New Diebold CEO says company needs to execute on strategy, use its assets

Former HP and Siemens executive Andreas Mattes takes over at company


June 07--Andreas "Andy" Mattes, in his second day as president and chief executive officer of Diebold Inc., said the $3 billion global company needs to focus on four areas.

Those areas are cost structure, returning to a trajectory of growth, improving cash position and making sure the right people are in the right positions.

"We have to combine all four," Mattes said. "We have lots of stuff to do."

Mattes, 52, a former Hewlett-Packard and Siemens executive, met with local media Friday morning at Diebold's Green headquarters.

Diebold on Thursday announced it hired Mattes as its top executive. He succeeds Thomas Swidarski, who was let go in January after Diebold missed earnings targets; the board also said Diebold was not transforming itself fast enough. Diebold, which makes automated teller machines and security systems, has been working to emphasize software and service over its hardware.

The German-born Mattes said he's excited by the opportunities that he sees at Diebold.

"I believe it's an incredible company, has a huge upside. It has a great brand," he said. "There are a lot of assets here at the company. And by the same token, I believe it is fair to say that, for whatever reasons, the company was not humming on all cylinders in the recent past."

But Diebold has a very good foundation to work from, he said. "And that's usually a good platform to grow a business, to rejuvenate a business."

Execution is the single most important element of corporate strategy, Mattes said. "The programs that the company has initiated are a good starting point," he said.

"I'm going to focus on making sure we have a very open and honest assessment of where we are," Mattes said. And there will be a focus on where the company needs to go.

"It's not one man's job. It's for the team to do," he said. "I believe we have more assets than people generally give us credit for. I believe the company has a lot of upside."

Mattes said his leadership style includes being customer-centric. He also said he believes in open communications.

"I'm very direct. It's part of my German DNA," Mattes said. "I like to get things done."

He expects to spend much of the next 90 to 100 days asking questions, traveling and meeting Diebold employees and customers "and gather as many data points as possible."

And then he will work with the management team to articulate the next steps that are needed, he said.

He said he brings to Diebold his 28 years of experience in high-tech industries, including ups and downs and changes.

"I think I've got a little bit of experience on how to handle transformation," he said. "I want to use that experience, and together with the team, try to better our business here at Diebold."

Mattes, who has been living in California, said he anticipates his wife and children will relocate soon to Northeast Ohio. He has children ages 2, 5, 6, 16 and 20.

"For me, it's important to be with my family," he said. Mattes said he and his wife are avid skiers and just introduced their children to the sport last year.

Mattes said he started his career selling Apple computers.

"I like gadgets," he said. His latest acquisition is a new BlackBerry smartphone.

Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com.

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