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18 CEOs Reflect on 2021- 2022

Insight from CEOs at Leading LSPs

CEOs’ feedback on how to get back to business


Throughout the worst health and economic crises in modern history, we have been sharing aggregate feedback from multiple constituents, including 193 CEOs from CSA Research global rankings. Midway through the pandemic, CSA Research asked members of our LSP Leadership Councils for the fourth time to share what they’re thinking about their next steps in business.

We recently checked back in with them for an update and what their plans are for 2022. Their thoughts are below.

Note: We listed the CEO statements by company, in the order of ranking from our report, “2021 Rankings of Largest LSPs in the World.”

 

Ian El-Mokadem CEO of RWS Group

The past 12 months have been one of the most exciting years in our long history. After acquiring SDL in November 2020, our priority over the past year has been to effectively integrate both companies. A tough task during a pandemic. Despite government lockdowns, and being forced to work from home, everyone has worked tirelessly to progress this complex project – whilst continuing to deliver a first-class service to our customers. 

Thanks to their efforts we posted record results for the year ended 30 September 2021. I’m particularly proud of our Life Sciences team who worked closely with the pharmaceutical community on aspects of vaccine development. Their dedication was reflected in an 8% revenue growth for the vertical.

As we all know the pandemic has supercharged digital adoption, changed online habits, and pushed audiences to explore emerging and different content formats. Having completed six months as CEO, it’s clear to me that the combination of our people, technology, and services puts us in a strong position to continue helping our clients to respond to these new demands and reach their customers on any channel, in any language, in 2022 and beyond.

 

 

  January 2022


 

John Fennelly, President and CEO of Lionbridge

For the past twenty years, we’ve had a relatively stable environment of low but steady economic growth and job creation. The pandemic is creating volatility that we’ve forgotten about, but on balance isn’t unexpected. If you accept that there is no normal state, it is much easier to make your organization resilient and adaptive.

We’ve also recognized that the pandemic has blurred the already fuzzy line between work and home life. Creating enough space for people to confidently manage work while balancing their unique circumstances at home has been very important to us and drives many decisions. We have trusted our employees from Day 1 of the pandemic; in my view, it was the only approach for us to take and it has benefitted all of us. 

As we navigate these ongoing challenges, there has been one constant in our many successes: collaboration. Doing business during a pandemic has required deeper collaboration between our diverse teams, customers, and community. 

If history is a guide, times of upheaval lead to disruption and incredible innovation. We have increased our investments in R&D and, despite the challenges we all face, today we’re excited about what lies ahead.

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Scott Klein, President and CEO of LanguageLine Solutions 

All of us are yearning for something that looks like stability. Even those who have accepted they would never get their old lives back have hoped for a “new normal.”

As leaders, it is time to come to terms with the world’s predictable unpredictability. Thanks to globalization and our growing interconnectedness, the pattern as we go forward will not be the familiar shape of the pre-COVID years, but the disruption and bewilderment of the pandemic era. The “Next Normal” is already here and if we can be assured of anything, it’s that its complexion will change repeatedly. “Leadership” and “adaptability” are now synonymous.

Above the fog of the pandemic is a shining sun that can make the clouds part, but only if we seize the opportunities before us. One-size-fits-all management styles should be things of the past. In 2022, successful business leaders must address the disturbance from the past two years through human-centric strategies. Success lies in improving employee-employer relationships and embracing innovative management styles. This will impact our ability to retain and recruit top talent. The same individualized approach should be applied to client communication that addresses their unique needs. 

Businesses that take care of their people and partners will be those that succeed in future versions of the “Next Normal.”   

  

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Mark Evenepoel, President and CEO of Amplexor 

Dealing with continuous pandemic waves and integration projects, 2021 was almost indistinguishable from 2020. However, the outlook and underlying fundamentals seem notably different.

We experienced strong demand for many of our service offerings which put pressure on our ability to increase delivery capacity, recruit, and source teams. Changes to the labor market became more pronounced. The ability to work from home has moved fully from nice to have perk to prerequisite.

