May 19, 2020

Setups for sustainable success (Part 1)

BR Canada Staff
4 min
Setups for sustainable success (Part 1)

WITH THE EVER-CHANGING corporate landscape, it has become harder and harder over the years
to keep track of who does what in the executive structure of a large company.

Which style of corporate governance is most successful? Which method is most popular? Should analysts and observers be more interested in news surrounding a company’s CFO or vice president?

With those questions in mind, here is a look at some of the world’s top companies and how its top-level management is set up.


Just three days after its launch, U.S.-based Apple reported selling more than 13 million of its new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which is a new record.

In the process, the tech giant has become the first company to reach a market capitalisation of over US$700 billion, while its stock has soared from US$54 to US$126 since co-founder Steve Jobs passed away in 2011. Its market value is more than double that of either Exxon Mobil or Microsoft, and Apple’s revenue has tripled to over US$150 billion since 2010.

Apple’s executive structure is basically a traditional hierarchy, but takes away some aspects of other organisational structures to meet both market and industry demands. The company’s set up gives the CEO and senior VPs the majority of control, while the lower levels of the system has little say in market demands and business needs.

Apple CEO — Tim Cook

The first openly gay CEO in the Fortune 500, Cook joined Apple from Compaq Computer in 1998. Coming from an operations background
and spending several of his most influential years of his career at IBM.

Some of Cook’s best moves have been creating a market in China, introducing Apple Pay, and the continued successful adoption of Apple’s newest operating system, iOS 8.

But Cook isn’t what company executives like to call a “subject-matter expert” on such critical areas as product development, design, and marketing. Because of this, he behaves much more like a coach who trusts his players compared to Jobs.


The Royal Bank of Canada is all about helping its clients and communities build a better future. With more than 79,000 client-focused and committed employees, the company currently services 16 million clients worldwide.

Starting at the very top, the RBC has an independent chairman who leads a board that is composed of independent, well-informed directors. To differentiate from others in the industry, the RBC believes
in having opening communication with its shareholders, as well as encourages these shareholders to express their views.

The Royal Bank of Canada gives top priority to strategic planning to help ensure that standards exist to promote ethical behavior throughout the entire organization. In addition to, the company continues to better itself by maintaining different ways to improve its governance practices, as well as adapt industry-leading standards.

RBC’s CEO — David I. McKay

Having earned both a Master’s of Business Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, McKay
has been the CEO of the Royal
Bank of Canada since 2014. He has experience in retail and business banking, group risk management and corporate banking.

Grupo Carso

Carlos Slim’s conglomerate in one of the most powerful business groups worldwide. Also known as Grupo Sanborns SAB, it had a capital growth of more than US$12 billion, only in 2014.

The group incorporates four different industrial divisions that have more than 30 major players
in mining, retail, construction and telecommunication services, such as Sears Mexico, Televisa, CompUSA, Walgreens, etc.

The conglomerate follows the essential 10 principles to maintain the human force of its many shares worldwide, including minimal hierarchies and internal training on management functions for every executive.

“Our premise is and has always been that we leave with nothing; we can only do things while we are alive and that entrepreneurs are creators of the wealth they temporarily manage,” said Slim as part of the Grupo Carso mission statement.

Grupo Carso’s CEO — Carlos Slim

He graduated in Business Administration from Universidad Anahuac, and aside from Grupo Carso, he is the COB of Grupo Sanborns, América Móvil and Teléfonos de México. An entrepreneur since first deciding to purchase shares in a Mexican bank at the age of 12, it’s no surprise that by age 76 his current worth is more than US$72 billion.

Slim’s most recent innovation within the talent management aspect includes an initiative called “Global three-day work” that basically specifies a new schedule among his companies worldwide. The upside
is twice as much leisure time; the downside is longer days and workers carrying on into their 70s.


Stay tuned for the conclusion of this story, or read it in full as it originally appeared in Business Review USA and Canada


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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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