BWX CEO talks digital, diversity and short-termism

By Nick Hindhaugh

Published on 17-02-2019

Light bulb and three yellow pegs

Six Degrees Executive Founding Director Nick Hindhaugh recently spoke with BWX CEO Myles Anceschi about short-termism, Diversity & Inclusion, BWX’s approach to digital transformation, and why future CEOs need a “messy” CV.

Myles, what’s your view of the economic and political environment as we move into Q2 of 2019?

[Myles] I believe there is currently a lack of sensible work being done on medium and long-term horizons, both politically and economically. Not only in Australia but globally as well, the focus is on virtue signalling and actions based on short-term wins or reacting to immediate opportunity. This has the knock-on effect of distorting consumer and public market confidence – and those reactions in sentiment are resulting in rapid swings (sometimes monthly) in growth well above or well below the mid-term consumer trend.   

Short-term thinking can also do a lot of damage to an organisation’s talent acquisition. How are you bringing long-term planning into your talent strategy?   

[Myles] Creating a diverse and inclusive organisation is a long-term build for us. Frankly, we’re yet to set specific targets because we’ve been lucky to have a business that has grown organically with good gender and ethnic diversity. Our challenge over the next three years will be to embed targets, and ensure they’re a KPI of leadership and a commitment to our people.

How is your organisation approaching digital transformation?

[Myles] I split this into two buckets – an internal and external response. Internally, our short-term activity is focused on underlying process and communication mapping to feed into new digital platform opportunities. The medium-term focus is to “wash out” embedded behaviours and actions that will be barriers to our ongoing adoption targets, which are based on efficiencies and benefits we can gain from becoming a more digitally based business.

Externally, we’re focusing on our customers and consumers. We are implementing major systems upgrades as well as digital platform harmonisation with the aim of understanding, integrating with and servicing our customers better – as well as gathering insights from our consumer-facing platforms.

Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs?

[Myles] I’d say try to build a “messy” CV, with a focus on breadth of experience. New functions, new channels, new customers and geographies will help round out your broad business experience. Having a broad CV is vital for coping with the many and variable challenges facing a CEO today. Step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to grow. There is, and always will be, a place for specialist career paths … but I think these opportunities are narrowing over the medium term.


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