In September 2019, Data Interchange took the decision to add a CEO to the structure of the business, leaving both Ieuan and Ewan Friend on the board of directors and Robert Steiner (new CEO) in charge of the day-to-day management of the business.
Let’s find out a little bit about Robert and how he has found Data Interchange so far in this interview!
Good morning Robert, thank you for agreeing to meet me this morning. I’ll dive straight in as I know you’re a busy man.
So, to kick things off, let’s firstly find out a bit about you. What do you do in your spare time?
“Mainly biking, running, skiing and walking the dog.
My hobbies have changed a lot over the years as my children grew up. Currently I do a lot of sports in my spare time as I’m one of those people that always need to be doing something. My worst nightmare would be a beach holiday of more than two days out in nowhere.”
How has your time at Data Interchange been so far?
“Extremely interesting and intensive.”
Why Data Interchange?
“The business challenge of transitioning and growing Data Interchange from where it is now to something new and bigger.”
How do you see the company changing over the coming years?
“Data Interchange is going to transition from a company that provides bespoke EDI customer solutions based on several products to one that provides standard cloud-based EDI software solutions. More details will follow soon.”
What has been the most challenging and exciting part of your career?
“During the internet “bubble” (1998 to 2003/4) where I was involved in various venture capital backed start-up companies, including internet security and content management. Subsequently, after the bubble burst, I moved to working as a turn-around manager.”
What’s great about DI?
“The number of very dedicated and highly committed people. The people are great!”
If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
What’s your style of leadership?
“My style of leadership is to work with my management team on the strategy and then to provide objectives, guidelines and framework (financial, policies, etc.) and then to motivate, coach/support my team, but also to provide the necessary positive and negative feedback.
Be tough but be fair.”
Tell me about an accomplishment that shaped your career…
“A little bit of background…In 2000 (during the internet bubble) I was COO of a software and services company with £5 million revenue which, at the time, went public with a valuation of £300 Million! The business plan stated in the IPO prospective was to go from the current £5 million revenue to £15 million revenue in the first year. I managed to close the year at £14.7 million, so very close.
This particular accomplishment shaped my career as I learnt a few, but important lessons. One of those was speed – when you have a challenging objective you need to make decisions and make them quickly based on the best information available; there is no time for long deliberations and analysis! Another lesson I learnt was that real stretch goals can be reached but they have consequences (both business and personal). However, the biggest lesson that did shape my career was the lesson of teamwork. My success was based on the very close teamwork of my management team and everyone in the company – there was a common objective. Having the best management team has been the base of my success ever since.”
Thank you Robert. That concludes my questions. It sounds like you’ve hit the ground running with Data Interchange and are putting your previous experience into play. I wish you the best of luck!