We needed to reinvent our value proposition as an employer and partner. This was easier said than done in an industry that is in the midst of a fundamental transformation. In our case it meant reassessing, strengthening, and continuously improving our HR organization and related processes. Equally importantly, it required the executive team to refocus on the corporate strategy and vision, enabling them to inspire and communicate with our internal and external stakeholders throughout this trying time. Our mission, of course, remains to help our customers reach and engage with their target audiences effectively regardless of locale or language.

Going forward reaching our own target markets and personas in an ever-digitalizing context with ongoing restricted physical contact, keeps our sales and marketing organization on their toes. We nevertheless are optimistic that we are incorporating some human warmth in these exchanges and hope more in-person interactions will get back into play over the course of this new year. We really miss meeting our peers and customers in person.

Our master plan continues to include further M&A activity, looking for further diversification and growth in terms of scope and size. We’ve actively been involved in many M&A projects and hope to announce some closed deals soon.

We look forward to continuously transforming ourselves and adapting to change while keeping our team aligned and focused on our true mission.

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement


 

Richard Glasson, CEO of Hogarth Worldwide 

2021 was a record year for Hogarth in several ways; we recorded our highest ever revenue, profit, and new business. We beat all targets we set for ourselves over the past 12 months. And we made great progress in other ways as we significantly reduced our gender pay gap, hired new talents, and our Mexico office got awarded as the best place to work for LGBTQ+ employees.

It’s tempting to say this was all achieved ‘despite COVID’ – but actually, I don’t think that the pandemic was the most important element of our operating context in the year. COVID continues to take a terrible toll around the world and on a human level, it clearly remains a real concern. We were delighted to be part of WPP’s $5 vaccine initiative enabling people to buy vaccines for people in need to help the global gap, and as a community, we need to continue to look after each other. From a business standpoint, however, it’s those communication trends that COVID has accelerated which we have had to really respond to, and which have stimulated the development of our business.

We have always operated as a single, globally-connected team – bringing the best talent together for our clients. We have always embraced technology to drive quality, speed to market, and effectiveness, and thought about our clients’ content needs across all platforms and audiences as being part of an integrated whole. As we, hopefully, move into a post-pandemic world we are convinced that the adoption of ways of working that have been accelerated by COVID are here to stay, and will continue to drive our growth into the future. 

  January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

 
Smith Yewell, CEO of Welocalize 

As we begin year 3 of Covid, I find myself wondering why more of the world has not transitioned from managing C19 as endemic rather than pandemic?  Given it is not going away, what are the lasting changes we need to make at home, at work, and in our lifestyles – these are the questions we are asking across Welocalize.  How do we connect, both digitally and physically, and what is the mix we can find satisfying while also remaining safe and in the midst of it all, we now have the Metaverse; so perhaps the ultimate Covid variant is a digital version?  I, like many, find myself longing for the simpler things in life; so perhaps when the clouds of the pandemic clear, we find that was the silver lining all along.

 

 

  

January 2022

Read July 2021 Statement

Read January 2021 Statement

Read 2020 Statement 

Lucie Séguin, CEO of Translation Bureau of Canada 

From the unique viewpoint of the Government of Canada’s Translation Bureau as a cost-recovery organization with a public service mission, CEO Lucie Séguin surveys the lay of the land and explores the tiny tweaks and major changes that could help optimize workflows, toolkits, and human resources while guaranteeing customer satisfaction. Seeking a clear roadmap for the translation services of the future, the Translation Bureau has spent the last few years modernizing its technology infrastructure and drawing up a strategy that would let it make the best of the opportunities opened up by AI and CAT tools. As the Translation Bureau of Canada goes back to business, it has a unique opportunity to look at how technology is transforming our ways of work and what is keeping it from being truly efficient, while looking at the world that awaits us post-pandemic: wellness-first workplaces, digitally-enabled productivity gains, data-driven language businesses, resilience-focused growth strategies, and a supply chain that is as complex as ever. The Translation Bureau has consulted with industry leaders on the topic of language quality and is suggesting a new way of using technology that optimizes data management and makes the most of the skills languages professionals bring into the picture, for a quality-assured output that will feed quality back into the continuum.  

