“The role of the CEO is to enable people to excel, help them discover their own wisdom, engage themselves entirely in their work, and accept responsibility for making change.” These words come from Vineet Nayar, author of Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down, and are apropos, considering many of the management changes the construction-technology space has seen in just the past week alone.
Case in point: Carl Bass, who has stepped down as president and CEO of Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., but will remain on the board of directors. In this case, the company’s board has instituted a CEO search to consider candidates both inside and outside Autodesk, and has formed an Interim Office of the Chief Executive, which is headed up by Amar Hanspal, senior vice president and chief product officer, and Andrew Anagnost, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, to oversee the company’s day-to-day operations. Bass himself will also remain on as a special advisor to the company in support of the transition to a new CEO.
This news comes at the same time as another big announcement from Autodesk: a new agreement between Autodesk and Sachem Head Capital Management LP, which calls for two 2016 director nominees to resign from the board of directors.
According to Autodesk, the transition to a new CEO has been in the works for more than 18 months, as part of the board’s CEO succession planning process. When Sachem Head began acquiring company stock in late 2015, Bass and the board put discussion regarding a permanent successor on hold, determining stable leadership was important to help Autodesk navigate investor negotiations, while still advancing cloud-based technologies and a subscription-only business model.
Bass and the board have decided that now is the right time to identify the next individual that will lead Autodesk’s next stage of growth. Time will tell what happens next for Autodesk, but this is certainly a big change for one of the largest construction-technology providers, and will invariably have ripple effects in many construction companies.
And this is only one example of a transition we see currently taking place in the construction-technology market. Another big announcement comes from Assemble Systems, www.assemblesystems.com, Boston, Mass.
The company announced last week that Donald Henrich has been named as the new president and CEO, bringing experience in the engineering software market from previous roles at Graphisoft, Vico Software, and Trimble. He also had earlier industry experience as a president and CEO of a software tools company called SET and as a senior vice president at Parametric Technology Corp. He was also cofounder of MatrixOne, which is now a subsidiary of Dassault Systemes.
Companies such as Autodesk and Assemble Systems need strong leaders at the helm for a number of reasons. First, they need to lead and guide a group of individuals to create the next big technology for the construction industry, all while serving the needs of contractors.
There are a lot of changes happening in the construction space, and all tech companies will need to adapt quickly to keep up with the changes happening in both construction and technology. As such, it becomes critical that the next technology leaders “accept responsibility for making change,” as Nayar says.
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