Interview with Alexander Goodwille: 2 years as CEO of Goodwille

On 1 March 2017, Goodwille announced that Alexander Goodwille, the eldest son of our founder Annika Goodwille, was taking over the family business as CEO of Goodwille. To celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the role as CEO, we decided to catch up with Alexander on how the past two years have been for himself and the business, what he loves about the job, and also peeking a bit into his plans for the future.

Starting off with the very classic question – How does it feel?

It feels really good! We are getting the foundations in place to be able to move to the next stage of our growth and we have some really exciting projects lined up. We know where we’re going and we know we’re heading in the right direction, so it’s a very exciting time!

How have the past 2 years been for Goodwille?

We were all chucked in the deep end a bit with the craziness following the loss of our founder, but I’m happy to see how we reacted and made something good of it! We have come together strongly as a group and we’re working very much together. The team is better than ever, and we have got fantastic strength across the whole company. Where the business was historically centred around the founder, it’s now centred around all its staff members, which is how I think it should be.

We have seen strong growth over the past couple of years, and revenues are higher than ever. We also have the highest number of staff ever, all our departments have had at least one more headcount and we keep hiring more people across both our offices. Team stability and staff retention has also increased over the two past years, which means that we can offer an even better level of service to our clients.

Looking back at your time as CEO of Goodwille, what are you most proud of?

Surviving! Jokes aside – you spend so much time in your workplace so it’s important you get on with the people you work with. At Goodwille we laugh a lot, everyone gets on with everyone and last weekend we went to Dublin together – not on a work trip, but it was a team trip! People like to spend time together, which shows that people like each other. Building that environment and that team spirit, I’m proud of that.

Of course, we always need to keep an eye on the figures as well. Goodwille has experienced strong growth in the past two years, and we continue to grow and hire more people. It’s all heading in the right direction, but to me it’s all about who you’re doing it with.

What have you found most challenging?

I have found it challenging to strike that new balance between being just one on the team and being the person managing the team. Goodwille is a flat organisation, I know everyone feels they can come and speak to me whenever about whatever, but there are certain expectations on you as CEO that ensures you must change your behaviour slightly whether you want to or not. As much as you want to be the person you have always been in the office, you have the eyes on you and have to set example. Adjusting to that has been a big challenge for me personally.

From a company perspective, having lost important key players has of course been challenging. Re-establishing relationships takes time, but we are actively addressing those deficits and trying to build new relationships. You will see Goodwille representatives at almost every event organised by our strategic partners, and we also organise our own events with clients and partners. It’s great to have the whole team involved in building on Goodwille’s relationships!

How have you changed as a leader?

I have always had an idea of the kind of manager I want to be, and I think I’m still true to that idea, but I have grown more confident through experience and seeing that my ideas work and have taken hold. While historically I used to always think that my ideas were the highway, I guess I have become more consensus-driven. The days of authoritarian leaders are gone – “No involvement equals no enthusiasm” right. Everyone in a team needs to be engaged in a vision to drive that vision forward.

Have you put your own touch or influence on the business, and if so – how?

It’s really important to me that we offer our clients a fantastic level of service. We have slightly adjusted the way we work, and we encourage our team to build stronger relationships and friendships with our clients. Tying to that Goodwille is a founder business that used to be quite centric to the founder, I have focused on driving accountability and spreading responsibility across the business as much as possible. Instead of there just being one person standing out, there are now a number of characters that get the chance to stand out. Together we are Goodwille, so that was one change I felt needed to happen.

On the more personal side, I would like to say that I have brought a more fun, ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude to Goodwille. We have a lot of fun together, both at work and outside the office. If you like the people you work with and have fun together, you will also work better together, and by adding an element of fun to work and making sure the team enjoys working with each other, I think we can accomplish more together.

What do you love most about your job?

It’s funny, but it’s probably what my mother used to say – it’s the variety! There is always something different happening; new exciting clients we work with from a variety of different sectors and countries, new sides of myself I explore and new areas where I see the business can develop.

When I stepped up as CEO of Goodwille, I left a job in tech which is something I’m very passionate about and find extremely fascinating. Tech is one of our biggest core sectors, so another thing I love about working at Goodwille is that I get to geek out on the really cool tech companies that want to come to the UK market.

So instead of looking at what’s been, what’s in the pipeline for the future?

We are building our 5-year plan and considering the two past years have seen great growth, planning for the future is really exciting! Team Goodwille has grown rapidly in the past years, so we are making arrangements for continued and future growth. And of course, we are constantly looking to develop our service offering and adding new services to continue providing foreign businesses with the support they need to succeed on the UK market, and strengthening our partner network to provide our clients with a better global reach.

 

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Goodwille Strengthens Its Management

The untimely loss of its founder inevitably presents any company with a challenging period of reflection regarding matters strategic and managerial. Goodwille Ltd has been no exception, but when we wrote to our clients and other friends of the company in July 2016 to impart our sad news, we made it clear that there would be no immediate change in the strategic direction of the company.

With regard to the future management of the business, it was always Annika’s wish that her family continue her work by further developing Goodwille Ltd.

We are therefore pleased to announce that Alexander Goodwille, Annika’s eldest son, who has been providing IT consultancy services to the company for the last two years, will become CEO as of 1st March 2017.

Svend Littauer, who has played a major role in the company over many years, most recently as Annika’s COO, has decided to seek new challenges elsewhere. He has agreed to delay his departure to ensure a smooth transition, while he hands over his day-to-day management responsibilities. Kevin Rutter, who for the last year and a half has been head of Financial Administration, will join the management team as CFO, supporting Alexander in the general management of the company.

Alexander Goodwille, CEO, comments:
“Goodwille has been built on the foundation stone of delivering outstanding service to its clients. I very much look forward to expanding and developing the business, together with Kevin and the rest of the dedicated team at Goodwille. I am very grateful that Svend will be assisting us to ensure a smooth handover of his responsibilities. The company and the family extend their sincere thanks to Svend for his dedicated service to the company over many years.”

Svante Adde, Non-Executive Chairman, comments:
“Annika would have been delighted to see that the family is continuing to build the firm that she had created. Alexander is bringing to Goodwille the complementary skills in IT and support services gained during his 10 years of working in Investment Banking IT.”

Kevin Rutter, CFO, comments:
“This is a great opportunity for me to assist Alexander in consolidating, and building on, the great work done by Annika, Svend and others, in bringing the business to where it is today.”

Svend Littauer, COO, comments:
“I have greatly enjoyed working at Goodwille and helping to build the business over the last 9 years. With a new generation taking over, I am confident that Goodwille has a very bright future.”

The entire team at Goodwille is confident that the company is well positioned to sustain its growth over the foreseeable future. We will continue to build on the great work that Annika did in creating and building this business, while embracing new opportunities for even greater success in the future.