Interview with Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, Chair-Elect, PMI Board of Directors



Interviewed by Ipek Sahra Özgüler, PMP

International Correspondent for PM World Journal

Istanbul, Turkey



Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, MBA, PMP is currently a Director and Vice Chair of the 2015 PMI Board of Directors. He is also the Director of Program Management Office at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines. Previously he worked as Head of Transversal Portfolio Management at BNP Paribas Fortis, where he developed and implemented of a company-wide project selection and prioritization process for a portfolio of 150. He was also responsible of monitoring the execution of the roadmap providing quarterly updates to the bank’s executive committee.

Prior to that, Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez was the head of Post-Merger Integration at Fortis Bank, leading what was the largest takeover in the financial service history: the acquisition of ABN AMRO. He also worked for 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior manager, becoming the global lead practitioner for project management.

Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez is a professor at the prestigious executive education school Duke CE, and other leading business schools such as Instituto de Empresa, Solvay and Vlerick. He has delivered executive programs to leaders of more than 30 multinationals on how to improve their strategy execution and project management capabilities. He is also a regular keynote speaker at international events, where he speaks on the strategic value of project management. Recently he participated in the leading Strategy Conference in the Middle East together with Bob Kaplan, founder of the Balanced Scorecard. He recently achieved one of his dreams of speaking at a TEDx talk.

The author of the book The Focused Organization, Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez has been featured in several magazines, including Strategy Business Review, Singapore Management Institute, Project Management Journal®, PM Network® and The Economist. He is also the author of the white paper “Boosting Business Performance through Programme and Project Management”, which was written after he conducted one of the first global project management maturity surveys. Mr. Nieto-Rodriguez is the founder of one of the largest LinkedIn group on Strategy Execution (StrateXecution), which has more than 5,000 experts worldwide.

Born in Madrid, Spain, he undertook undergraduate studies in Germany, Mexico, Italy and the United States. He has a university degree in economics from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, and an MBA from London Business School. He is currently studying to obtain his PhD in strategy implementation. He is fluent in Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Italian and German.


Ipek Sahra Özgüler (Özgüler):   What are some of the biggest risks and challeges facing program managers?

Nieto-Rodriguez:    The major challenge is to overcome the lack of understanding about the value of program management by the top executive team. As a program manager or head of a PMO, it is important to quickly show the added value of our work — that we are in control, understand the priorities of the organization, and are ready to take a leading role. The other obstacle with which I’m often confronted is that some CEOs consider project management as a competency that every executive should develop on top of their functional competencies. That would mean that the value we add as program managers professionals is diluted with the perception that everyone could play that role. The last challenge I would like to highlight is the fact that with the current economic environment, we are being asked to deliver more with less resources and shrinking budgets. In addition, I noticed that after at least five years of non-stop change, people are getting tired of it, which creates even bigger resistance to the changes we try to introduce with the projects we lead.

Özgüler:       How do you think new global trends will affect the project management profession?


To read entire interview (click here)