SparkOptimus talks digital with former Heineken CEO

23 April 2021 2 min. read

Over the past years, SparkOptimus has been one of the trusted advisors of Heineken on its digital transformation journey. Courtesy of the good working relationship between the two, SparkOptimus Managing Partner Alexandra Jankovich sat down with former Heineken CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer to walk through their joint endeavours.

In the interview, Jean-François van Boxmeer (who passed on the CEO baton to Dolf van den Brink eight months ago) walks through how digital has grown to become one of the key pillars of the Dutch beer giant, fuelling innovation, driving operational excellence and bringing customer experience to life, among others.

SparkOptimus first entered Heineken’s stage when Heineken’s Chief Commercial Officer Jan Derck van Karnebeek asked the firm to came on board as a strategic digital advisor to the management team. In the role, SparkOptimus supported Heineken’s executives with drawing up future strategies and plans, walking them through the pitfalls and roadmaps, and serving as a sounding board for key decisions.

“Our collaboration worked well,” said Van Boxmeer in the 55-minute interview, “because there was that constant feedback loop, which was organised not only at the operational side, but also at the strategic side at the table of the entire executive team.” 

Recalling the firm’s approach to “getting things done”, the former CEO added “I think SparkOptimus excels in the art of making sure their client is defining their own goal and then you take your clients, us, by the hand to go there. And then on the ground I think you have a practical approach that we like to see.” 

Notable initiatives SparkOptimus advised on over the past five years include the development of commercial strategies for business units and product lines, the launch of Beerwulf (Heineken’s first direct-to-consumer venture), the design and roll-out of sales transformations in several countries, and the development of a growth agenda in South Africa as well as its realisation (supported by a technology implementation).

Concluding on the relationship, Van Boxmeer said, “I think SparkOptimus is a great consultancy that can ‘assemble’ a digital journey for a company like us. It has been an adventure that, at least on my side, I have enjoyed.”

According to a survey of executives, SparkOptimus is one of the leading strategic consultancies in the Netherlands.