  

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement


 

Joshua Gould, CEO of thebigword Group

2021 was an interesting year for thebigword. As we continued through the pandemic, we started to see long-term trends emerging that we have aligned with our business strategy going forward. With an inflation rate of over 5% in Europe and the US last year, buyers now have a better understanding that rates for Interpretation and Translation services must be increased in order to protect the supply chain and to ensure a more sustainable service. 2021 proved to be the beginning of the end for the pricing model which merged costs of translation technology development with per word rates which decline each year despite overall inflation. I think we all realized that this way of working not only hides the true value we bring to our clients as an industry but is unsustainable. We have also seen a large-scale shift to remote interpreting services, with only 30% of the volume predicted to return to face-to-face interpretation. While this was driven by COVID-19 we believe that this shift will become permanent to offset the shortage of interpreters that has taken place across most of Europe and the US. Language access within Government and the Healthcare industry will continue to be an area of focus for thebigword, as we realise the importance of providing quality mission-critical services through our WordSynk platform. At thebigword we look forward to what the next year will bring our employees, linguists, clients, and the industry as a whole.

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Juan Julián León, Co-Founder and CEO of SeproTec

As the pandemic continues hitting the world, we maintain a very flexible approach to the way we run the business.  Though we already had a hybrid on-site/remote working scenario in place for most of the workforce, the sixth wave of COVID-19 has demanded a step back into full-time remote work for some team members.

2020 was a great learning experience in terms of remote environments. And 2021 firmly established this environment and made it more efficient. So, we are happy to see that our operations are properly working, the service we provide to our customers around the world has not been affected, as well as the business per se.  The recipe in our case is being agile in adapting to changing situations, always backed up by our amazing team.   Keeping the company culture, employee loyalty, and team spirit strong is a must, especially in these remote scenarios. 

Despite the fact that this late new wave might have undermined some sectors, I am quite optimistic that we are at the beginning of the end of the pandemic and convinced that we will face a new era that will combine the best from the pre-pandemic, such as teamwork, fellowship, or the comradery that being in the same room provides along with the learnings we found from remote working in terms of efficiency, flexibility, and team adaptation to new environments. 

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Konstantin Ioseliani, President and CEO of Janus Worldwide

2021 was a year to reconsider, realign, and reevaluate. The pandemic has affected business and trade worldwide, forcing business leaders to shift from their traditional approach and instead adapt to the unparalleled change brought on by the health crisis. The new challenges have tempered us, made us stronger, and even helped us to consolidate further.

 Thanks to teamwork, flexibility, and commitment, Janus achieved steady growth in revenue and project value throughout the year. We took on new interesting and large-scale projects, establishing partnerships with new clients and expanding cooperation with our loyal customers. I’m delighted to note that, despite the restrictions and ongoing tensions in the world, Janus has continued along a path of sustainable development. We have great plans for 2022. In the coming year, our strategy will focus on expanding our core competencies, resources, and assets in the following areas: IT, technical sciences, life sciences, marketing and law, games, and multimedia. We also plan to focus on areas such as machine translation, the development of ERP/GTP2, and adding new services to our portfolio, among other things. It’s not enough to simply keep up the pace: we need to strive to be better than we were yesterday.            

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Michael Zhu, Chairman of Lan-Bridge

 Change is the only constant in life, so Lan-bridge did in 2021. 

Our daily working style has changed. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we have adopted a more flexible working style, shifting smoothly between remote working, virtual meetings, and physical workplaces. Thanks to our OA system and Lan-CAT-MT system, which enable us to provide our services without any disruption.

