Things are going more smoothly

On 27 March 2023, Marketing&Media magazine featured an interview with Judit Kübler-Andrási, CEO of CETIN Hungary. Marketing&Media magazine has been around for 25 years and brings the most important news from the world of marketing, media and advertising to its readers.

Judit Kübler-Andrási came back from Germany to be head of CETIN Hungary, which has an annual net sale close to 50 billion HUF. She speaks so naturally about her recently acquired CEO position as if it was the most natural thing in the world for women to lead large technology companies. In addition to the strengths of women, she also spoke to Marketing&Media magazine about the relationship between CETIN and Yettel, the differences between corporate cultures and the plans of the young company.  

- We know that CETIN is behind the operation of Yettel, but it is not so clear in what form. What does CETIN do and why does it live in symbiosis with Yettel? 

- The history of CETIN dates back to almost a decade ago, when the Czech PPF investor group, which is present in 25 countries around the world, bought the Czech and Slovak telecommunications company O2 and then separated the commercial part from the infrastructure operation in the Czech Republic in 2015. The former remained O2, and the latter was named CETIN. It was a revolutionary step that the infrastructure was organized into a separate unit because this opened up new opportunities for the newly created company: as a result of the independence, CETIN can now serve other companies and users in addition to the well-known telecommunication companies, and it can also attract new investors more easily. After that, PPF bought Telenor in Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro (the latter was sold in the meantime), and the separation of commercial and infrastructural businesses was carried out in these countries as well. This took place two and a half years ago when CETIN Hungary Zrt. was also established. 

- We met last summer in Germany, where you worked for 12 years in various positions at Deutsche Telekom (DT), and now you have been in the CEO seat of CETIN in Törökbálint for more than half a year. After all these years abroad, why did you decide to continue at home?  

- I left Hungary fourteen years ago, also because of a job opportunity. First, I worked as a consultant in Vienna, then I was called to Deutsche Telekom in Bonn, where I held various strategic positions over the years and was allowed to lead a startup owned by DT. I have a degree in economics, but I find this technological sphere very motivating, I like working with engineers. I have always considered it important to understand how different processes work, and what are the new trends that affect the user experience. I like the type of work in which both the technology development and the commercial side are present. To answer your question: a headhunting company contacted me with the offer, and since this is the field I particularly like, I found the opportunity attractive. It also seemed promising that the owner wanted to develop CETIN into a larger company, rather than continuing as a simple technology company. 

- There aren't many female leaders in companies of similar size, and female CEOs are not typical in the technology sector. Why do you think you were chosen for this typically masculine job? 

- It's not an everyday situation, but my professional experience, my broad perspective, and the environment I've worked in so far were convincing for the management. They saw the opportunity in me and voted their trust in me, so today I am responsible for CETIN Hungary, and I am also a member of the CETIN Group's management together with the CEOs of the other countries. 

- I guess a technology company like this is mostly made up of men. How did they accept a fragile, blonde woman as a leader? How serious do they take you?  

- Interesting point, I'll ask them later. (Laughs.) Since many people came over from Telenor, where a Norwegian corporate culture prevailed, the colleagues are very accepting. The management circle welcomed me extremely positively, we easily found common ground. 

- Is the company culture at home – even if it contains traces of Norwegian elements – very different from the German one? 

- DT is a huge company, which, like all telecommunications companies, is in a constant state of transformation: it is constantly evolving  following business trends and user needs, it must always renew itself, and apply new solutions and technologies. It is a much more difficult task to carry out these transformations in a mammoth company, it is significantly more stressful than in a smaller company. That is why I see that things go faster and more smoothly here. It's easier to give new impulses, and after a few months of preparatory work, you can already start a change process, while in a giant organization, this takes much longer.  

- You are important participants in the telecommunications market, but the name CETIN does not sound familiar. Is marketing not important to you? 

- In the beginning, two and a half years ago, everyone was busy with the formation, the development of the processes, and the distribution of roles, and last year the priority was the involvement of the external, Singaporean investor. We have now reached the point where we want to start communicating more actively. Although we are a B2B brand, we must beknown both by market participants and by our potential future employees. We need to communicate who we are, what kind of company culture we have, what we focus on and where we want to grow. 

- What are your ideas on how to make the CETIN brand more well-known? 

- We would like to be actively present at professional forums, events, and conferences, and appear in the press more often. We already have cooperation agreements with universities where we hold lectures. We try to familiarize the students with our brand and involve them in certain projects since there is a good chance that soon some of them will be our colleagues.  

- What are your plans for the near future? 

- The development of CETIN's more extensive and better service, and network modernization. We have more and more base stations with 5G technology, improve bandwidth and user experience, and add new elements to our service portfolio. As a telecommunications infrastructure provider, we can build and operate an infrastructure independent of mobile service providers. This could be a factory, industrial park, hotel, office building or even a residential park being built as part of a major investment. In our experience, more than half of the businesses in the relevant industries are already interested in such unique solutions, which is why education is important, and we take an active role in this process as well.