New CEO at GFT: Marika Lulay places focus on international expansion

New CEO at GFT:
Marika Lulay places focus on international expansion

London / Stuttgart – Marika Lulay has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GFT Technologies SE and assumed responsibility for the company with effect from the end of the Annual General Meeting on 31 May 2017. Lulay succeeds Ulrich Dietz, who becomes Chairman of the Administrative Board, after 30 years at the helm of the IT company which he formed in 1987. The key focus of the company’s growth strategy lies in international expansion. The company will continue to concentrate on the financial services industry, which will remain central to its corporate strategy. A Group Executive Board will also be introduced across all countries, in order to align management structures to the international focus of the company. A major priority for the new CEO will be to position GFT as a leading technology partner to the financial services industry. This will involve a heightened focus on the emerging fields of blockchain applications, cloud projects, artificial intelligence and connected manufacturing (Industry 4.0).

Focus on international growth strategy

GFT plans to raise group revenue to €800 million by 2020. To achieve this goal, Marika Lulay intends to strengthen international collaboration between all operating units within the company. As part of an initiative called ‘Roadmap 2020’, the company will generate both organic and new business growth. There will be targeted acquisitions, especially in North and South America, in order to expand the company’s presence in these regions and to bolster innovation. Drawing on its nearshore delivery model, GFT is consciously building on its combination of inexpensive development centres and highly skilled workers to provide customers with bespoke consulting services. GFT’s aim is to offer world-class technology and made-to-measure solutions to clients throughout the world. Marika Lulay said: “The success of recent years confirms we’re pursuing the right strategy – not only to establish GFT’s position as a leading innovative industry specialist but also to leverage this as a means to drive international growth in all markets.”


Group Executive Board to accelerate internationalisation

A Group Executive Board has been integrated into the GFT management structure to bolster the company’s international presence and strengthen collaboration. The new board comprises Marika Lulay as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Jochen Ruetz (Chief Financial Officer), Alfio Puglisi (Managing Director, GFT Italy) and Carlos Eres (Managing Director, GFT Spain). The aim of the new board is to broaden the scope of corporate management and to establish a more international outlook. In their responsibilities for the four divisions of the company – Strategy & Markets (Marika Lulay), Global Business Development (Alfio Puglisi), Global Delivery & Innovation (Carlos Eres) and Corporate Services (Dr Jochen Ruetz) – the remit of the members of the Group Executive Board is to push ahead with the global business strategy. Lulay continues “I have every confidence that introducing this transnational management structure allows us to lay a solid foundation for the future success of GFT. Together, we’re a powerful team and complement one another in terms of experience and specialities.”


Focal technologies: blockchain, cloud projects, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0

Under Lulay’s leadership, a variety of new areas will be added to the existing portfolio, underscoring the company’s focus on the fields of blockchain, cloud migration, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0. Blockchain technologies and the applications these open up are a major opportunity for banks to offer customers new and innovative services and pursue new business models. GFT operates a blockchain incubator in the UK for testing a variety of application scenarios, and has already embarked on a collaborative project with the Royal Bank of Scotland. One particular area of focus lies in applications relating to process automation; for example, using a blockchain could potentially make it possible to completely do away with a central clearing house. At the same time, huge volumes of data can be processed securely. Blockchain also makes it possible to record all relevant information; not only does this promise new levels of transparency, it also helps customers, banks and the authorities to monitor complex financial services more accurately.

An inexpensive and efficient way for banks and insurance companies throughout the world to establish futureproof IT landscapes is to migrate their existing IT systems to the cloud. Utilisation of highly scalable cloud infrastructure and the migration of on-premise applications to the cloud has already resulted in a new client, based on a project which GFT has been working on in North America. The plan is to continue pushing this new business model in the future in order to help clients reduce cost and maximise efficiency. As a banking expert, GFT has the know-how it takes to manage and simplify complex migrations of individual IT systems, and has played a pivotal role in successfully modernising the IT landscape of a leading financial institution.

Artificial intelligence is also set to turn banking and insurance on its head over the course of the next decade. In Germany, the robo-advisory industry is currently growing by 20 to 30 million euros each month. The retail banking industry has access to vast amounts of unstructured data (in the form of customer information), which is currently not being used to its full extent. By utilising cognitive banking methods based on self-learning systems, this unstructured data can be processed and organised to generate weighted hypotheses on decision-making to service customers better and grow revenues.

Payment interfaces are also becoming more and more important in the field of connected manufacturing. Industry 4.0 means that all sectors of industry will increasingly offer customer-friendly processing of financial transactions. The potential offered by this market is huge, and GFT will do more to integrate financial transactions into the supply chain of traditional industries in the future. Applying GFT’s innovative financial services experience in this way will strengthen the company’s focus on the manufacturing sector, allowing GFT to access new groups of customers.


Global success based on a common mission

As a technology partner and sector specialist working across the financial services industry, GFT has a deep knowledge and understanding of the IT systems used by its customers, as well as the IT trends these are based on. The specialists that offer consulting services or work in development at GFT always draw on the most efficient methods, the strictest quality standards and the very latest technologies to match our customer’s requirements. A key focus of the company is to ‘think global’ and ‘act local’, and although GFT does not operate on the ground in all countries, the support it provides to its customers is based on transnational structures. The organisation and processes of the company revolve around servicing its customers best and are adapted as required to their individual needs. The most valuable asset of GFT are the skills and experience of its employees, and to ensure GFT’s customers have access to the know-how they require, Lulay plans to intensify the company’s international processes for knowledge management. The company’s career model will also be expanded to offer career development options beyond the borders of individual countries. On this point, Lulay stated “our employees are in direct contact with our customers, and this means they are in an ideal position to make the best possible decisions independently. The world’s leading financial institutions value our way of working and place their utmost trust in our expertise. We never take this for granted and we continue to strive to deliver the best value and service for each and every client.”

The success of recent years confirms we’re pursuing the right strategy – not only to establish GFT’s position as a leading innovative industry specialist but also to leverage this as a means to drive international growth in all markets. Marika Lulay CEO of GFT Technologies SE

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New CEO at GFT: Marika Lulay places focus on international expansion

Portrait Marika Lulay (CEO of GFT)