CEO, ServiceNow, Former CEO, SAP
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Bill led one of the world’s largest business software businesses, with over 70,000 employees and over 290,000 customers in 190 countries, through a period of dramatic growth and competition. He’s also author of Winners Dream, showing what can happen when you build a rapport and recognise team potential. Bill considers how to strengthen critical relationships, aim for ambitious goals, and align product development with real-world application: “Unless a company has a bias toward innovation rather than the status quo, it’s easy to become irrelevant.”
Bill McDermott served as CEO of one of the world’s largest and long-established business software companies, SAP. Responsible for over 70,000 employees serving over 290,000 customers from small enterprises to global corporations in 190 countries, he led the company through challenging times, but also hugely successful times.
It’s a long way from Bill’s humble Long Island roots where as a sixteen-year-old he traded three jobs to buy a small deli, which he ran by instinctively applying ideas that would be the seeds for his future success. After using the shop to fund his way through college, he talked his way into a job selling photocopiers for Xerox, where he went on to become their best sales rep in every position he held, eventually becoming the company’s youngest ever corporate officer.
After Xerox Bill was appointed president of SAP’s struggling US business. He led by example and injected enthusiasm and accountability into a strategically imbalanced and demoralised culture. By applying the lessons going back to his deli days, Bill overhauled almost every aspect of the company to become CEO, the German company’s first non-European head. He led the company for five years before moving to Silicon Valley-based software company ServiceNow.
As well as his personal business journey of motivation and achieving goals, Bill looks at the fundamentals of leadership and business strategy. He considers the key elements to strengthening relationships with customers and partners, driving innovation in both products and markets, alining product development with their real-world application, and developing and executing strategy.
As well as his time at Xerox and SAP, Bill has served as executive vice president of sales and operations at Siebel Systems, and as president of Gartner, Inc., where he led the company’s core operations. He is a member of several company boards, including ANSYS, a company that designs and develops engineering simulation solutions, and advanced sportswear business Under Armour. He is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce and is an active voice in CSR and community/business relations, and public-private partnerships. Bill’s personal and business lessons are recounted in his book, Winners Dream.
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