Our client demographics have also changed. We have seen more clients from the medical, gaming, and multimedia sectors. Roughly, there has been a 100% increase in these areas whereas there has been a 20% decrease in the civil engineering sector. Our service content changed. Staffing long-term on-site language services has increased by 65% compared to interpretation services which decreased by 25%.

All in all, our business rebounded and we have experienced an increase of 20% in revenue in the last year. Stepping into 2022, we are more confident that we will continue to adapt better and create more value for our clients.                   

 

January 2022

Read  July 2021 statement

Read  January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Véronique Özkaya, CEO of Argos Multilingual

Focus on talent, business building, and innovation for our clients best summarise 2021 for us. New services added to our portfolio and M&A activity have brought us great client relationships and above all, exceptional talent. Expectations for business growth remain strong in 2022: we see continued investments in digital transformation and innovation driving a positive economic outlook in the sectors we specialize in.  

 However, we need to watch inflation across markets as a warning sign that there will probably be a movement towards an increase in the cost of services if we want to keep the right talent in place.

 The top four areas where I believe CEOs need to focus in the current environment are Leading talent, Setting strategy, and championing Culture and Vision. Attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market is at the top of our list of strategic priorities. It is about infusing purpose, about showing empathy - especially in current times, and about enabling personal growth. I also see the role of the CEO evolving more and more towards being the Chief Culture Officer. It is about creating the right conditions for our people to unleash their superpowers!  

  

January 2022


 

Ludmila Golovine, President and  CEO of MasterWord Services

The storm of the pandemic shook our industry and disrupted the way we had been doing things. However, a crisis is often a two-way street; where there is calamity there is opportunity. We saw physical borders closing but a global, virtual community connecting at an accelerated rate. The way we worked, the way we delivered vital services to those who needed them most, and the way we organized our efforts all had to change. Rather than fighting to hold on to the old, MasterWord’s focus shifted to the new. Our team is largely working remotely, and our company culture has embraced the new technology and processes that keep us connected and even more efficient – we had a record year in 2021. The cloud of the pandemic still looms and disruptions to daily life have become the new norm as we enter 2022. Our industry was affected by the Great Resignation, our teams of independent linguists continue to face legislative challenges where the traditional freelance model is under threat, and while the cloud of the pandemic remains, the path forward is clear. As a team, we are stronger, and as an industry, we are more united in facing shared challenges together. 

January 2022


Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement

Read 2020 statement


 

Michel Lopez, Founder and CEO of e2f 

As human beings, we like to take control of our lives, plan our next trip, avoid dangerous situations, pursue our dreams. As business leaders, we like to feel in control, mitigate the risks, execute a plan, and make our numbers, but sometimes, a flight gets delayed, a project gets postponed, a hurricane destroys our home, a client cancels our largest contract, a pandemic devastates entire economies.

As human beings and as business leaders, we tend to underestimate luck, to discard black swan events. We tend to ignore good luck and take credit, but when bad luck strikes, we lament our fate. However, if we keep our eyes open and remain positive, the delayed flight leads to a wonderful encounter at the airport bar, the project postponement allows us to be better prepared, the house we rebuild after the hurricane is much nicer than the old one, our new contract generates more profit than the canceled one, the pandemic enables us to turn our company virtual and eliminate many superfluous costs.

At e2f, we’re all exhausted by the successive waves, but although most of us were directly affected by covid, we’ve shown great resilience and managed to ride the waves with a combination of good luck, agility, and determination.  

 January 2022

Read 2020 statement

 


 

Charles Lesperance, President and CEO of OXO Innovation

With our team growing and everyone working remotely, it’s increasingly important to be well organized in terms of HR. We hired an HR consultant to review our pay structures and benefits, and we developed an intranet to support internal communications. 

It’s also been more important to keep employees engaged and make sure they feel supported in this stressful and isolating time. We set up internal committees for employees to make recommendations on themes like health and wellness, and learning and development, and we increased PTO.

