client case study

Proximus

CEO Dominique Leroy

Creating a growth mindset and agile culture to return a telecoms giant to profitability

Rising competition in the European telecommunications industry is forcing companies across the sector to revise business models to stay competitive and relevant to customers. A flagship company of the BEL 20 headquartered in Brussels, and operating in Belgium and international markets, Proximus (formerly Belgacom) was at such a crossroads. Majority state-owned, and with more than 14,000 people providing mobile and fixed phone, internet, and television services to residential and business customers, it had become overly complex and slow. In addition, a period of leadership turmoil and market saturation resulted in years of zero growth and lost market share.

 

In January, 2014, the Belgian government appointed Dominique Leroy for a six-year term as chief executive. She joined Proximus (then called Belgacom) in 2012 as executive vice president of the Consumer Business Unit after a 24-year leadership career at Unilever. In her initial EVP role at Proximus, she sponsored the culture-shaping process that Senn Delaney was helping the company to create, and it began to take root at the upper levels of management.

 

As CEO, Leroy continued to engage and embed the culture transformation more deeply into the company. She knew it would be critical to help realize the goals of an ambitious strategic plan that aims to transform the business and return it to growth by 2016 by:

  • enhancing the customer experience through converging and streamlining mobile, fixed and IT solutions
  • creating a more efficient organization
  • simplifying at all levels
  • standing out from the competition by creating one clear, differentiated commercial brand — Proximus.

 

Getting there, however, required a culture shift because agility and a growth mindset were not part of the Proximus’s DNA.

 

Proximus CEO Dominique Leroy describes the culture transformation and results in this video

 

 

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Watch full video interview with Dominique Leroy

 

 

Results from creating the Good to Gold culture

 

The culture-shaping process enabled leaders to define a common vision, purpose and strategy and communicate and align the company to it. Three key values agility, collaboration and accountability became the guiding values for Proximux. By instilling these values deeply into the company, Proximus began generating more openness and trust across the business, breaking down silos and creating the ‘one company’ mindset necessary to meet its strategic goals.

 

A strong set of financials for third quarter 2014 continued to demonstrate positive revenue performance, a growing customer base, and good progress in structural cost reduction through simplification, bringing the Fit for Growth strategy closer to EBITDA growth objectives in 2016.

 

Leroy considers the cultural transformation so important to the company’s success that in 2014, she and the executive team selected the internal Good to Gold culture team of facilitators to receive the company’s most prestigious award, which recognizes exceptional performance across all four of the company’s strategic pillars to impact the performance of the business.

 

“Having a culture with the values of collaboration, agility and accountability, together with a clear purpose, helps people to make the right tradeoffs on a collective basis. You really see the dynamic changing in the company because the learning and growth becomes concrete, anchored in the success of the company,” says Leroy.

 

 “In the end, we are not doing things that are very different from our competitors. We’re investing, we’re transforming and we’re cutting costs. But why are we successful so far while others are not? I think it’s about the soft issues. It’s about changing the mindset of the people. What made the difference was the Good to Gold culture. This was the glue that enabled us to bring all these transformational elements together.”

Culture Drives Performance Image