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Deep Dive: Karsten Winther, President of EMEA, Vertiv

Deep Dive: Karsten Winther, President of EMEA, Vertiv

Deep DiveIndustry ExpertInsights
Karsten Winther, President of EMEA, Vertiv

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?

One of the things I am most proud of is Vertiv’s role during the pandemic when the data centre industry was key to keeping businesses running and societies functioning. The sudden shift to remote working put a huge strain on connectivity and distributed infrastructure, and as the world’s use of data increased exponentially, the digital infrastructure became more critical. More recently, we’ve had a lot of unprecedented headwinds to face: wars, inflation, energy crisis. I have been inspired by how Vertiv came together to deal with these situations whilst coping with increased demand.

What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?

I have always had an interest in computers and even built them from used parts when I was young. But, whilst I started taking a personal interest in computers in my early years, I never expected my career to be so influenced by technology companies. I think it was my background in leading teams to sell technical solutions, such as EPSON and NEC, that has led me into the data centre industry.

I joined Vertiv in 2018 and being part of the data centre industry is so rewarding. Data centres truly make a difference and add value to society, and the speed of adoption is changing what we do and how we live. Our industry is a direct function of enabling the use of data and processes and it brings reliability into applications that change how we live and operate. It’s an exciting place to be.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

I am a leader who takes a structured approach, developing measurable objectives and ensuring they are understood by everyone across the business. This enables the entire region to be aligned and achieve a clear set of results. I try to create a culture where everyone gets the right support and feedback in an open, honest and respectful environment. I strive to unleash our employees’ potential and to encourage people to constructively challenge each other. What I enjoy most is experiencing people outperforming themselves and being proud of it. It is so rewarding to witness someone delivering and doing a fantastic job. Fortunately, I get to see that quite often.

What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?

The past couple of years have seen new trends emerge across cloud, Edge and 5G. The cloud and Edge transformation of digital infrastructure continues to accelerate, and I am excited about the new opportunities 5G deployments are bringing. But the latest and probably hottest topic has to be Artificial Intelligence (AI). As recently reported in our second quarter results, we believe AI will be a long-term secular tailwind for the industry and will increase the size of the addressable market.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

I make sure that I always make time to spend with my family, although admittedly, they would probably say that it’s not enough. But when we are together, it’s quality time well spent enjoying ourselves. Every now and then I try to do something for myself. It could be watching a movie, cooking for friends and family, or taking a very long walk in Copenhagen – a city I love. I also enjoy playing football or working out on my rowing machine. The key is to be on the same page as everyone around me, professionally and personally, so I don’t commit to more than I can deliver.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

We’re operating at an exceptionally technologically focused time when innovation is critical. In particular, there is a real demand for technologies and solutions that support sustainability initiatives. With the hunger for data constantly increasing, it is vital that data centre providers invest in solutions that reduce energy and water usage, waste and overall carbon footprint. AI is another important area of investment, showing great growth acceleration potential. Data centre infrastructure is fundamentally essential to meet the rapidly growing demand for compute capacity driven by AI.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the coming months?

From the technology perspective, we see increasing demand for new technologies that also deliver sustainable output due to regulations and/or customer and partner preference. It is driving greater innovation in both research and development and go-to-market strategies. The adoption of AI is projected to increase the need for high-density solutions, which, in turn, is projected to have an impact on the requirement for technologies in liquid cooling and power distribution.

The search and acquisition of talent is getting more intense and so we can attract the best of the new generation, we are rethinking how we can appeal to them and be the best employer we can be for our associates. We have already made great strides, but we have more work to do.

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