The profile of the CEO of e-commerce Flores Online, Lucas Buffo, is a practical example of what human resources consultants describe as a technology professional with the potential to reach the helm of a company. As CTO of the company, Buffo moved through different areas and led teams. Before reaching the position, he learned to establish strategies and, at the beginning of his professional life, he began to study finance.
Graduated in Computer Science, he began his career at Bradesco as a clerk and became a legal account manager. Then he went to a flower e-commerce as a systems analyst. Created an order management system for the company and worked to increase the conversion rate, that is, make customers who accessed the site to buy. As he saw that technology could help in other sectors, such as finance, he developed projects together with other areas.
“The chief technology officer works throughout the company to make technology a tool that makes a positive impact for everyone. You have to understand all the processes to be able to come up with solutions to problems, to be more productive and less costly. This gives him a global vision of the company”, Buffo.
On the other hand, he highlights that some skills inherent to the CTO also help the CEO: logical reasoning and interest in new things. “A good CEO creates a base of trustworthy people who make the company run smoothly on a day-to-day basis. This gives you time to look outside, understand market trends, and see where new developments can fit to improve processes and guide the company’s direction. This opening to the new is something latent for technology professionals.”
Norton Lara, from Spencer Stuart consultancy, agrees that executives “tuned in” and open to news have stood out. “These people are gaining ground in companies, but not necessarily because they are CTOs, but because they have a vision of technology as a transformative tool”, he ponders.
This professional who sees the possibilities of technology, adds Lara, may be someone who has made a career in other areas, such as commercial or financial, and ends up reaching the position of CTO or CDO (digital director) due to his ability to transform the company from technology.
This is the case of the new president of XP. Despite having led the company’s digital transformation, Thiago Maffra has a degree in Administration and has developed most of his career in the financial market. The executive, however, worked on building “robots” that, based on parameters, make investment decisions. For eight years, he lived surrounded by mathematicians and developers who helped him understand the technological possibilities.
As with XP, professionals from other companies, coming from different areas, have taken the path from CTO to CEO. For Antonio Mendonça, from Korn Ferry consultancy, this is precisely because the CTO chair has “widened” and now the professional needs to have other skills. “In terms of visibility, the CTO position has never been better. But it all depends on the person’s profile, on being able to continue growing and being considered someone with CEO potential.”
CEO of Original Hub (a technology company belonging to Banco Original), Alexandre Conceição highlights the need for the CTO to expand its business vision, and not just focus on the technical area. Graduated in Data Processing, he has an MBA in finance and business and, for almost 20 years, he led teams in the technology area at Banco do Brasil. Before becoming CEO of Original Hub, he was CTO of BB Tecnologia e Serviços.
“I think that (getting to CEO) happens when the IT professional seeks training and preparation. When I worked in New York, my goal was to return to Brazil with academic training from a renowned institution. Then I spent two years doing training focused on strategy. If IT professionals seek more alignment with the business, their presence in presidencies will be more frequent.”