Maria Fernanda Souto: a strategist who thrives on challenges

12 Jun 2020

New Xynteo board member sees an inflection point and a window for new solutions.

This April, Maria Fernanda Souto joined Xynteo’s Board of Directors, alongside her existing role as Group Vice President and Head of Strategy at Kongsberg Gruppen.

Souto has extensive experience as a business strategist in the Energy, Maritime and Defence sectors. Before joining Kongsberg, Souto worked in senior management consultancy roles at Qvartz and McKinsey & Company. With her education in the natural sciences from the University of Vienna, she thrives with the challenge of developing long-term strategies for success in the midst of complex challenges.

Originally from Buenos Aires in Argentina, Souto has lived in five countries and worked in over twenty, which has shaped her in many ways. Her diverse experience has meant she easily adapts to different environments and thrives with change, which has shaped her agile business approach. It has also cemented the belief that there is much more that we as humans have in common –  rather than the differences that get highlighted most times.

As she joined the Xynteo community, Souto shared some insights into what she believes is going on in our societies, and the role Xynteo can play in making an impact:

  • What do you believe are the most important factors that are driving change right now?

Right now, we are in a very particular inflection point, where the opportunities to reinvent our economies and accelerate sustainable transitions are an even hotter topic. We are all in the same boat, as the Covid 19 pandemic has shown in a very painful way. This is an opportunity to rally together to find social and economic solutions to take us into a more equitable and sustainable future. 

  • Xynteo focuses on “Reinventing Growth”. What does this term mean from your perspective?

We have been painstakingly trying to solve a unique problem with old solutions – the proverbial “hammering a square peg into a round hole”. 

What I find extremely powerful in Xynteo´s approach, is that by mobilizing across society and empowering leaders – not only in large global institutions but also across broader business, entrepreneurs, the arts, and activism – the potential for new, out-of-the-box thinking can grow exponentially. This would vastly increase our chances to find real solutions for sustainable growth, creating a more socially equitable system along the way.

  • If you jumped forward to three or four years from now, what do you think will have changed for the companies that Xynteo is currently working closely with?

I would expect that our societal values and our ways of working will have changed quite significantly, with sincere focus on circular economy and sustainable growth and value creation, and even to the reinventing of a fairer social contract. And of course, with more collaborative and digitally enabled ways of working and co-creating. Organizations will need the help of Xynteo to navigate this fast-moving world – keeping ahead while drastically increasing their contribution.