Take the COO challenge

In the P&U sector, an outstanding COO can make a significant difference to a company’s ability to successfully navigate challenging times. Our global experience of supporting COOs has helped us identify the three core actions being taken by the world’s leading P&U COOs as they respond to the sector’s rapid changes:

Core action 1: Broaden your view of the world

Leading COOs are changing their perspective. Gone are the days when the operational leaders of P&U could look just to the inner workings of their organization – now they must broaden their outlook and develop an external focus. The huge and rapid changes taking place in the P&U sector  – including increasing regulations, the push for renewables, aging infrastructure and affordability pressures – mean COOs must now be acutely aware of the outside factors impacting their business and understand how these can best be addressed.

Outstanding COOs draw on their knowledge of these factors to make key decisions regarding their companies’ strategies to address sector changes. They also forge strong links with their compliance and legal teams, as well as those who lead on forecasting, simulation and modeling.

“To realize the peculiarities of it, you need to deeply understand the key issues of the industry and the piece of the value chain you’re operating in,” explains Luca Alippi, E.ON Energia’s General Manager. “We operate in a liberalized market, for example, but it is still highly regulated in many aspects: opportunities and challenges result, therefore, from both the market and the regulations.”

Core action 2: Be the “conscience” of the boardroom

More than any of their C-suite colleagues, COOs bring a broad overview of the business and a deeper understanding of how potential decisions could strengthen – or threaten – a utility’s ability to successfully adapt to changes.

This allows COOs a rare opportunity to better define their role during strategic planning discussions, using their insights and deep knowledge of external factors to act as a kind of “conscience” for the boardroom, ensuring decisions are responsible and well-grounded. Making the most of this opportunity will require highlevel skills and experience in formulating strategy, mapping key objectives, resources, initiatives and milestones, as well as financial savvy.

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