20 years experience in executive search with a special focus on financial services, conducting C-level and board of director search assignments in both the U.S. and overseas.
Founded Allyon Solutions to provide integrated operations in finance to emerging companies in underserved markets. Co-founded Sextant Search Partners, a boutique financial services executive search business based in New York City, and Axiom Consulting, a human capital and strategy consulting firm.
CEO of TMP Worldwide's executive search division following TMP's acquisition of Highland Search, an executive search group he set up in 1995.
14 years at Russell Reynolds Associates, eventually heading its financial services practice and managing its Asia Pacific operation.
The idea of pivoting to a new business model is not new, but focusing on the fast pivot is a current trend.
The concept of pivoting has been around forever. The current wave of business model innovation may be about leveraging digital capabilities, but it's not really about digital technology – it’s about a company's willingness to pivot and its capability to pivot.
There were pivots when technology entered the lexicon 25 to 30 years ago. Most of the leaders in the business world are of an age where they remember the time before you could send a fax from North America to Europe, before there were cellphones, and before there was a memory typewriter not to mention computer. This is why the ability to pivot today usually requires bringing in digital natives who think in new ways.
Tomorrow, the pivot will turn on another axis, so companies that know when and how to pivot set themselves up for the future.
Digital natives tend to be younger people and the gap between the generations is becoming more pronounced and obvious as Millennials mature.
The world is crossing the digital divide and younger people were born on the far side of the divide already.
Young people grow up very quickly, especially with respect to technology, and if your company is not adapting quickly enough – from your marketing department through to your technology developers, all the way up through management – then your company is at risk. Every function in your business is likely to feel the impact from digital technology and so everyone in your company must be either a digital native or a digital adapter.
The number of companies that will go bankrupt, be forced to merge, or lose a large portion of market share will increase as new business model innovation makes older models obsolete. Expect the body count to continue to rise.
One of the current examples is how Uber has disrupted the Black Car market, or, earlier, how Apple disrupted the music industry with its iTunes/iPod model. Expect this trend to continue. Assume that meetings are being held right now in Silicon Valley with the explicit intention of disrupting your segment. Any business model that includes a person or entity in the middle that brokers or arbitrates a transaction of any kind is ripe for disruption. Expect more body bags with more well-known, established incumbent companies in the bags.
Every company will be affected by the digital revolution – even in sectors that are not typically technology-oriented.
Some players in mature industries believe that their companies do not have to become digitally aware because they're not "technology companies." Every company is now, in some sense, a technology company since technology is revolutionizing virtually every industry and function from the mail room to the C-Suite. No company can afford to be digitally unaware and most companies have been or will be affected by the fact that we are moving toward a networked world. For a start, established companies in mature industries might think about how they can monetize the data they currently collect and how such technologies as 3-D printing will affect their shop floor.
There's a macro trend toward decreasing margins, so companies need to find ways to leverage those business models that increase their overall valuation.
Margins are tending to decrease over time. Companies are awakening to this fact and they are searching for products and services that will produce a higher overall valuation of the company, and they are searching for additional sources of revenue.
Research has shown that companies that leverage IP (like software companies) or that facilitate networks (like social media companies) earn higher valuations on a consistent basis than companies that rely on one-off sales of products and services. A company that moves from traditional sales of products and services to leveraging networks stands to gain exponentially in terms of overall valuation.
Companies are also missing the opportunity to open up new sources of revenue through monetizing data they are already collecting. Or a company may find other, related goods and services that they can bring in and add to their core products to combat shrinking margins.