Chief Digital Officer (CDO)
“Professionally I’m an engineer,” says Momchil Kovachev, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at Inter Cars. “I graduated from the German Faculty at the Technical University at Sofia, Bulgaria, which means that I have studied according to both the Bulgarian and the German education system. For the engineering track I have a diploma from the Kahrlsruher Institut fur Technologie and for the MBA, from the TU Braunschweig. Currently I am completing my executive MBA at the Sheffield International College. The selection of this profession is a long-held dream. My father worked in the automotive industry in Bulgaria, and he's also an engineer, and naturally I decided to follow his path. My professional career in the automotive industry started at the Mercedes-Benz authorised wholesaler for Bulgaria where I worked for four years. I was part of the After-sales team, finally serving as a Spare parts manager. During this time I met the future CEO of Inter Cars in Bulgaria. Together with him and two more colleagues, we laid the foundation of the business in the country. Today the entity in Bulgaria is a market leader, operating 30 distribution points, a central warehouse serving the region and implementing the newest projects and solutions in the company group. This is how my journey within Inter Cars began. Since then I have changed a few positions inside the Bulgarian entity as well as a few international positions before reaching the position that I currently have as Chief Digital Officer.”
Kovachev has seen the automotive industry change dramatically over the years. “The centre of our industry is naturally the vehicle and we connect it with mobility. As such, the vehicle has changed dramatically since I have been in the profession. Today many are describing it like a PC on wheels. Still, I believe that the purpose of the vehicle in terms of mobility is preserved, however all the enhancements that we see in the engine, in the transmission, in the comfort or in the infotainment and computer aided systems, where computing power is required are really tremendous. In addition, the distribution model of spare parts in the business has also changed significantly over the years, which has been heavily influenced by the internet and by the possibilities that are coming with modern commerce. Customer expectations also pushed the players to adopt an omni-channel approach utilizing digital tools to serve their clients.”
When it comes to the essential traits of an effective leader, Kovachev believes that “the characteristics of a good leader and executing good leadership style have not changed in the current situation that we are in; the fundamentals are still there. However, what I believe has been emphasized due to the isolation that we are forced into and using the communication channels, one has to be very aware about the communication that one is applying and the way it is distributed ensuring that leaders are in constant contact with the team and team members.”
Reflecting on his own leadership style, Kovachev believes his previous experience has shaped him to be “quite strict and organised, as well as trying to be prepared for everything that comes up. Operating in 18 markets, Inter Cars is a big international enterprise. The company culture has existed since its founder established Inter Cars in Poland. We can see a very strong entrepreneurship and competitive mindset, with everyone having a passion for the automotive industry. I believe every individual, whether they are a leader or a follower, has an impact on the organisation.”
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