Heads Up with Klaus Schlichtherle, CEO, Infinigate

Since February 2018, Klaus Schlichtherle has served as the CEO of the Infinigate Group, steering the company to substantial gains in both profit and market share under his strategic leadership. With over three decades of experience in the IT channel, Klaus has overseen hyper-growth businesses throughout EMEA. His extensive leadership background includes key positions in distribution and IT vendor organizations such as Computer 2000, Tech Data, Nortel, and Logitech. Notably, he successfully spearheaded the transformation of the cloud infrastructure and services business at Logitech.

What does good leadership mean to you?

For me, successful leadership means achieving positive changes in the organisation by jointly developing higher, long-term goals. Starting with the management team, I focus on further development by actively supporting the initiative of all employees. I strive to achieve this primarily through inspiration, support for the desired direction, open communication, and positive feedback. At the same time, I try to set a good example by explicitly communicating Infinigate’s clear vision and acting accordingly. Of course, this also includes taking responsibility for decisions and engaging in appropriate self-reflection.

What is the best example you have seen of Transformational Leadership?

I think Ginni Rometty did a fantastic job at IBM. There, too, the aim was to transform a traditional hardware and services company into a cloud and cognitive technology company. Like IBM at the time, Infinigate will increasingly focus on its promising cloud and platform offerings. And like IBM back then, we have already made several strategic acquisitions and are planning more. We invest in our people and continuously develop our corporate culture, thereby prioritising customer satisfaction above all else. As was the case at IBM, Infinigate’s clear strategic focus, its adaptation to changing markets, and the commitment of our employees will lead our company to a successful future.

How did you get to where you are today? Did you take a strategic, planned approach to your career or has it been more opportunistic?

I have always had a clear idea of what I could achieve and pursued this goal by making carefully considered decisions. If you want to call that a “strategic approach”, then yes, that’s what I had. When making decisions, I always kept in mind that I wanted to be part of a new, promising industry at the forefront of technology. That was also one of my reasons for choosing a degree programme that combines technology and business. Cybersecurity is an area of constant high growth in which you can develop a company from “small” to “big”. So, I’ve always pursued my vision, and I’m sure I’ve also had a bit of luck along the way.

What changes to your industry do you anticipate over the next two years and are you excited by this?

I expect two key developments to characterise the value-add distribution sector. Firstly, global consolidation in the market will continue to intensify. Secondly, digitalisation will continue to increase. At Infinigate, we plan to be at the forefront of the movement in both areas, therefore I look forward to this with great anticipation.

What type of people do you like to work with and what makes them good leaders?

For me, good leaders are people who retain excellent employees and stick with them through difficult situations. I personally value people who are open-minded, respectful, friendly, with a good sense of humour, flexible, demanding, and hard-working.

What fascinates you about your job?

Making cyberspace a safer place is an attractive purpose to me. Of course, entrepreneurial freedom also appeals to me, but that would be the case in any other job with responsibility, too. And I like the people who work in our field. I like the mix of technology and business which is also at the forefront of technology.

What is the best way to switch off in your free time?

I can switch off best when I’m cooking or in nature. Both get me into a flow state and give me new strength for professional challenges.

AI and digital landscapes are ever-evolving. What skills or areas are you currently focusing on to ensure your organisation remains at the forefront?

Artificial intelligence is already part of the digital Infinigate platform on “Cloud Blue”, which we are currently rolling out country by country in Europe. We are the undisputed leader in our industry in this area.


Interviewer: Claudia Hansen, Managing Partner, H.I.E.C

Please feel free to contact Claudia Hansen directly via email chansen@hiec.com should you have any questions or would like to discuss the above or anything else further.