Leaseurope is to host a series of online interviews featuring three CEOs, two COOs and one head of sustainability to discuss digital transformation, sustainability and green technology during three one-hour sessions via Zoom in October. 

Leaseurope Industry Leaders Live, hosted by the trade body representing the European leasing and automotive rental industry, will highlight C-suite executives from Nordea Finance, Simply Finance, Raiffeisen Leasing, DLL, ALD Automotive and Leasys/FCA Bank.

I spoke to Anne Valette, the director general of Leaseurope (pictured above), about what attendees can expect from the free-to-view interviews. 

Q: What’s prompted Leaseurope to organise these live chats with industry leaders? 

A: A key function of Leaseurope is to provide a platform for the industry to discuss and share ideas and experiences. Without the opportunity to meet our peers from across Europe in person, this series of interviews allows us to hear what is on the minds of some of the sector’s most influential leaders and have a debate on important topics of relevance today. 

Based on discussions within our network, digitalisation, sustainability and carbon-neutral fleets were identified as topics that are definitely a top priority for industry practitioners right now. Therefore, every week we will interview two senior leaders at the top of their field on one of these topics. We have some really great speakers lined up, so I am very much looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

Q: The first talk (on 7 October) focuses on how engaged the sector is with the digital revolution. As a trade body, what are members telling you about being digitally ready? 

A: This topic has been coming up for many years and is still incredibly relevant today. Across the sector, there seems to be a wide mix of companies who have embraced and pushed forward with digitalisation and others who are looking at how to make digitalisation work for them in a way that provides real value. Our speakers are Peter Hupfeld, CEO of Nordea Finance, and Ylva Oertengren, COO at Simply Finance, both of whom have plenty to say on the topic. Peter has invested a large amount of time and effort into updating expansive legacy systems within Nordea Finance and Ylva has been on the ground from the beginning in designing and building the digital infrastructure for a new challenger bank, so I think these two perspectives should make for a fascinating discussion.

Q: The move to greener assets also gets a look in (on 14 October). What do you feel are the main drivers pushing for sustainability in the sector? 

A: In recent years, sustainability has been rapidly moving from a ‘buzzword’ into a concrete and key element of many companies’ strategies, including within leasing and automotive rental. The climate crisis has created a moral imperative for many companies, with investors, customers, and regulators all having rapidly evolving expectations and many ambitious and significant legislation coming out as part of the European Green Deal for example.

Marije Rhebergen, head of sustainability at DLL, and Beat Mungenast, COO at Raiffeisen Leasing, will be speaking on this topic. DLL are an industry leader and an early mover when it comes to sustainability, and are particularly devoted to circular economy principles, while Raiffeisen Leasing has a large and diverse portfolio of green assets covering equipment, electric cars, and big-ticket, so I expect it to be a very thought-provoking interview.

Q: Tackling the carbon footprint of automotive fleets (21 October) is the last topic on the agenda for the month. Is government/EU support where it should be?

A: Carbon neutral fleets is a huge topic right now, with pressure from regulators, customers and the media to electrify vehicles on a really grand scale and ambitious timeline. Automotive lessors and rental firms are also really committed to this objective, although significant challenges like lagging infrastructure and supply chain issues often hamper progress and can sometimes receive less attention from regulators than required.

Tim Albertsen, CEO of ALD Automotive, and Giacomo Carelli, chairman of Leasys and CEO at FCA Bank, will be discussing this, including their internal strategies, how they view and address the various challenges and what they see for the future of a sector undergoing such massive change.

The sessions are

October 7: Light speed ahead or still loading: digitalisation within asset finance and rental

October 14: Opportunities and challenges for leasing and renting greener assets

October 21: The path to CO2 neutrality for automotive fleets

Registration is free via the Leaseurope website here.

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