7 Questions with Maha Bouzeid

Name: Maha Bouzeid

Current title: Vice President & Head of Procurement, Middle East and Africa

Current organisation: Ericsson

Maha Bouzeid is the Vice President and Head of Sourcing within Market area Middle East and Africa.

Bouzeid is a passionate leader in technologies and services that deliver value to customers and enable positive change for people and society. She thrives on building high performance teams and delivering strong execution.

Bouzeid has more than 10 years of experience in the telecommunications industry particularly in areas such as procurement, sales and change management.

She has held various leadership positions within the Ericsson Group since 2010, one of them being Vice President of Sales at Ericsson UK for the global Vodafone account. Bouzeid joined Ericsson as part of the Excellerate Global management program for top talents. Throughout her career, she has worked in several countries across different continents including Sweden, Malaysia, England and the UAE.

Bouzeid has been named one of Sweden's future women leaders 2010 and 2013. She won the 2009 Swedish Championships in project management and was selected as the 2013 Alumni of the year at Linkoping University in Sweden.

Bouzeid was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Her family moved to Sweden when she was five years old. She holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, a Master of Industrial Marketing, a Project Management Professional certificate and an MCIPS (Chartered institute of procurement and supply chain) certificate. She studied in Linkoping, Sweden and in Grenoble, France. She speaks Arabic, Swedish, English and French. She is married and has two children.

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1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

The most challenging is to get everyone aligned on the objectives. Within a large company functions have different targets and priorities – most of the time these align beautifully for a larger purpose, but sometimes they are in conflict. This needs to be resolved with the customer and business needs in mind.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I joined Ericsson as part of an international talent program for career acceleration – this gave me a kick-start in building my network and understanding the different parts of our organization and the dynamic telecom industry. Five years ago, I moved from Sales to Procurement, which was really exciting. After a year in my new role, I was promoted to VP Procurement – what I mostly love about my job are the amazing people I get to work with every day and that we contribute directly to the P&L.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake up early, prepare Thea and Adam for school and have a coffee with the family. Then I do my daily workout; I run and do high intensity training; I exercise for 60-90 min almost daily. I find it to be the most efficient way to de-stress and stay energized for a long day. It’s also the best way to keep diseases away (who has time for being ill 😉), and to stay fit and strong. Then I start my working day, normally very packed with meetings but I make time in my calendar for informal chats with my team. I see my role primarily as supporting my team to be successful; guiding, coaching and removing bottle-necks. If they achieve their objectives then ultimately the company will be successful.

I put my kids to sleep almost every day, read a bed-time story and snuggle in bed. Love is the purpose of life. After the kids are in bed I normally catch-up on my emails and have a chat with my husband or play the piano (a recent hobby that emerged during the pandemic).

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

During the pandemic, it was re-confirmed to me just how important the core values of great leadership are; humanness and empathy cannot be overestimated. In the end of the day – we are all humans and we strive for a larger purpose than just going to work 8 hours a day, we are social beings and it’s in our nature to collaborate to achieve the right output. Good relationships are the key to happiness.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Tony Robbins “Awaken the giant within” – in essence it’s about taking control of your mental, emotional, physical and financial destiny. To excel as a leader, I believe that you first need to master your own mind and emotions, to lead yourself. “It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean”.

Another focal idea in the book is “Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear”. It is crucial that we stay focused on the solution and the positive outcome rather than the problem itself – this it ultimately the path towards success.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

Not everyone wants to be a leader, you need to enjoy working in teams and genuinely love to see others grow. My favourite leadership quote is:

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter

I spend time coaching my team to develop into being great leaders, mainly by leading by example and instilling the right values.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

The best stories are when I see my team members grow into confident, strong individuals, exhibiting great leadership values and supporting each other to be happy and successful. This is what gives me the most energy at work – I believe that ultimate happiness is to help others be fulfilled.