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Responsible Leadership: An interview with Copec’s Chief Corporate Development Officer

Leonardo Ljubetic speaks with John Byrne on how a new type of leader is needed to face the climate change challenges.

The third in the series, John Byrne interviews Leonardo Ljubetic, Chief Corporate Development Officer for Copec.

John: Today I'm joined by Leonardo Ljubetic, Chief Corporate Development Officer for Copec. Leonardo is responsible for Copec´s corporate strategy and sustainable growth; including innovation, M&A, new businesses and corporate venturing.

Copec is one of the leading energy companies in Central and South America with presence in six countries in Latam and in the USA. In recent years, Copec has incorporated electromobility and renewable energies, mainly in distributed generation and energy storage. Copec is in a transformation process, taking concrete actions to accelerate the energy transition.

Leonardo, tell me, what does responsible leadership mean to you and your organization?

Leonardo: Well, first of all, thank you very much for inviting me to this conversation and let me start by giving you some context with basic ideas regarding responsibility. Today, societies are demanding greater responsibility and transparency from organizations, and second, sustainability is not just about tackling environmental risks.

Sustainability is about resilience, proactivity, and how to navigate in complexity and uncertainty to face the challenges.

At the same time, in my opinion, this pandemic unveiled how vulnerable we are, and opened many questions regarding how prepared we are as organizations, how prepared we are as a society, to build a secure future. These are the kind of thoughts responsible leaders must have on their minds. At the same time, organizations have the opportunity and the obligation to create value with positive outcomes, regarding social and environmental issues. So, we need to address with decision, the most pressing problems, creating new waves of growth. Leaders have a duty to work with their teams, to work with their people, reskilling them, to boost flexibility and adaptability for the times to come.

So, new leadership demands the need for the ability to develop mission and purpose. An ability to go deeper into technology, innovation; to understand the new trends and sources, and most importantly, the skill to listen and incorporate a broader stakeholder list. But getting into their shoes, to consider even the smallest community; to the individuals and their humanity. This is part of the new era.

Copec is an energy company, so let's talk a little about energy. The predictions are that global energy demand will double and the world urgently needs to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time find reliable, clean new sources of energy. Climate change mitigation will fundamentally, at the same time, change how the energy will be supplied and be used. This represents a huge challenge for organizations in the sector, but at the same time represents huge opportunities for all of them that are able to crack the code, to find the solutions, to be able to transform this challenge.

This is an opportunity for a completely different kind of leadership to take place than the one we are used to in the past. The need to act now, and with decision; to have that sense of urgency because the planet is threatened by climate change, and that's our reality.

John: Thank you very much, I fully agree. Clearly, there is a new skill set, mindset of the future leaders being built today. And the pace is accelerating every day, tell us more on your thoughts.

Leonardo: You mention something really important, many companies, such as Copec, are in a transformation process, from marketing and distributing fossil fuels, into incorporate electromobility, into incorporate new clean sources of energy. We're not just working in bringing new ideas, but also in creating and developing new business models, in forming an ecosystem for innovation. Transformation will be part of the scenario in the future, it's not a one-shot transformation.

Transformation is not about speed, it's about speed and pace. And this is something really important because we have to reshape our organizations. We need to find new models; the corporate model will not fulfil the goal as it did fulfil in the past.

John: Thank you very much Leonardo. I really appreciate you sharing your views with us today.

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