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7 Questions with Ruben Leo
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7 Questions with Ruben Leo
Name: Ruben Leo
Current title: Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer
Current organisation: Devlyn Holdings
Senior Brand Builder and Marketer | ex P&Ger | +16 years of regional experience in Latin America and U.S. Hispanics Markets in FMCG/CPG and Retail industries; experience working for multinational and local corporations.
Self-motivated and balanced leader -strategy development/execution excellence. Passion and proven skills for portfolio management, multicultural marketing, digital transformations, change management, people leadership and capabilities development.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Breaking paradigms and challenging the status quo. You would continually hear the words of people in their current positions for more than 20 years saying “we’ve always done it like this”… well, 50 years ago, when a few big firms could dictate terms to the marketplace, the idea that the firm could simply focus on making money worked. Now what used to be common sense is obsolete. If you want to succeed, focus on delivering true value to customers and sometimes it means re-start from zero your strategy.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I believe I have led my career development in key different areas of expertise and great companies that have allowed me to develop the right strong balance in hard and soft skills of what you need as a visionary and fast transformational leader. I am very grateful to having been formed with a 360 leadership approach at P&G. Consumer understanding, strategic planning, marketing strategies, Brand building, digitalization and ecommerce, shopper and retailer understanding that have taken me to have a compelling story throughout my career with solid and proven results.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
It’s always looking for a combination of personal and work life balance. I believe you can’t succeed in both if you are not well with only one. Everyday is different with some routines that help me maintain a balance with my body and mind (such as exercise and meditation); but I start everyday looking at my key indicators, how we are progressing towards the main goals, try to always find for non-value added tasks and distractions that help me be more productive. Always integrating fun hobbies to my everyday re-energizes me.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
You need to have the courage to follow your trained gut and combine it with some data points and the end goal in mind.
Leading with passion and courage while continuing to be empathetic and a people’s person, BUT, being a people’s person and leader, demands excellence and being fair to the team and ensuring that we are all acting as one coherent team in harmony and every one sharing responsibility. Most importantly, knowing when to coach out people that don't have the right energy - "bad apples" that’s not helping us as a team but even further pulling us down.
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?
Leadership lessons - Steve Jobs.
I have been a deep admirer of Steve Jobs since a long time ago. It has been extremely helpful for me throughout my career to live by the principles he ‘developed’. Focusing on what really matters, continuous look for simplification and sometimes follow just your gut. One of the first decisions he made when he returned to Apple, was to cut projects and leave only the top four. He said "Let's do four things and do them spectacularly well."
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I am a huge believer that there are thousands of distractions everywhere to everyone… regarding my role as a leader of different departments is to listen to them continuously at different levels, to find those distractions and enable them by eliminating them and always help them focusing on the bigger picture and connecting the dots to our main simple goal.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Being a fully rounded CMO always involves how you connect the dots of your strategy and engage your multifunctional peers to take action on what really matters. Proving results fast when you are starting something new, will always be a plus to build your credibility really strong and afterwards you can be unstoppable with allies working in the same direction!