Daniel Lebeau, Vice President IT of GlaxoSmithKline
After earning a doctorate in physics, Daniel Lebeau started climbing the career ladder at Euratom before being appointed IT manager for Kraft Foods’ Belgian plants in 1991. He went on to become Vice President Management and Information Systems of GSK Biologicals in 2000. Between 2001 and 2009, virtually quadrupling its revenue, GSK Bio slashed about one hundred applications, reduced the number of operating systems, rolled out SAP across the board and cut its IT costs down to 5,000 euro per employee and per annum. His leitmotivs? Extreme decomplexification (less is more); far-reaching integration, as the interface is the cancer of IT; optimisation of assets (run IT as a factory); and quality at all costs. He claims to be very sensitive to long-term recurrent costs and prefers ‘a short project that is delayed rather than a long project that is on time’.
Daniel believes in the need to generate a maximum impact and to deliver fast, as speed creates trust and trust creates speed. ‘IT has two faces, just like the moon: process management and corporate data’, adds the IT boss. He wants to turn his department into a «small McKinsey or Accenture», with a budget corresponding to 1.5% of sales, «which is very low in the pharmaceutical sector.» Half of his 110 employees have on average 5 years of experience in SAP. GSK Bio is tentatively embracing cloud computing, deploying 4 applications for the time being. Why? To continue cutting costs and to follow the consumerization trend, the aim being to use the application that offers the best user experience. In 2008, this civil engineer from Louvain-la-Neuve, father of 3 children, was named one of the world’s top 50 CIOs by the magazine InformationWeek.