It's been a couple of months since Alireza Dorfard took over his role as Head of Data Services at Deutsche Börse. What has happened since January? Has everything gone smoothly? We checked in with Alireza Dorfard.
How did you experience your first 100 days at Deutsche Börse?
Honestly, the start was positively overwhelming. Of course, it is always a mixed feeling to start a new job – even without a pandemic. I experience a collegial atmosphere and great professionalism and dedication demonstrated by my team every day. I see my team driving change and unlocking our growth potential while facing the pressure from markets, competitors and regulators. This team’s work to commercialize Deutsche Börse’s data assets essentially fuels the capital market industry and seeing my team’s relationships with our diverse clientele, from hedge funds, asset managers, sell-side investment banks to trading venues, really inspires me.
What are your plans going forward?
We are currently shaping our path for the coming years. As my team is at the forefront every day, it was important to me that every employee is part of the discussion to contribute their experience and knowledge. When I started, I shared my view on the critical questions and my vision for our Data Services business with the teams, but I insisted that every employee put themselves in my shoes and take the opportunity to look at our business as if it were their first curious days in this company. And I received feedback about the changes that the team would want for themselves as individuals, as well as ideas and suggestions with respect to our organization, our products, our processes, our strategy and our customers. And I can already see that our ambition to see the data business prosper is based on the teams’ many new creative ideas and on the considered risks that we would jointly like to take.
I also value being able to shape the way our business operates by collaborating more closely with the other segments of Deutsche Börse. The data business is so intertwined with Eurex, Xetra, Clearstream, as well as EEX and 360T so that it is essential to me that my team’s data commercialization and market data analytics capabilities are adapted to and aligned with the needs of our internal partners. I am very glad about the positive dialogue with the respective leadership teams to strengthen our cooperation going forward.
With your team working from home for several weeks now, can you share your tips and insights on leading a team remotely?
My team is located in seven cities spread over three time zones and I learned quite fast that, even before the pandemic, working remotely is an integral part of the internal organization of Data Services. But nevertheless, most of the team is in Eschborn and when I first started with Deutsche Börse Group, I did not expect to be working remotely after only 2 months.
My leadership style is very much based on an understanding of the needs of my employees. Of course, this is more difficult now that I have limited visibility during conference calls as I cannot see everybody’s facial expressions or their body language. I am glad that I had the chance at the beginning, when we were in Eschborn, to meet my teams personally and build relationships to develop mutual trust.
This helps because now, when I have the gut feeling that someone has reservations, I can just call them and openly ask questions and listen to potential concerns. Additionally, I regularly check in with everyone so the colleagues can share success stories or express when they are facing any difficulties. Only if we are transparent, specifically in these extraordinary times where face-to-face communication is partially lacking, can we maintain our joint business momentum.