Battle of Ecosystems

As EY’s CEO in Switzerland, Marcel Stalder has to execute on his strategy to successfully navigate the digital transformation. His recipe: building the best ecosystem.

Does the operating model have to follow a company’s strategy?
Absolutely. The operating model needs to implement and translate the strategy into successful business.

What’s the biggest challenge companies such as EY face?
The most important aspect is a cultural one. You need to transform the company but need to bring your people with you. You need to make sure that your people participate in the transformation. A strategy without anchoring in the culture is just paper, it’s not execution.

How much do you have to align your management behind a plan? How much disagreement is possible?
I think it’s important to allow for an open culture. You need to have a discussion – top-to-bottom and vice versa. Change raises a whole lot of questions, and if questions are not answered, then you don’t have your employees with their hearts behind this change.

What do you do with people who don’t agree with your vision at all?
As much as companies invest in onboarding people, they should also invest in offboarding people. To leave a company should no longer be a taboo or a problem. People who leave your company might become your customers, or fathers and mothers of kids who join your company.

Do we need new incentives beyond money to motivate employees?
Yes. Money is very short-term. What you need is purpose. And the more you deal with the younger generation, the more purpose becomes important.

Marcel Stalder
... is the CEO of EY in Switzerland, as well as the Market’s leader for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He studied business economics at the University of Economics in Luzern and joined EY in 1996.

Might executives have to run multiple operating models within one company?
The challenge we have at EY is that in the old days, we delivered products. Today’s issues for companies are much more complex. We talk about a transformation. And you only can support your clients by building multidisciplinary teams. You need to bring people with a strategy background together with people with IT or process knowledge, and people who come from a culture background, in order to make that transformation happen.

What’s the future regarding operating models?
The future is ecosystems. In the past, EY delivered services to clients and competed against PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture. The future will be ecosystems competing against ecosystems. We have seen this in the airline industry: In the old days, it was Swiss Air against Lufthansa. Today, it’s Star Alliance against One World. The same is happening at the moment in our industry. EY has a global contract with Microsoft, we have a global contract with SAP. Companies like EY are teaming up with technology companies to provide holistic solutions to our clients.

Marcel Stalder was host at the EY "Women in Industries"-Event on November 15 in Zurich:


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