Setups for sustainable success (Part 2)
Australia’s biggest and most successful global company, BHP Billiton is an enterprise that continues to be the nation’s biggest taxpayer, and is a storage of future wealth for just about every Australian with a superannuation account and a retirement to pay for.
BHP’s top four executives under its CEO include a chief financial officer, chief legal counsel, a president of petroleum and potash as well as a chief information officer.
Dean Dalla Valle was named Chief Commercial Officer in June, and now is responsible for Potash after previously being president of health, safety, environment (HSE), as well as marketing and technology. This allows the president of petroleum Tim Cutt to focus solely on increasing the value of the company’s important petroleum business.
BHP Billiton CEO — Andrew Mackenzie
Mackenzie has over 30 years of experience in oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals. He joined BHP Billiton in 2008 as Chief Executive Non-Ferrous, and commenced as Chief Executive Officer in 2013. Prior to BHP Billiton, Mackenzie was Chief Executive of Diamonds and Minerals at rival Rio Tinto, and held a number of senior roles at BP, including vice president for Technology and Engineering, and vice president for Chemicals.
A Chinese investment holding company whose subsidiaries provide media, entertainment, internet and mobile services as well as operate online advertising services, Tencent is a US$139 billion company with nearly a billion users. It essentially functions like Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and Uber combined into one.
Tencent continuously strives for excellence in today’s competitive world and hardly ever seems satisfied. Its executive team is very dedicated with corporate social responsibilities and focuses on educating youth, setting up initiatives for providing care to impoverished and disadvantaged sections of society and disaster relief.
The company also has a CIO, Daniel Xu, who oversees the strategic planning and development for the website properties and communities, customer relations and public relations of the Company.
Tencent CEO — Pony Ma (Ma Huateng)
One of the core founders of Tencent, Ma oversees the strategic development, overall direction and management of the Group. Before he co-founding Tencent in 1998, Pony was in charge of R&D for Internet paging system development at China Motion Telecom Development Limited, which is a telecommunications services and products provider in China. He also has over 20 years of experience in telecommunication and Internet industries.
A global company with a large part of its business based in the Middle East, Sabic is the largest and most profitable non-oil company in the region, as well as one of the world’s largest petrochemical manufacturers.
The company’s four corporate departments include finance, human resources, corporate control and research and technology, which equally assist with Sabic’s drive to consistently invest in technology and innovation.
Sabic’s CEO — Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan
Known for his marketing and leadership success, Al-Benyan has an Economics Degree and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Management. Before becoming CEO of Sabic, he held a variety of senior positions within the company.
As a leading emerging market mobile operator, MTN Group is at the forefront of the technological changes that continue to sweep the world. With a vision to lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world to its customers, the company has numerous operations throughout Africa.
Backed by a board of directors, executive committee and a good corporate governance structure, MTN Group leads its industry by enhancing and aligning its organization, policies and procedures to completely support its operating environment and strategy.
Furthermore, the company is all about promoting a team environment, with a clear division of responsibilities assigned to each group to ensure a balance of power and authority.
MTN Group’s CEO — RS Dabengwa
With a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business, Dabengwa has experience in sales, customer service, electrification and distribution technology. He began his career by working as a consulting electrical engineer in the building services industry and in the mining and railway sectors.
Marketing matters: from IBM to 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.