Insights of Nick Jue, CEO of ING during the Leadership Panel

“We want to stay an elephant, but we want to be as flexible as a greyhound.” (Nick Jue, CEO ING)

On Wednesday the 7th of December, Nick Jue, CEO of ING Netherlands, visited our faculty to give a presentation on the reorganization of ING for the leadership panel. This event was organized by the EBF Speakers Committee.

The event started off with an introducing word of the moderator, Tijmen Oudshoorn. Nick Jue was asked several questions, but the main question everyone wanted to have answered, was how he became the CEO of ING Netherlands. “Planning to be a CEO is undoable. There’s a piece of luck, I was in the right place at the right time.” Due to the right friends and connections, he was asked to work for ING. Eventually, he was recommended to take the place as CEO of ING Netherlands. According to Jue, in the end, the most important is “doing something you really like, then you probably will become good at it. Do not only choose for career making.”

The main theme of Mr. Jue’s presentation was the transformation of ING. “ING is seen as an elephant: it’s slow, fat and not flexible, but unique. We want to stay an elephant, but become as flexible as a greyhound.” Jue wants to add this element of flexibility into ING, because the world is changing rapidly. Due to the introduction of mobile banking, there was an exponential growth of the number of customer contracts. Since the online world is becoming more important, people became more digital, and their behaviour and way of interaction changed. “The last great experience at one company, is the standard for the next company.” For ING, it is important to empower people in order to stay a step ahead in life and business.

ING focused on three elements for the transformation of ING to become a more agile company.
Firstlythe company went from being a single channel company to an omni-channel company. This means that the focus of the company is now on the customer-experience, but also on of communicating of the customer.
Secondly, inspired by Spotify, ING changed its organisational structure and adopted the agile model, which focuses more on the service for customers. The model consists of a new way of working in ‘squads’ and ‘chapters’. Squads are multidisciplinary self-steering teams with one product owner. Between squads there are different chapters, fields of work, including one ‘chapter lead’. Chapters and squads combined are called a tribeThe tribe is a collection of squads, including a tribe lead and an agile coach. ING is becoming more agile by focusing on flexibility and collaboration, and adapting to a variety of needs to prepare for the future.
Finally, the corporate culture of ING changed to what the company calls the ‘orange code’. This new culture consists of three main guidelines. “Take it on, make it happen; help others to be successfully and; always stay a step ahead.” ING today consists of more flexible and smaller teams to improve agility. Employees are not trying to solve problems for others, but to help others solving their own problems.

Jue ended with mentioning that, if a company needs to be reorganized to prepare for the future, just like ING, that is what needs to be leaded. He recommends that, as a leader, it is important to try to be a couple of years ahead, have a clear vision and always stay curious.

Maaike Broeksma & Niels van Lohuizen