For more than a decade, the shifting balance of power in the IT and high-tech spheres towards the Gafa has led to strategic rethinks in the boardrooms of some of the most powerful companies in the world. Irony of ironies, as Amazon and the like are getting into physical products, their more established colleagues in the tech sector are looking to cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) business models to boost growth.
French IT and consulting company Atos was being lapped by the competition before Thierry Breton (No.9 on our list) set to work on turbo-charging the Atos engine with top-drawer strategic acquisitions designed to reposition the company towards dematerialized services. A winning strategy as it turned out, with the Paris based company well on its way to becoming an established multinational.
The figures don’t lie: According to consultancy firm Gartner, spending on cloud-based goods and services is on course to rise by 9% in 2019.
Coming from the opposite direction we have companies such as Google, the world leader in SaaS. Sergey Brin (No.2 in our top-ten) has long been obsessed with producing a hit high-tech product. After some high-profile misfires such as Google Glasses – an idea whose time hadn’t come – the Mountain View headquartered firm believes it will have better luck with its Pixel 3 smartphones and Google Home smartspeakers. “We believe that we can develop AI in a way that complements human expertise, and we feel a deep responsibility to get this right,” remarked one of Google’s prominent execs, Sundar Pichai, in a recent address, surely not by accident. He knows better than most that AI and machine-learning will lead to the ultimate symbiosis between the hardware in our homes and the software connecting it to the world.
The titans of tech on this list all have one foot in the future.
Outside of objective criteria (turnover, market value and growth rate) Leaders League used the following five criteria when compiling our Top Ten Tech Executives list
Longevity: must have occupied current position for at least three years
Growth: their company’s annual turnover must exceed €250 million and growth must be above the average for their sector
Profitability: for listed companies, annual profits must exceed the previous year’s results
Innovation: demonstrable impact on company’s sector of activity and potential future growth
Social responsibility: have an ESG program in operation