The pandemic has also affected our M&A activities. At the end of 2019, OXO acquired another company in Montreal, Communications Transcript. It’s been challenging to get to know Transcript’s colleagues since we had very few opportunities to meet. 

Restrictions on travel and in-person gatherings have hampered our ability to network, attend events, or pursue other M&A opportunities. It’s just not the same over Zoom. My partner Fabiano Cid and I really miss attending conferences and networking with industry colleagues or potential clients. 

That said, it hasn’t been all bad. Because of telework, companies have gone more digital and are generating more content for us to translate. We’re lucky to have a diverse client base, so while we saw business plummet from clients in tourism, for example, demand skyrocketed in other sectors like e-learning. In fact, overall, our revenues increased during the pandemic. I am very optimistic about 2022 and the following years, the industry is still growing at a fast pace, and there are many opportunities out there!

January 2022

 

Pedro Luis Diez OrzasCEO of Linguaserve

It is no longer a matter of managing a crisis, rather it is about pushing forward into a new stage. 2021 was a very good year for us, in which we experienced significant growth. Although COVID-19, with its new variants, continues to be a major factor affecting the momentum of this new stage. This is a long-distance race, in which digital transformation must be accompanied by organizational, training and communication-related measures for the workforce, clients, and collaborators. Until it has been eradicated, we must manage this situation the best that we are able, with policies prepared at all levels to address the many different situations–which now appear to be cyclical–as they arise.

This pandemic has and continues to have repercussions on several levels: the first–and undoubtedly the most important–is health-related; another is psychological, with both individual and collective fatigue increasing after two years; yet another is socio-economic, as it affects different sectors of the economy unequally; and, finally, one related to business, as an outbreak in a given company can pose a significant problem for a certain period of time, putting all activity at risk. Having varied mechanisms and policies that can be activated quickly remains, therefore, essential.

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement


 

Karl EastwoodCEO of Global Lingo

2021 felt like a bounce-back year if solely based on economic performance. So, from a business perspective, we were very happy with what we achieved. However, the impact the pandemic is having on people and the disruption to working practices meant that a return to ‘normality’ never seemed to arrive.

Being a global business made dealing with the pandemic even more of a challenge. The constantly altering regional and global landscape saw us having to adjust our return to office strategy on a location-by-location basis rather than through a global policy. Additionally, we were acutely aware of the pressure that working from home 100% of the time had on some team members. Therefore, ensuring our offices could be reopened safely was of paramount importance.

Despite these challenges, our worldwide teams continued to give their utmost and adhered to our core values: Be Collaborative, Be Dynamic, Be Progressive, Be Curious and Be Visionary. This ensured we maintained our excellent customer service standards, helped in no small part by our internal technologies that allowed our team to always remain connected.

Given the continuing growth in the industry and our ever-evolving solutions – I am looking forward to an exciting 2022.

 

 

  January 2022


 

Anette Vandeloo, Co-Founder and COO of Powerling

Given that our headquarters are in Lille, in the very north of France, we’re perfectly capable of doing business under a cloudy sky! 

At Powerling, we entered 2021 with more ease than the previous year. Digital technology quickly took on a crucial role in our projects. The majority of communication between our employees and with our customers is now online, erasing borders between countries as a result. 

The pandemic has certainly impacted our core business, with digital projects on the rise and an unprecedented focus on content. Multilingual SEO and content creation were the two most requested areas of expertise compared to the previous year. Interpreting, meanwhile, saw a dip in activity as a result of health restrictions. But convenient, remote solutions won over many of our clients, who pressed on with their events in a digital format.

Our teams were already very agile. Now, they can also work from home if needed, with the necessary technical support. Our clients, partners, and suppliers have also got used to a more remote approach, helping their business progress in these difficult times. 

In 2021, the two main watchwords at Powerling were AGILITY and DIGITAL. For 2022, we hope to continue to develop our digital services, but also look forward to meeting our employees and customers face-to-face, with no dark clouds overhead!

January 2022

Read July 2021 statement

Read January 2021 statement