Sandrine Desbarbieux-Lloyd: Reaching new heights at Samsung Electronics

The Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2021

With the aim of understanding the needs of people and offer the best solutions to them, Sandrine Desbarbieux-Lloyd, European VP of Digital Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics, is steering the company on the right path. She states “I have had five very exciting years at Samsung, leading – with the help of a brilliant team – our digital transformation across 34 countries in Europe. This has meant constantly launching new products and driving innovation for our customers. Through our focus and deep investment on developing products and services with consumer’s needs at the core, we’ll continue to evolve these personalized technologies to enhance our customer’s lives today and for a better tomorrow.”

Ladder to success

Sandrine has over 25 years of international experience leading organisations in the implementation of strategic change and digital transformation. She started her career as a Campaign Controller at Reader’s Digest and worked her way up to different roles, each expanding her experience. She held several senior e-commerce, digital, and marketing roles for internationally recognised consumer brands, including BT, LACOSTE, AXA, BAA, E.ON, and BUPA.

Before joining Samsung Electronics, she was the Director of Marketing and Digital at Avis Budget Group, responsible for all digital platforms and marketing programs across Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Sandrine and her team remained focused on growing the digital business, specifically direct channels, and successfully increasing revenue year-on-year.

She states, “I am passionate about delivering the best possible experience for our customers and meeting customer demands. The most successful businesses today are those who fully understand the needs of their customers, work hard to pre-empt their future needs, and constantly review and improve the customer journey.”

She became the European Vice President of Digital at Samsung, where she oversees digital sales and marketing, a multi-billion-pound business across 34 countries in Europe. Sandrine and her team are responsible for driving Samsung’s digital transformation, including major innovations such as AI and machine learning applications.

Ameliorating the services along the way

Samsung’s vision is to provide meaningful innovation for its customers. As part of the digital personalisation program, which adapts content according to what its visitors are most interested in, testing is done on what works best for an optimum experience.

She adds, “Sometimes we discover we make changes which don’t work for our customers and we have to revert back to what we had before or test other alternatives. These aren’t roadblocks as such, but a key part of our test and learn culture to try and adapt to changing customer needs – or even pre-empt them.”

Exploring new heights at Samsung Electronics

Sandrine states, “Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the world of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network systems, memory, system LSI, foundry, and LED solutions.”

Samsung’s vision is to build a “Better Normal” through technology and innovation, creating experiences that improve our daily lives and the world we live in. The company is dedicated to providing its customers with a wealth of opportunities to reach their full potential.

Everything the brand does is driven by an unyielding passion for excellence and an unfaltering commitment to develop the best products and services on the market. As it has done since it was founded, Samsung sets its sights on the future, anticipating market needs and demands to steer the company towards long-term success. Operating in an ethical way is the foundation of its business. Everything it does is guided by a moral compass that ensures fairness, respect for all stakeholders, and complete transparency.

She expresses, “I believe that the new era of innovation (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Deep Learning/Automation/Cloud Computing/Big Data) – the fourth industrial revolution – will drive profound change for all of us, and these changes have already started in many ways. At least 50% of our human tasks today could be automated, leaving people to focus on more valuable activities. I believe this will be a key part of a more connected, more thoughtful future.”

Life as the European VP of Digital Sales and Marketing of the company

Now at Samsung Electronics, Sandrine is responsible for improving the customer’s digital experience and driving revenue through all digital channels, including, e-stores, and through e-retail partners across 34 countries in Europe.

Sandrine states, “My role is digital transformation. It involves, by its very nature, constant change. As a team, we are very used to this. We take calculated risks. We try things out. We succeed, we fail, we learn, we continue. Artificial intelligence will drive even further change. These technologies will change not only all our jobs but also our business models.”

The COVID pandemic came with its own challenges. However, Sandrine implemented some strategies to keep her team motivated and fuel the growth of the company and to help avoid burnout. This includes a constant communication flow and regular video conference calls with all team members and key stakeholders, keeping the team fit with various fitness challenges and also keeping lunchtime’s meeting free so that people can use that time for exercise or to spend time with family. She adds, “As the teams are all working extremely hard, we have also set aside a few hours at least once a month for personal development, which remains important, as it’s key that our talent continues to build on their skills and achieve their own goals.”

Maintaining work-life balance

Sandrine tries to focus on the professional front when at work and the personal front when at home. She ideally likes to keep both separate from each other’s challenges. She adds, “The switch to remote working has led to the lines between home and work being blurred a little.”

Not switching off is one of the key challenges that remote working has brought, so she works hard to instill this in her team and maintains the importance of keeping time for family and personal growth.

Future roadmap for the company

Sandrine states, “The past year has seen the world change dramatically- with our homes becoming an office, a classroom, a fitness studio, and our sanctuary to relax in or virtually socialise. The role of technology has played a fundamental role in helping people stay connected and manage these demands.”

For the future, Samsung’s mission is to create experiences that improve the daily lives of people around the world. This is anchored by three core pillars that are Technology for Today, Innovation for Tomorrow, Empowering a Better Future, and their commitment to serve people, communities, and society.