We recently added Felipe Smolka to our leadership team as senior vice president and transformation leader for LeasePlan USA. We had the opportunity to sit down with him to learn more about his vision for What's next and share that with you.

Tell us a little about yourself and what led you to LeasePlan.

I am a technology enthusiast and a problem solver by trade. Going to engineering school in Brazil got me to think through how to put those two together to create novel solutions to old problems. I am blessed to have been involved with high tech companies for my entire professional life, with the last three years spent helping to grow IBM's global connected and intelligent vehicles business. At LeasePlan, we are leading one of the most exciting industry transformations ever witnessed. And I am thrilled to be part of What's next. The LeasePlan transformation journey is one of a kind.

Can you share a little more about your background and experience?

I have been working in the automotive space for a number of years now. Much of that time has been focused on searching for and exploring technologies that yield the potential to create significant and meaningful experiences between drivers and the automotive industry at large. In my last role, I was able to get first-hand experience in an array of new tech and possibilities, as well as new business model frontiers in the connected vehicles domain, which I am very eager to explore at LeasePlan.

How do you feel about moving into the fleet space?

Although it is my first time stepping into the fleet side, I have been following the space closely. I have many friends in the mobility solutions domain. LeasePlan is a respected and well-known brand with a global footprint in fleet and mobility, and I am delighted to be part of the future of this incredible brand. The consumer-vehicle-OEM relationship continues to evolve. The once traditional boundaries in the automotive industry are weakening and gradually disappearing because of the advent of new technology and new consumer expectations. And the players understand the need to be open to fast experimentation cycles. At LeasePlan, we are transforming everyday mobility challenges into practical solutions.

What has excited you the most about LeasePlan since joining?

Isn’t it obvious? The opportunities ahead of us are countless. The hardest thing right now is not finding new projects, but determining the right projects as we narrow down our game plan for the long run. The people here are incredible. Tons of foundational knowledge combined with a healthy appetite for change. My objective initially was to listen and learn as much as I could. But what I found was that people are keen and open to get my thoughts and collaboration right away. So, I did just that. I rolled up my sleeves, and I got into the action. This introductory period confirmed a lot of initial thoughts about the opportunities we have ahead of us to win in this competitive marketplace.

How is LeasePlan emerging as a digital leader in the fleet space?

In the digital transformation era, we are already investing in our digital transformation. This will enable our business to produce sustainable growth while being flexible and scalable. At LeasePlan, we are on the path to be a data-centric business, exploring and experimenting the full spectrum of connected vehicles, so we can unlock powerful insights to support and improve our customers' decision-making processes. We aim to take it to the next level of being a trusted advisor for our clients.

How does LeasePlan's global digital transformation play into your role?

At a local level, we want to intensify our focus on the driver and fleet manager journeys by creatively designing connected strategies that deliver richer experiences and make a positive impact on their daily routines. Our partnership with LeasePlan Digital provides us with a lot of support to help us get there. We are fortunate to be able to take advantage of our global scale, know-how and best practices to leverage game-changing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, modern techniques and new partnerships, to transform how we are offering value to our customers.

What's next for LeasePlan USA?

We've been the top choice in the United States for fleet management for years. That’s What’s Next for us. Being more data-driven is vital for us to succeed. Such discipline gives us the opportunity to derive insights and predictions, which in turn, opens incredible possibilities to deliver value to our customers. Put simply, our vision is for LeasePlan USA to remain obsessed with discovering new ways to provide excellence to our clients while keeping our own values whole. One of our values, “acting with integrity,” is a core one.

How does your role play a part in creating what's next for LeasePlan USA?

In my role as the Transformation Leader for the U.S. market, I focus on ensuring we can identify and execute on our strategic priorities defined for our business. I will be working very closely with the entire leadership team to establish the pace and rigor required to deliver on minutely planned key performance indicators, such innovation leveraging high-performing teams.

Any final thoughts?

Always … I am excited to be here at this fantastic company. The team has welcomed me with open arms and is as inspired by the transformation taking place as I am. Connecting people to a given vision and orchestrating that concept into execution has been the key to many of my career achievements. And I look forward to seeing that happen here as well. I can’t wait to update you on What's next.


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