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Matins ESADE with Isla Ramos (SEP 04), executive director of Lenovo

01/06/2017 (dd/mm/yyyy) | Barcelona


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Isla Ramos (Lenovo): A tale of transformation

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REPORT

''The business of selling technological devices is very aggressive. A product on the shelf enters obsolescence after seven weeks and the net margin on a laptop is just 3%, which means that we must be constantly innovating,'' explained Isla Ramos, executive director of Lenovo, in a new session of 'Matins ESADE' sponsored by Bluecap with the support of ‘La Vanguardia’.

Isla Ramos reviewed the history of Lenovo – which bought the IBM personal computers division – and explained that: ''you cannot manufacture much product in advance because it becomes obsolete so quickly, and therefore you are constantly solving today's problems. The exciting thing about working with a Chinse business vision is the ability to plan and innovate over the long term, which is crucial in this sector. In the West, in contrast, we are much more short term in our thinking''.

Lenovo appeared in the market in 2004 and grew out of the Chinese firm Legend Holdings. ''Lenovo trades in more than 160 countries and is the world's largest manufacturer of personal computers. The company has grown organically – creating mobile devices and so on – and inorganically by buying other companies. Buying firms is sometimes necessary because you cannot afford to wait five years to develop a new business,'' Ramos explained.

Brand recognition

''Lenovo's case is unusual because we have become number one when no one knew our brand,'' Ramos explained. ''Branding is very associated with the goods we make. However, Lenovo did not go into mass consumption products until 2012 as we were previously positioned in high-end business-to-business products, and so it was very difficult to establish the brand.''

''Today we have changed from a company with a single product – PCs – to a multi-device company with televisions, smart watches, and so on – which means a change of business model and process perspective. Devices and the whole ecosystem have changed as all devices are now connected,'' she added.

Ramos explained how Lenovo's market share has grown from 10.1% in 2010 to 21.5% in 2016, meaning that Lenovo sells four devices worldwide every second. ''When you grow at this rate, it is impossible to fully digest the changes,'' she claimed. ''Our marketing target audience are millennials. We are trying to think ahead, because when millennials begin to reach positions of responsibility we want them to have grown up with our brand''.

 

 

Programme

Isla Ramos (SEP 04), executive director of Lenovo, will feature this new session of Matins ESADE entitled ''A tale of transformation''.

Lenovo was created when the Chinese group Legend bought out the IBM Personal Systems Division 11 years ago. In these 11 years Lenovo has completely rewritten business and culture, and three years ago it became the world’s largest PC manufacturer.

Chairs and closing:
Joan Riera (Lic&MBA 99), associate professor in ESADE's Department of Strategy and General Management and president of the ESADE Alumni Innovation Club

Introduction:
Núria Agell, director and professor in ESADE's Department of Operations, Innovation and Data Sciences

Lecture:
Isla Ramos (SEP 04), executive director of Lenovo

Discussion:
Joan Riera (Lic&MBA 99), associate professor in ESADE's Department of Strategy and General Management and president of the ESADE Alumni Innovation Club

 

 

Isla Ramos

Born in Granada (Spain). Studied in the UK and Madrid. University degree in Business Administration (Finance major) and Senior Executive Program at ESADE. She joined the IBM Software group, where she spent 8 years in the software business in marketing and sales, including 3 years in the international division of south Italy. She returned to Spain as a manager for Channel and SMB in the software business.

In 2003 she became head of the IBM Spain and Portugal Personal Computer business. This division was acquired by Lenovo in 2004 and until the end of 2007, Isla was the general manager of the spin-off transformed into a new company. She moved into an international position as director of strategy and business operations for Europe, and was subsequently promoted to Executive Director of Business Transformation  for Western Europe, US , Australia & Japan in charge of strategic transformation changes.

Since May 2012, she has been the Executive Director of the EMEA Project Management Office and Business Transformation, in charge of the new business model implementation, turnaround strategic change (efficiency and productivity), and Post Merger Management for EMEA for local and international acquisitions (Medion, iOmega, IBM x86, Motorola).

In early 2015, she began setting up a new business model to cater for midsize customers with 250 to 1000 employees, Midmarket, setting up sales centres to cater for these customers. In 2016 she also set up channel sales centres to address mid- and small-sized resellers and currently leads both these business at EMEA level. Isla actively involved with social responsibility projects and is a board member of Save the Children.

 

 

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