Andy W. Mattes, who took over as president and chief executive officer on Thursday, said he’s still learning about Diebold’s worldwide business operations, but his early review showed him the company is more than just an automatic teller machine maker.
The comment from the waitress took Andy W. Mattes by surprise.
“You’re that new guy at Diebold,” she said while delivering Mattes tea he ordered with breakfast.
In case the dreary weather Friday wasn’t enough evidence, the waitress hammered home for Mattes that he had traded life in a California metropolis for one in Northeast Ohio.
Diebold’s new president and chief executive officer considers himself a global citizen, but he’s not used to being recognized in hotel restaurants.
Mattes, 52, was born in Germany and has lived the past 10 years in the U.S. working for major electronics companies Siemens AG and Hewlett-Packard. Now he’s accepted the opportunity to turn around a sputtering Diebold operation.
“For whatever reason the company was not humming on all cylinders,” Mattes said Friday morning during a 40-minute meeting with area reporters.
He will rely on his 28 years of working for high-tech companies as he tries to get Diebold’s engine humming again. Mattes said he has seen the rapid technology change in computers and electronics through the years. He started off selling Apple III computers, but those machines aren’t imaginable to today’s young consumers.
“I think I’ve got a little bit of experience on how to handle transformation, how to handle change,” Mattes said.
PLENTY OF ASSETS
Mattes talked with reporters in Diebold’s Global Solutions Center, an area where the company displays its products. He sat in an area where Diebold promotes its cloud technology.
Cloud technology is an area Mattes understands. But he didn’t know that Diebold offered customers a cloud product.
When recruiters approached Mattes about the Diebold job, the first thought he had — not surprisingly — was of ATMs. That’s Diebold’s lead product. “Well, that’s not my turf,” Mattes said.
But as he did research — reading company documents and Securities and Exchange Commission filings — Mattes said he learned that business services generate half of Diebold’s sales revenue. He read about the electronic service offerings, software and cloud technology.
Mattes believes he found a company with a lot of upside. “We’ve got more assets than people generally give us credit for.”
One goal will be to promote the upside, Mattes said. How that will be done can’t be spelled out on “Day Two” at the office. Mattes said he’s still getting to know his new employer and expects to spend the next 90 to 100 days traveling to company operations around the world. He starts in Europe next week.
Mattes already is familiar with Diebold’s efforts to cut $150 million in spending by 2015. Diebold’s directors announced the plan in April while in the midst of searching for a new CEO.
Page 2 of 2 - The search started in January when Thomas W. Swidarski stepped down — apparently at the board’s urging — following a poor second half in 2012. This year hasn’t started well, with Diebold posting a $13.4 million loss in the first quarter.
When Swidarski left, Diebold directors said the company had good strategies but was failing to execute.
“Execution is the single most important part of the strategy,” Mattes said. A plan might not work without thorough execution, he said.
Diebold’s current products and businesses can lead to growth. ATMs are a lot like a special purpose appliance, he said. Software helps the machines evolve, and Diebold’s software content is large and will grow.
Directors believes Diebold can broaden its electronic security business. Right now it accounts for about 10 percent of revenue. Electronic security is a fragmented market undergoing change, Mattes said. Customers are looking for strong players and Diebold has a well known brand name. It’s an opportunity that Diebold will explore.
Turning the company around requires work, and Mattes said he is asking people who want to help to chime in and offer ideas. He wants to make an open and honest assessment of Diebold operations, develop a plan and push it forward.
“It’s not one man’s job,” Mattes said. “This is for the team to do.”
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