20th Jun 2013

Can the new CEO of Diebold lead the turnaround?

Profits dropped a whopping 46% in 2012, while for the first quarter of 2013 the company reported a loss of $13.4. Diebold, the Ohio-based financial self-services, security and services corporation is struggling. The decline in profits is due to lower sales and a major drop in gross margins. In an effort to stabilise their financial positioning the company has been restructuring by cutting jobs, curbing spending, and shaking up at management level. In January George S. Mayes Jr was promoted to COO, and last week Andy Mattes was made president and CEO.

Mattes joins the company just 5 months after the abrupt departure of previous chief executive Thomas W. Swidarski, who was allegedly ousted due to the poor sales of 2012. Diebold is in need of a vigorous transformation and the board has pinpointed Mattes as the man for the job.

Mattes, 52, is originally from Nuremberg, Germany. He studied at the Ludwig Maximilians Universitat in Munich, graduating with an Diplom Kaufmann in 1985. In a statement last week Mattes acknowledged the advantages to his roots, saying “I’m very direct […] It's part of my German DNA. I think the 'sugar-coating gene' is not well developed in my home nation." With over 25 years of experience in the high-tech industry - most recently as SVP Global Strategic Partnerships at Violin Memory - the ex-Hewlett-Packard and Siemens executive is confident in his abilities.

So, at the top of Mattes’s list of priorities is Diebold’s swift return to profitability. With the company in its current state Mattes is sure to face many harsh challenges during his first 100 days and beyond. It is imperative therefore, that Mattes devises an optimal First 100 Days plan which acts as a route map back to profit growth and success. It is easy to get sidelined from the main strategic priorities during the stressful early days of a new leadership appointment, so writing a detailed plan and sticking to it is crucial.

Mattes has already stated that he plans to ask a lot of questions in the coming months, and to “make sure we have the right talent in the right places”. At First100 we understand that having the right people in the right roles is key to success as a leader. Mattes also understands this, so it seems he is already on the right track. As for the future? We will be watching his progress through his first 100 days as chief executive of Diebold with great interest.

Hilda Goold

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