The Amrop Digital Interviews: Florian Jummrich

“Getting Digital Leadership right, requires an organizational design that really unlocks the full potential of leaders through assessment and development, diversity, and inclusion.”

Florian Jummrich is a Partner at AmropCivitas in Duesseldorf, Germany and a member of Amrop’s Global Digital Practice.

We spoke to him about the cornerstones of his professional philosophy, his experience in SAP and SaaS companies, which offers him an unique insight in the challenges SaaS companies are facing at different stages in the company’s development, as well as in today’s investment environment, and effective leadership in the digital sector.

Florian Jummrich

Florian, can you talk a little about your professional experience prior to joining Amrop and how it’s helped you shape your career with the company? You've worked both in Executive Search and across the Technology sector previously - how are these experiences linked and how did they shape your approach to search now?

I have a strong background as an international Interim Management and Executive Search Professional, and I have been working in either sales or consulting management roles. My previous experience spans the broader Technology sector working for SAP and SaaS companies. I’ve scaled up the partner business in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for two fast growing Cloud Solution Providers: Quentic, a SaaS Solution Provider for EHSQ and ESG, now owned by AMCS, and Cegid Talentsoft, a SaaS Solution Provider for Human Capital Management and Talent Management. Both companies were successfully sold within a venture capital context with investors such as Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division or Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. So, my background in Executive Search, Interim Management, Talent Management, and my experience in the Technology sector strongly shaped my approach to search.

In relation to that, I can emphasize three main themes of my professional philosophy. First, I believe in using a holistic approach: being familiar with multiple areas of Talent Acquisition and Talent Management allows me to take a holistic view when conducting executive searches. I consider the broader context and long-term implications of executive placements, ensuring they align with the company's goals and culture. Secondly, it’s crucial for me to understand the business context. Working in the technology industry has given me a deep understanding of the specific challenges, dynamics, and trends within the sector. This knowledge helps me to align my search strategy and to identify those candidates who have the necessary skills and expertise to succeed in this rapidly changing industry. Thirdly, Real Digital Transformation is all about leadership and culture. The new Digital leaders navigate four key domains: Skills, Organization, Strategy and Culture. Having been on the other side, I bring in a deep understanding of those key domains required for a true digital transformation that really drives innovation and business.

Your focus at Amrop is now the digital and technology sectors. Can you tell me a bit about the types of clients you’ve been working with before and ones you’re working with now? What’s your experience working with the companies in the tech sector?

As an international Interim Management and Executive Search Professional I have conducted various mandates in a range of sectors. For Industrial those mandates are in Automotive, Chemicals, Industrial Machinery, Plastics Industry, and Packaging Material. In Technology & Digital I work for SaaS companies with Scale-Up Venture Capital Funding. Having been on the other side, I fully understand how crucial it is to have the right person for the right phase of a company. Different stages of a company's growth require different leadership qualities and skills. A startup may need a leader who can navigate uncertainty and drive rapid growth. A mature company may require a leader with experience in scaling operations and managing complexity. When working with scale-up companies, independence and an entrepreneurial mindset are crucial. Scale-Ups require leaders who can take ownership and make autonomous decisions in a dynamic and less structured environment. These leaders need to be creative, identify new opportunities, and drive business by managing calculated risks. Understanding this context allows me to identify the right leadership profiles for the right place at the right time. I match candidates with the specific requirements and challenges of each organization, ensuring a successful fit that aligns with their goals and culture.

What, in your view, are the qualities which are essential for leadership positions in the digital sector? Do the tech leaders always need to have previous experience in the sector, or can that be learned on the job and perhaps there are more important factors?

In the digital sector, effective leadership requires tech leaders who are comfortable with business complexity, are adaptable, and have quick comprehension. They must have excellent strategic thinking skills combined with hands-on mentality and the capability to lead projects successfully within tight timeframes. Digital Leaders need to be entrepreneurial, agile, forward thinkers with a customer-oriented mindset. Deep experience in the tech sector is beneficial, but the most crucial qualities for tech leaders are the clear digital vision and roadmap, together with the ability to build relationships with all relevant stakeholders. Many successful digital leaders have transitioned from other industries, bringing in valuable cross-sectoral insights. It is the generic ability to adapt new technologies, drive innovation and transform a business model that truly shapes effective leadership.

What is your process of assessing whether a candidate is a good fit for a leadership position in a digital company?

My process is driven by the philosophy that every customer, every candidate, and every market are unique. It’s all about understanding the unique context of each assignment. Generally, I focus on the key contextual dimensions: business, financial, cultural, candidate, and service. Assessing whether a candidate is a good fit for a leadership position always requires a structured process of Competency Based and Value Based Interviewing. The Amrop's Digital Competency Model provides an excellent framework to assess and develop digital leadership skills.

What are the challenges that fast-growing SaaS companies face finding the right people for leadership positions? From your past experience working in SaaS companies, what factors do you see as crucial for success?

Having worked in the SaaS industry for many years, I know the challenges and the high demand for digital leaders who really understand the SaaS business model and know how to scale a company into successful growth. In the SaaS industry, the need to scale and focus on recurring revenue has shifted the focus on leadership roles like Chief Sales Officers, Chief Revenue Officers or Chief Growth Officers. Private equity investors are seeking CEOs, CIOs, CTOs with a solid track record in scaling SaaS companies. The same applies to the complete leadership team. However, digital leaders with such a track record are very hard to find.

Generally, three success factors immediately come to my mind. First, Talent Acquisition: Right from the beginning those companies need to build up a strategic talent pipeline to source, recruit and retain the right talents and leaders. Having the 'Leaders for What's Next' at the right phase of a company is crucial. Secondly, Talent Management: Those companies need to grow their workforce alongside their business to drive workforce agility at a high scale. This requires a strategic talent management including continuous learning, career development and succession planning. Thirdly, Digital Leadership: Getting Digital Leadership right, requires an organizational design that really unlocks the full potential of leaders through assessment and development, diversity, and inclusion.

You are a member of the Amrop Global Digital Practice Team which brings together specialists from Amrop’s offices around the globe with deep technology and digital knowledge and sector experience. What, in your view, are the main benefits of having these industry groups as part of the global network?

In the Amrop Digital Practice Group we bring together the deep technology and digital knowledge of our global organization. We are highly collaborative, and this allows us to use our collective knowledge to share ideas and work together on cross-border business opportunities, especially when various countries are involved. It is so great that we can showcase our customers that we have the right experts from different countries, who know their local market which makes a real impact for our customers. With our experts in the different sub-sectors like Cloud, AI, Cybersecurity or Fintech we put together the best team to create sustainable success for our customers.


To find out more please contact Florian Jummrich or the Amrop Digital Practice members in your country!