Executives on Digital Transformation

The WHU Executive Education Department at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management hosted the first Campus for Corporate Transformation on September 26 at the campus in Düsseldorf. At the event, high-ranking speakers in positions of leadership shared their experiences on the topic of “Digital Transformation: Perspectives from the Top” with around 100 attendees.

Lothar Harings, Chief HR Officer Kühne + Nagel

“We are delighted to welcome prominent leaders from the German business community to this new conference format at WHU. The Campus for Corporate Transformation offers practical insights into implementing digital strategies at the top management level across a very wide variety of industries,” said Professor Dr. Serden Ozcan, Academic Director of the Executive Education Department and Chairholder for Innovation and Corporate Transformation at WHU, in welcoming participants.

From the CEO’s point of view, understanding digital transformation lies in segmentation of management and demarcation of traditional strategies. In his remarks, Friedrich Joussen, CEO of the TUI Group, explained that TUI has turned its focus to economies of scale as part of the digital transformation and is tailoring its core competency to mass individualization. To achieve this, he pointed out, it is essential to work with cloud systems, outsource data to decentralized databases and analyze these data on an individualized basis. Speaking for the energy industry, Maximilian Viessmann, Group CEO at Viessmann, added that digitalization also affects a company’s cultural environment and must be applied not just at a technical level but also at a personal level as well.

Lothar Harings, Chief Human Resources Officer at Kühne + Nagel, followed up on the previous speaker’s remarks and clarified the need to promote digital talent and create a suitable tech culture. From the HR manager’s point of view, transformation means change that begins with management itself and is not dictated from above. Mike Zöller, consultant and partner at Andersch AG, highlighted the positive effects of the digital transformation, such as the creation of new jobs and the use of new, pioneering technologies and infrastructures.

From a financial perspective, the digital transformation calls for increasing levels of standardization in all divisions and investment in digitalization strategies that contribute value. Two CFOs, Dr. Yorck Schmidt and Christopher Delbrück, confirmed that new skills are being integrated into finance departments, with traditional work processes converting over to automated and app-based services.

The speakers’ remarks were followed by a stimulating podium discussion moderated by Dr. Peter Kreutter, Director of the WHU Foundation. “This year, the WHU Campus for Corporate Transformation celebrated its premiere in this format, and we are very proud of the outstanding response of the conference.” With these words, Professor Dr. Stefan Spinler, Director of the Kühne Institute for Logistics Management at WHU, summarized this year’s conference. The one-day event was organized by WHU professors Serden Ozcan and Stefan Spinler and carried out by WHU Executive Education in cooperation with Handelsblatt.

Website

Friedrich Joussen, CEO TUI Group

Panel discussion f.l.t.r.: Dr. Renko Dirksen, Member of the Board of ARAG SE; Dr. Jesper Mellenthin, Head of Sales SMS Digital; Moderator: Dr. Peter Kreutter, WHU Foundation

Coffee and Networking Break