Get to Know: Alexey Lebedev, Vice President – Pacific, AVEVA

Get to Know: Alexey Lebedev, Vice President – Pacific, AVEVA

Alexey Lebedev, Vice President – Pacific, AVEVA, was sold on tech seeing early IBM PCs in a supermarket. Here’s what he’s bought into since.

Alexey Lebedev, Vice President – Pacific, AVEVA

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

Mobilising myself and my family to move From Russia to Australia in just two weeks.  In early 2022, AVEVA’s leadership team talked to me about potential openings in APAC and I elected to take up a senior position, as Vice President, Pacific. I’d been with the company for 12 years at that stage and had been looking after Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

My last role was very sales driven but, in this region, it’s a broader remit. AVEVA’s Australian business has almost all the functions you can imagine – sales, marketing, finance, legal, R and D – and the size of my team has doubled, from 100 to 200 people. Relocating at speed and hitting the ground running certainly feels like a memorable feat and I’m glad I was able to pull it off.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

I never had any doubts that technology was the pathway for me. When I was a kid in the early nineties, I remember going to some kind of supermarket that was selling early IBM PCs – those big old ones that took 5 ¼ inch floppy disks. I was impressed by the concept that machines could do things to help people and came to realise technology would change the world. After I finished my electronics engineering degree, I went to work for a small company that assembled computers then a few years later got an opening at Microsoft. My experience there provided 300% confirmation that this really was it.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

I like to play coach, so I need a team. Once I have a good one in place, I rely on the people in it to take care of the areas they’re responsible for. Micromanagement is anathema to me – why hire expensive resources and then do that to them? If you have high calibre professionals working for you, they should be trusted and supported.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

In the industrial sector where AVEVA plays, it’s about harnessing technology to enable organizations to optimize their operations, respond to evolving ESG regulations and to help companies plan and realise their net zero futures. The amount of data companies have at their disposal is growing exponentially and the tools we used a few years ago don’t work anymore. There’s strong interest in virtual models that provide stakeholder groups with the comprehensive information they need to make complex decisions at speed and to design and operate with sustainability and circularity in mind.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

Because I have a family – a wife and two sons aged 12 and two – work life balance is a priority. I don’t read emails over the weekend and I don’t usually bring work home. Going for long walks is the best way for me to reduce my stress levels. I clock up between five and 10 kilometres, whenever I can manage it.  Brisbane, where I’m based, has some lovely spots to explore. When we lived in Europe, I did a lot of Alpine skiing with my older son who’s been hitting the slopes since he was three and is now at professional level. It’s a great way to spend time together and we’re hoping to explore the local ski fields as soon as we can.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

I would change nothing. I am where I am because of everything that’s happened in my life to date. The events of the past have propelled me to a place I’m very happy to be!

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

We’re now seeing investment in enhanced solutions that help empower transformation and enhance sustainability.  The end goal is clear visualisation of the data collected from entire fleets of assets or operations. Ultimately, cloud technology is a real enabler of this enhanced visibility and it’s enjoying rapid uptake as a result.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC?

Every country is so different.  Australia, for example, is such a mature market. Companies have invested heavily in smart, connected devices and they don’t need to be sold on the benefits of automation – they’ve already embraced it.

In India, by contrast, businesses are still adjusting to the adoption of digital tools to drive transformation and able to take over some functions previously performed by people. It’s a journey and one that markets will make at their own pace. Skills shortages are a perennial issue too – it’s a challenge for vendors to ensure they have the programmers, engineers and analytics people they need to develop solutions and support customers.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

In the past, sales was my primary focus but moving to Australia has seen me become heavily involved in change management; working with other members of the leadership team to simplify the way we operate. We want AVEVA to become easier to do business with, by moving all our technologies and software to a single platform. Over the next 12 months, I’ll be working with our team to support that shift and communicate the benefits to customers.

What advice would you offer to someone aspiring to obtain a C level position in your industry?

Think of your customers first and get to grips with the market they operate in – that’s how you build confidence and trust.

Be prepared to keep learning, constantly. No other industry evolves as quickly as IT and if you’re not willing to keep up, you won’t be able to step up.

Understanding how to empower your team is also vital.

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