Chief Executive Officer
Sandton, South Africa
As the chief executive officer of Mota-Engil, Gilberto Rodrigues has extensive experience in working with African companies. He has already achieved great growth and success, and has a proven track record of success in the tasks that he has undertaken. At the start of his career, Mr. Rodrigues noted that Africa was technologically behind the rest of the world. Now, companies such as Mota-Engil have begun to take notice of the continuing changes within the continent and are investing heavily in its developing nations. This being the case, professionals with established histories working with African companies are in high demand, and Mr. Rodrigues eagerly puts his years of experience to work for Mota-Engil.
To achieve consistent success in an ever-changing market, Mr. Rodrigues adopts a policy of continuous evolution to meet consumer needs. Never one to rest upon his laurels, Mr. Rodrigues reinvents his business on a regular basis, bringing new concepts and ideas to life. Using this technique, he hopes to double the business of Mota-Engil by 2017 and achieve a greater market share, becoming a world-recognized brand.
Throughout his career, Mr. Rodrigues has found that the most difficult aspect of business is combating people’s preconceived notions about his company. Success, he feels, is achieved when he is able to break through these perceptions with proven results and eventually establish himself to the point where the company’s reputation is sterling and unquestioned by clients.
Looking ahead, Mr. Rodrigues’ long-term plans see him becoming a mentor to help the next generation of professionals. He would also like to pass on his values and shape others to be difference makers. “I have 15,300 people working for me,” says Mr. Rodrigues, “and I have changed each of their lives, as well as the lives of their families and their communities.” He hopes that other young professionals will take on leadership roles and change their communities for the better.
Conversation with Gilberto Rodrigues
Worldwide Publishing: On what topic(s) do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Gilberto Rodrigues: African culture and African businesses. I am also an expert in infrastructures.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
I have more experience doing business in Africa. I have already achieved great growth and success, and I possess the focus, drive, network and knowledge to succeed in any task.
What motivates you?
I am motivated to always be the best. I accomplish this by constantly reinventing the business to achieve organizational excellence and bring new concepts and ideas to life. It is my hope to be recognized as an excellent company and organization that maintains a strong brand in the market it operates.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
You must be focus-driven and extremely results-oriented.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
My short-term goal is to be a well-known and world-recognized brand. I also hope to double our sales by 2017.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
The most significant issue is combating people’s perceptions that have been formed without correct information. If you cannot fix those perceptions, your business is in jeopardy.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession?
I always wanted to do this, and although my family has always been in construction, I was the first person to achieve a career of this nature.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
The most rewarding aspect of my work is having the ability to transform the lives of others. I have 15,300 people working for me, and I have changed each of their lives, as well as the lives of their families and their communities.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
The biggest obstacle is knowing that you have the right people by your side. Another challenge is earning the clients’ respect so that no one can dispute your company’s capabilities.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
The least favorite aspect of my work is when I am forced to let someone go for not meeting my expectations. My favorite aspect would be when I win a contract.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
When I started, technology in Europe was very vibrant and strong, and Africa was one of the last places one would expect to find a technology company. Since that time, many opportunities have come to the continent, increasing its share of the industry.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
I hope to leverage Africa’s growth to provide huge opportunities.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field?
We have a long way to go to reach and achieve our goals, In 20 years, I will be 63 and mature enough to mentor someone to be greater than they currently are.