Future Leadership Skills in Automotive Retail

By Daniel Müller Jonas Nußbaum Nicolas Alaerts

Last week, Daniel Müller, Jonas Nussbaum, and Nicolas Alaerts welcomed their guest speaker Hans Dohrmann to discuss altogether the predictability of leaders’ success in a fast-changing world.

​The webinar was hosted for the Automotive Community.

Daniel Müller, Partner & Director Mercuri Urval Switzerland started by giving some context by discussing the world we live in today, as the automotive & mobility industries are facing the biggest and deepest change in its history. The megatrends of connected, autonomous, shared and electric mobility are mutually reinforcing developments in the automotive industry. Combined, they are disrupting the whole value chain of the sector.

Therefore, the automotive wholesale & retail environment will also face a heavy transformation within the next years. Consumer behaviour is changing rapidly. The expectations of the clients are also steadily increasing, as the retail and consumer industry is setting new standards and is developing at a very high pace. Based on this situation, Daniel MüllerJonas Nussbaum (Engagement Manager Mercuri Urval Germany), and Nicolas Alaerts (Partner & Director Mercuri Urval Belgium), as Mercuri Urval conducted a European survey, to gain insights on the following question: "What leadership skills will automotive companies need to be successful in the future automotive wholesale and retail market?"

Jonas showed several results of the survey.

  • According to the survey, the major future challenges in the automotive retail market are electrification, sustainability regulations, customer centricity, direct sales, and agility.

  • The roles of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), National Sales Companies (NSCs), and Dealerships are evolving over time (see image below).

  • The most needed capabilities in leadership teams are ability to lead through uncertainty and change, capability of long-term strategic thinking, ability to engage teams around purpose and visionlearning agility, creativity, and curiosity, and the ability to master new technologies and make data driven decisions. But the capabilities that are not present enough / not developed enough in their leadership teams are the ones underlined. 

Our Mercuri Urval team highlighted that although some capabilities are mentioned as key for the future, one can only pin down what is exactly needed by analysing properly the unique context of the organisation and where the Leader operates in. The unique circumstances of an organisation and its result need lead to situation and context specific advice about what leadership is needed.

Don't use a one size fits all ! 

Finally, Hans Dohrmann was the last speaker at the event. He has an impressive track record as a serial entrepreneur, successfully creating his own start-ups and opening/scaling up new business fields for companies. He has been CEO of the Internetstores Group (one of the world's largest digital players in specialist bike and outdoor commerce) from November 2018 till September 2021. In this function, he has developed the company from 250 Mio revenue to more than 600 Mio, and has prepared it for an upcoming IPO. 

Hans mainly discussed that we are at the beginning of a massive change, where e-commerce will be more relevant than ever and will have a larger share than physical retail. This leads to platforms possibility turning out into the winning business model. Platform is here commonly referred to as a technology, product, or service that serves as a foundation upon which companies develop complementary technologies, products, or services. As an example, Hans discusses the WeChat ecosystem, that started with solely private messaging and has now extended into different services such as payment methods, storing of files, public services, games, and much more.

Are you interested to read and / or know more? Don't hesitate to contact our consultants Daniel, Jonas, or Nicolas directly!