From zero to 300 in 4 years: the experience of manager and Alumnus Giuseppe Di Franco
Graduating in Industrial Engineering in 1992, he joined Atos Italia in 2014 where he increased turnover from zero to €300m in four years, leading to significant repercussions for the ICT market in Italy: “the national system is ready for the digital transformation, now we need the people”.
“The success is not mine; it belongs to a group of people. It is people that make the difference” said Giuseppe Di Franco, a Politecnico di Milano Alumnus who has led Atos Italia as CEO for four years.
“In 2014 the Atos group was exiting the Italian market. A change in management and strategy gave us the opportunity to take another chance: we started again from scratch and in four years, we brought the company to where it was turning over €300m per year, as well as investing in our workforce of now 1,600 employees. I had the opportunity to lead this transformation”. It was a managerial success that in 2018 brought Di Franco to the table of the Executive Committee of the group, the first European player in the digital transformations market, and made him head of a large European region including Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe, with the objective of a €1bn turnover and 8,000 people to meet it.
A national system’s capacity for growth depends on the ability of the professionals managing digital transformation
This success has also had positive repercussions for the Italian ICT world, a market that has great potential in Italy. “In Italy we have peaks and troughs but we are still a large and important economy, which is evidenced by the large technology groups that are investing in Italian branches and companies of Italian origin that are successful all across the world. As for digital transformations, our private sector is in a similar position to other European counties and now has the task of pulling along the public that have been left behind. Excluding the constraints and boundary conditions that we all know about, what is missing and what would really make the system take off is people: there are currently not enough professionals to adequately manage digital transformation. Not just in Italy, it is an issue that affects all of Europe. A national system’s capacity for growth depends on the ability of the professionals managing digital transformation. In this sense, influential universities like the Politecnico play a decisive role in terms of the push that new skilled graduates can give to industrial development”.
These skills include, but are not limited to, theoretical knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate technology: “The next digital frontier, the one that could change the rules of the game over the next few years, is the development and uptake of quantum computers, but people are still the most important resource and the real driving force for development”.
“A young person taking their first steps into the world of work should distinguish between short and medium term goals. One of the first elements of major growth is the ability to work toward goals, whatever sector you work in. The more you look toward the medium and long term, the more important it is to invest in soft skills. You must learn to think globally and manage multiculturism, as well as navigating the complexity of professional relationships within large groups, which is a bigger issue than in the often informal and familial environment of small to medium sized companies.”
“Most of all, don’t get discouraged. Not many people, if any, have a career path that is always on the rise; more often they are faced with long valleys and dangerous falls that can weigh down your pride as well. This is when determination must come through. Difficulties are a great lesson: from this perspective, a challenge like the one I faced going into Atos Italia is an opportunity for personal and professional enrichment”.
Advice for young people
Don’t get discouraged. Not many people, if any, have a career path that is always on the rise
- Giuseppe Di Franco
- Graduated in Industrial Engineering in 1992
- Group Executive Vice President - CEO GBU Central Eastern Europe & Italy, Atos Group