Siemens Executive Ross Thompson Guest Lectures with AIB
This year, AIB’s international business and B2B marketing specialist subjects will receive a practical injection from the latest addition to our team of Industry Guest Lecturers: Ross Thompson. Ross is a member of Siemens’ Pacific Executive Leadership team as Regional General Manager, and also heads up the company’s recently established Distributed Energy Systems business.
Siemens operates in 200 countries around the world, with a history that stretches back 170 years and a workforce that’s 370,000 employees strong. The company is one of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, and is a leading supplier of systems for power generation, transmission and medical diagnosis.
Ross originally hails from South Africa, and it was there that he commenced his studies in Business. He travelled to Queensland to complete a degree in International Business and returned to Africa after graduation. There, he helped set up the African subsidiary of an American mining company with operations in Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique.
When the global financial crisis hit, Ross sold his shares in the entity and moved to Australia with his wife, this time with the intent to stay. Upon his return, Ross was approached by Swiss engineering firm Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) who he joined and was instrumental in building up a number of high performing teams. He continued his studies in 2014 and graduated with his MBA from AIB in 2015, which he pursued in part because his wife was involved in a number of startups which the pair intended to take to market. As well as that knowledge transfer, Ross says that the MBA advanced the knowledge he’d acquired through his previous degree studies, and contemporised his practical understanding of key business units.
In 2017, Ross joined Siemens to take up the role he holds today. As Regional General Manager, Ross covers general management responsibilities across all of Siemens’ divisions. He’s also responsible for building up their Distributed Energy Systems business which he describes as, “A disruptive business that provides customised solutions to address the rapidly changing energy sector dynamic that we are currently seeing in Australia and around the world.” That business is still in its infancy, so Ross’ role is to treat it as a startup with the view to build it up across the Pacific.
Ross also has strong links into Siemens’ Next47 organisation, which is a billion Euro venture capital fund headquartered in Munich. Ross explains, “We invest in startups that add value to our existing divisions and core areas of strategic focus which include electrification, automation and digitalisation.”
Because of the nature of his responsibilities with Siemens, it comes as no surprise that entrepreneurship has long been a passion of Ross’. He’s worked with a number of startups throughout his career and today mentors entrepreneurs through the Queensland Government’s Mentoring for Growth Initiative.
Ross is a Trustee for the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, in addition to being a member of various groups including the Australia Papua New Guinea Chamber of Commerce and the Australia Germany Chamber of Commerce.
Working for a global company, Ross has embraced both the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. He nods to the advantages from a human resources perspective, where globalisation allows for the co-operation of different ideas from dynamic cultures and backgrounds.
Siemens’ global status also means that the company is better able to bring to market the technologies developed by agile Australian startups. Their global supply chain means that they’re hedged against country-specific disruptions. “We continue to look to optimise our value chains on a regular basis based on changes in cultural norms and practices in the regions that we operate in,” says Ross.
It’s clear that Ross is a valuable addition to the AIB line up, and we look forward to sharing more of his insights as an Industry Guest Lecturer.