With his 17 years of experience working in Sitel, we wanted to find out more about our Managing Director for EMEA, Pedro Lozano. But with so much experience & insight, it would be near impossible to squeeze it all into one article. So to ensure we do this justice, we’ve split into Part I – The Personal Journey and Part II – The Industry Journey. Here is Part One! Check in with us again soon to see Part Two.
When hiring a Managing Director for a region or country, more often than not the sought after candidate would have a background in marketing or sales. However Pedro Lozano did not fit this typical criteria when he was promoted to Managing Director of Spain. Prior to this position, Pedro was the Chief Finance Officer for the Spanish region. During the 7 years in this position, he continuously sought to better understand the meaning behind the numbers, to understand why each client was different and what was required to make the operations a success. His intuition and the knowledge gained meant that Pedro was recognised as the ideal professional for the role of Managing Director for Spain.
From 2008 to 2011, Pedro grew further within this role, taking on additional responsibilities and through this, demonstrating that he was able to drive results through strategy and planning. Following this, he began to take on addition responsibilities for other nearby countries, starting with Portugal and growing to include Italy, France and Morocco. At the time this then was classed as Southern EMEA, while Northern EMEA was being managed separately. When the role of Managing Director for Northern EMEA became vacant, Pedro was given the opportunity to merge the role with his current one, thus becoming Managing Director of the EMEA region in its entirety. This role did not come without its challenges though, first and foremost the low profitability in the northern countries, which at the time were underperforming compared to the south, despite being a bigger region. So from late 2011 Pedro and his management team have worked to grow the EMEA as a whole region and have brought the standards up to what they are today.
With his new team spanning the length and breadth of the EMEA region, people management becomes one of the more tricky aspects in Pedro’s new role. Fortunately there are no language barriers within the team though, as everyone speaks excellent English. But this doesn’t mean that cultural differences don’t present a challenge when communicating. From the many years of working with such a diverse team, Pedro has learnt how to manage people differently, respecting their culture and varied management styles. Having open and clear communication is paramount for the smooth running of the region, so how do they do this? By striking the right balance between virtual and physical interactions; aiming to have 1-2-1’s bi-weekly through Skype video calls. When speaking in a language that is not your native tongue, the risk of provoking misunderstanding can be high, so by also having video enabled, you can read the other person’s body language and facial expressions, to sense if you are articulating yourself in the best way. As Pedro puts it; “It’s not what you say, but what the other person hears.”
In addition to having bi-weekly calls, Pedro and his team also arrange a face to face meeting every two months. The whole EMEA management team are brought together at one of the Sitel sites, with the view that over a period of time, every member of the EMEA management team will have visited all of the sites in the EMEA region. By holding these meetings at our sites it allows the team to conduct site presentations and walking management, to familiarise themselves with the locations, their similarities and their differences.
When discussing what Pedro’s favourite part of the role is and what he is most proud of during his time as Managing Director of EMEA, he advised that historically the EMEA region didn’t produce great results compared to other regions, due to its complexity and lower profitability compared to offshore markets. But over the last two years they changed the working model to a full accountability one, and since this was implemented, the EMEA region is delivering it’s best ever results with a 65% increase in 2017 EBITDA from the previous year, and an expected 50% increase on those results by the end of 2018, exceeding their profitability target by nearly 10 million. For Pedro, this is his favourite part of the role, the planning and strategy aspect, delivering results and receiving the recognition for all the hard work. He also likes to look to the future and envision what the region will be like in 3-5 years and what main investments need to be made, not just in facilities but in our people also. With the success that has been achieved over the past 2 years, Pedro is most proud of this; of setting the bar for the other regions and delivering on the targets he commits to the executive team.
The next article will cover Pedro’s outlook on the industry as it currently stands, and what he believes we can expect for the future. Check in soon to see Part II of the story.