Interview with our CEOs
In the second half of 2021, An Steegen and Charles Beauduin came on board as the new co-CEOs of Barco. We asked them about their plans and determination to fuel Barco forward.
Both of you have known the Barco organization for quite some time now as members of the Board of Directors. What do you see as the biggest strengths of our company?”
An Steegen: “Let me first say it’s an honor and privilege to be the new CEO of Barco, together with Charles. When I joined Barco as a director in 2017, a couple of things really struck me. Barco has a lot of talented and committed people and our technical expertise in image processing is impressive. Our image processing capabilities have huge potential for the future. In today’s digital world, people want new insights, new experiences and connectedness. Barco has the visualization solutions to bring data alive, create experiences and connect people.”
People want new insights, new experiences and connectedness. Barco has the visualization solutions to bring data alive, create experiences and connect people.An SteegenCEO
Charles Beauduin: “Indeed, everything we do at Barco is related to an overarching trend – that of images: never before have images played such a fundamental role in how people live, work and play. That new reality offers huge opportunities for Barco. Moreover, Barco is active in healthy markets with sizeable growth opportunities. That, too, is a key strength.”
Look-back to a challenging 2021
Still, 2021 has not been the easiest year to build upon these strengths, I guess. How do you look back on this year?
An Steegen: “Just like in 2020, the first priority for Barco has been the safety of our people and their families. The covid-19 crisis has left a permanent mark on all of us, requiring a great deal of mental strength, resilience and flexibility. We are proud of the commitment and engagement of every Barco employee and are doing our very best to deal with the impact of the pandemic. When looking at our business, we can’t look away from the fact that the pandemic kept dampening our results for the second year in row. While there were meaningful signs of recovery, the strong order intake was not fully reflected in sales due to supply bottlenecks."
Supply chain shortages have been a common challenge for many businesses over the past year. What do you consider Barco’s biggest challenges going forward?
Charles Beauduin: “The covid-19 crisis has revealed a number of weaknesses, which we plan to turn into opportunities for growth and efficiency gains in the future. The supply disruptions that An mentioned point to weaknesses in our value chain. A stronger upstream value chain position will limit our dependency and allow for more competitive differentiation. That’s why we want to strengthen and leverage our supply and manufacturing capabilities.”
Already in October 2021 you took the bold step to reorganize the company. Was that a way to speed up decision-making?
Charles Beauduin: “Barco had a very complex organization structure with many competing centers of power, leading to slow decision-making and a lack of end-to-end accountability. That is why we decided to regroup sales, marketing, product management and R&D within our business units. That will boost efficiency and entrepreneurial dynamics: shorter reporting lines, faster decision-making and enhanced customer and market responsiveness.”
By simplifying our organization, we will shorten reporting lines, speed up decision-making and enhance customer and market responsiveness.Charles BeauduinCEO
An, you mentioned the enormous potential of Barco’s imaging capabilities. Do you, as a technology expert, have plans to further build on these?
An Steegen: “Image processing is the common thread in everything we do at Barco, so the business opportunities are enormous. Yet, we need more groundbreaking, value-added solutions that ultimately set us apart. New star products. Developing that technology requires experts, which we definitely have, as well as the courage to make choices, cut knots and let go of products if they prove disappointing. We must do all we can to support our technology experts in making the right technology choices and speeding up innovation.”
We need more groundbreaking, value-added solutions that ultimately set us apart. New star products.An SteegenCEO
Charles, what about Barco’s plans for China?
Charles Beauduin: “We absolutely have to expand our local presence there. The country shows great growth potential in markets like entertainment and healthcare, where Barco is active.”
2022 and beyond
What are your priorities and expectations for the coming years?
An Steegen: “2022 will obviously be a year of transition. The new organizational structure is a great foundation to execute on our objectives. Our ultimate ambition is to build a differentiating product portfolio and win good market share in all our markets and regions.”
Charles Beauduin: “Speed will be crucial going forward, in all domains: we have to accelerate internationalization, operations and supply chain. And that speed will be just as important in innovation, to turn ideas into sellable solutions. James Bond would say ‘there is no time to die’.”
Speed will be crucial going forward, in all domains.Charles BeauduinCEO
2021 was also the year of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, putting more emphasis on making sustainability actionable and delivering impact. Do you have plans to accelerate efforts in that field too?
An Steegen: “I’ve always been passionate about sustainable technology. I’ve seen that Barco has been working hard in this field, in the past few years, and I’m impressed with the progress. Now it’s time to strengthen the impact of our sustainability approach, fostering engagement and ensuring it gets embedded into everything we do – in every division, every business unit, every department and every region. When prioritizing the domains in which we want to make an impact, we decided to focus on ‘Planet’ initiatives first: Barco is working on further lowering its carbon footprint and that of its customers. Next is sustainable employability, with a focus on diversity and inclusion.”
Building a promising future
On a final note: there’s confidence that Barco will emerge stronger from the covid 19 crisis?
Charles Beauduin: “Barco has been a technology leader for so many decades and, like I said, there’s huge potential to retain that leadership – or rather strengthen it. I’m proud to take the steering wheel and build a promising future for Barco, together with An and the entire team.”
An Steegen: “I couldn’t agree more. I’m just as excited to shape Barco’s future as Charles is, together with all our people, customers, partners and shareholders. Let me end by thanking all those stakeholders for their trust and confidence in our company. The entire Barco team will work hard in 2022 and beyond to create sustainable value for all of you.”