• Interview with Gabriele Riedmann

  • Group Director Business Innovation, Metro AG

    Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?

    I lead the Business Innovation division at METRO AG and I am responsible for the initiation and realization of innovation initiatives within METRO GROUP. Concerning my academic background, I hold a Master's degree in electrical engineering with a focus on information technology. Throughout my professional career I have held various management positions in different countries, such as Indonesia, Mexico, Switzerland and Germany. Prior to joining METRO GROUP, I was Senior Vice President for the Energy division of Deutsche Telekom. 

    Why is diversity important for you?

    I am a strong supporter of gender-diversity. I believe that for a sustainable success of any business it is important to leverage the whole talent pool. There is a great number of very talented women out there who can make great contributions to the overall success and they should get all the support they need to advance in their career. Throughout my career I have promoted gender-diversity in many different ways. I was awarded one of the TOP 25 most influential female engineers in Germany and am since involved in supporting the Association of German Female Engineers in their diversity activities. I am also Chair of the Board at the University of Applied Sciences Ruhr West, which focuses on math’s, engineering, science and business administration, and which also encourages young female talents to take on careers in technical domains.

    What is your perspective on LEAD and what advice would you have for us?

    For me, LEAD can play a very important role when it comes to influencing the development of the retail and consumer goods sector. This sector needs more women in management positions to realistically reflect the current consumer base. Retailers and consumer goods companies have to address their customer needs, and knowing that women are very often those making the purchasing decision, makes it even more important that management decisions reflect an understanding of this customer group.

    How important is diversity within your organization?

    My guiding principle has always been “diversity drives innovation” and obviously this applies even more so to the Business Innovation team. Out-of-the-box thinking is a key factor for innovative and creative decision processes and this is clearly one of the biggest strengths of diverse working teams. In fact, a few weeks ago, we made a little survey in our department to see how diverse we really are. Our team has quite a balanced quota of men and women, our team members represent 9 different nationalities and have very diverse academic backgrounds and past working experiences.

    March, 2016