technologies.
We proactively identify executives and top strategic talent in the global market, with competencies in such critical functions as operations, R&D, procurement and restructuring, as well as general management.
Our Leadership Strategy Services Practice offers proven expertise in systematically evaluating and benchmarking companies’ existing management portfolio on both individual and team levels. This strategic approach to creating top-class management teams can only be realized with the backing of a company’s CEO and more particularly its Board. Both need experience of leading their companies through turbulent times.
How we operate
All of our consultants acquired extensive professional experience in the automotive and transport industry before joining Egon Zehnder. This expertise is embedded in our global network. Our entire firm operates as a single profit center, which both encourages and rewards collaboration.