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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Mario Gay

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Mario Gay

Name: Mario Gay

Current title: Managing Director

Current organisation: Extrema Ratio Fz LLC

Mario Gay is currently the Managing Director of Nuvias Middle East, an IT distribution Company specialized in cloud and security products, part of the London Rigby Family Group.
Before that, Mario was the MD of Mindware, a leading IT Distributor, part of MIDIS Group, in the MENA Region with an organization of 160 people among UAE, KSA, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Kenya, Morocco, and Lebanon with yearly revenue over US$350 million.
Mario joined Mindware in 2007 as the Chief Financial and Operation Officer and was instrumental in the restructuring of finance, sales, and the marketing operations of the Company with the implementation of cross border ERP & CRM & BTB systems and Electronic Market Place, for IT Cloud Products.
In 2009, Mario took full responsibility for the Company and guided the Sales growth, developing the portfolios of existing products, adding new IT franchises contracts, and opening new legal entities across the MENA region. Enlarged the customer base moving from 500 resellers to 3000 active customers. Developed the relationship with all key strategic vendors like Dell, Lenovo, EMC, HUAWEI, and many other software vendors
On top of the above, he spent time increasing the level of competencies across the organization and in developing the overall team skills and group performance, developing internal training for senior manager and staff.
Mario also served as Executive Director and Advisory Board Director of the Midis Group, which is the holding Company of Mindware with the responsibility of overlooking the M&A process across the Group.

In 1997, Mario joined Intel Corporation in Milan as Finance & Administrative Controller for the MENA Region. He spent ten years with Intel in several roles relocating across Europe, in Munich, Paris, Swindon, and London.
Among the positions held he had: Southern European Finance Controller, WER Treasury/Credit Manager, EMEA Credit Director, and Financial Service.
He ended his tenure with Intel Capital in London as Senior Investment Manager with the responsibility for Venture Capital and M&A investment activity across South Europe. His areas of expertise were the Application of FPGA, Digital Health (diagnostic on a chip and telemedicine), and mobility.
One of his most outstanding achievements was the ‘Intel Finance Achievement Award’ in 2006; it is the highest recognition for an individual from Intel.
In 2014 Mario was also awarded “Executive of the Year” by Channel Middle East Magazine; for the visible success of Mindware in the Channel.
Mario holds an MBA from SDA Bocconi in Milan, where he also attended the Wharton Business School in Philadelphia (USA) in an exchange program with a focus in finance and company valuation.
Mario continues to keep abreast with learning, attending several intensive programs from the London Business School and INSEAD in France.
He is Visiting Professor at the University of Turin, holding classes on Internationalization & Strategy to the Students of Business Administration.
He is an active member of the Rotary international of Dubai, where he dedicates time to help the community.

7 Questions with Mario Gay


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

Managing the Shareholders' attitude is sometimes irrational, sometimes over demanding.
Driving the growth in markets where the instability is always present and keeping stable cash flow.
Drive with Ethics when all around you are compromising values and cutting corners.

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

After having worked as Executive in Intel for 10 years the President of a large IT Group selected me as COO with the commitment of becoming CEO after 15 months.

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

8:00 am office start
8-9 am emails read and plan
9-9:30 revenues update from reports and sales pipeline control, credit checks
9:30 - 10:00 Quick synch up with directors on the activity of the days
10:00:13:00 Time for a meeting on several subjects with directors: business Development - Strategic Decisions
13:00 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 14:00 Email control of the pending issue
14:16 - Weekly review with each functional Manager - HR- CREDIT - MARKETING
17:00 - 18:00 Quick Synch of the days with the Directors on the closure of the day and review of any pending or urgent matter.
18: 1830 Open door policy any employee who wants to talk can come in to address problems.
19:00 home

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

A leader is always alone and you need strong stamina to survive during the bad days...

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?

I have read several books on leadership, the one that I follow. The one that I am the most attached to is Only the paranoid survive from Andy Grove. CEO of INTEL

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

My point of academic reference is the Leadership tasks cycle from Clark Wilson Group.
1. Establish the purpose of the organization/function
2. Laying the Foundation in terms of : Financial/Operation Competencies - Communication
3. Sustaining the effort: Work facilitation, aligning the resources, people development training.
4. Asking for feedback
5. Monitor and Adjusting the performance of the Directors/Manager. delegation and goal pressure, time management
6. Reinforce good performance: sharing the credit among the directors and employees. Create role models.

Once the year is closed, re-set the bar to a higher level and apply a fair appraisal of the individual at all levels of the organization with an attached development plan.

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

Having selected a junior BDM, having trained him and in 5 years making him to become a country manager.
His smile, dedication, energy ....and seeing now to be himself a director. I feel that I have contributed to his development with the tools of the company.

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