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#63 We were more interested in the press release than in the revenue of this kind of business – Jörn Leogrande

Jörn Leogrande, former head of Wirecard’s global innovation department. Now consultant and author.
Since the early 1990s, he has worked first as a freelance journalist and later as an advertising copywriter and marketing specialist. In 2005, Leogrande took up a position in marketing at Wirecard AG and quickly became Head of Marketing. After further top positions in product development, he advanced to head of Wirecard’s global innovation department in 2017. During his career, he reported directly to CEO Markus Braun and worked closely with COO Jan Marsalek for years. He was with Wirecard AG until August 2020. Together with his wife and two children, Jörn Leogrande lives in the Munich area.

Insights:

• Jörn Leogrande’s career from journalism to marketing
• What is good marketing and how to create it
• The confusion of at Wirecard in the initial phase
• The complexity in Wirecard multi-vision approach
• Wirecard CEO’s imaginary open door policy
• Jörn Leogrande experience in product development and challenges
• Wirecard confusion in allocating wrong people in the innovation division.
• Wirecard focus on innovation marketing and challenges there in.
• The fraud transaction model at Wirecard
• Marcus Braun behavior as CEO and CTO
• The Wirecard red flags and P&L reporting issues.
• Wirecard great idea that was not utilized.
• Wirecard financial reporting misrepresentation

Key Discussion Points:

[00:06] Jörn Leogrande background story and career journey

[01:50] Why Jörn Leogrande moved from journalism to marketing

[03:25] What is good marketing and how to create it

[04:36] Why Jörn Leogrande says he restarted Wirecard

[09:23] Tackling issues during the reestablishment of Wirecard

[11:00] Why Wiredcard was complex: Lack of unified vision

[12:57] Importance of marketing in shaping the company vision direction

[15:46] How was Wirecard more innovative than its competitors

[18:01] Working with Alipay

[27:33]Jörn Leogrande biggest success while working at Wirecard

[31:57] Why Wirecard posted Jörn Leogrande to the product development department

[33:41] The fraud transaction model at Wirecard

[38:31] Jörn Leogrande problems at Wirecard

[42:12] Wirecard great ideas that were never utilized

[43:41] The Wirecard red flags and P &L reporting issues

[48:24] Why Jörn Leogrande stayed longer at Wirecard despite challenges faced

[50:33] Wirecard financial reporting misrepresentation

[52:00] What Jörn Leogrande would do differently on the startup challenge

[1:07:30] What is work-life balance to Jörn Leogrande

[1:13:16] Jörn Leogrande’s favorite books

[1:14:56] Jörn Leogrande advice to 18/19, 30, and 40-year-old self

Interesting Quotes:

“You focus and see the brand as a living creature you have to create and give life. You have to take care of all the little nitty-gritty details of it.”

“They had a globe, their logo and everything was looking internationally. But it was not real. The brand was not there. What we were trying to establish back then was a different brand, something focused and lean.”

“This vision of an international global tech company, right in the very beginning was pretty hard.”

“It was a complex company back then. There were different people that had different visions.”

“People believed until the end that it was one of the most innovative companies.”

“My kids saw this tremendous change in my life. When I was working for Wirecard, I was often traveling or on business trips and something like this. And after the Wirecard story ended, and the corona story started, I was at home all the time, I wasn’t sitting in my working room and doing zoom calls, like everybody else.”

“This is what my entire life is all about: I cannot stay too long. At some point, I always try to think, what’s the next level?”

“He always said, if someone has a good idea, he can go to my office. And I said to him, Markus, nobody can go to your floor, actually, because you need a special key card to come into the CEO floor.”

“I always had this little theory that payment has to do with pain. Nobody likes to pay.”

“We were more interested in the press release than in the revenue of this kind of business.”

“If you know in the very beginning how hard it will get, you will never get started.”

“If something is not possible, don’t do the stuff. Don’t challenge yourself, and don’t tweak yourself in this way.”

Book Recommendations:

Ernest Hemingway
T. C. Boyle

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