Guillaume van Gaver, CEO of Link Mobility: “Business remains above all a human adventure. »

Link Mobility Group is a cloud communication platform as a service company headquartered in Oslo, Norway. The group includes many subsidiaries such as ComVision SP. Z oh, Netsize S.r.l. or netmessage SAS. LinkMobility allows customers to send and receive phone calls, text messagesMMS emails through their API. Guillaume van Gaver, 50 years old and CEO by Link Mobility since September 23, 2019, has evolved for more than twenty-five years internationally in the telecommunications sectors. He agreed to tell us more about his journey.

Tell us about your background and how did you become interested in international markets?

William van Gaver : From my family to begin with. I am a child of a French father and an English mother. I was the eldest son of four children. I lived in the Paris region. I had my baccalaureate then a business schoolSAI. In these studies, I very quickly identified that I wanted to orient myself in the sales professions. I focused my education on finance. Anything related to the terms of a contract, legal articles fascinated me. You have to master this legal part in order to be able to control agreements and financial commitments. I wanted to differentiate myself through financial and legal skills. Today, I live in the Paris region, I am the father of four children. My father is French and my mother English. I immediately had an opening for the international. First of all, I introduce myself as European. I have worked in almost all European countries. I have over 30 years of experience in telecommunications. It’s a sector that I know very well. Finally, I worked in Central Asia, the Middle East and the United States in particular, which then gave me a very important international opening.

How the crisis of Cvid has it impacted you professionally?

William van Gaver : Before the CvidI traveled a lot on planes. I had 200 flights a year. It was necessary, because I saw the teams in all the countries in which I worked. Then with the CvidI rediscovered family life and another way of working. I realized that a 100% life on planes is no longer possible. But that a life 100% in front of the screens is also to be avoided since the company remains above all a human adventure. It is an adventure that materializes with physical interactions.

How will you define yourself?

William van Gaver : I am an adventurer. During my studies, there was a major event for me. That of mounting an expedition to go to the magnetic North Pole of the Earth by sea kayak. I devoted 18 months of my studies to this expedition. I had a huge attraction for the arctic and polar regions. There are extraordinary expeditions that have taken place in these regions. The call to mount this adventure was to confront me with an environment that I did not know with a lot of technical knowledge and during my studies, I wanted to acquire these resources. It created huge human experiences in which you learn a lot about yourself and with a huge sense of achievement. There was solidarity, enthusiasm and crises that we managed to manage and where we remained on good terms following this adventure. I was the leader of this expedition and it took me about twenty years to understand the management and to understand what I experienced. For example, there was canvassing for a sponsor, there were a lot of constraints and for some it was difficult. And it was necessary to distribute the skills of the whole team as required.

You have continued your international escapades, what does your international openness allow you today?

William van Gaver : Jwas one of the first Erasmus students in England. Then I did my cooperation in the part of my military service in the United States, so I was very quickly immersed in this openness. I had the chance to work for an international group and I raised my hand whenever there were opportunities to go abroad. I realized that I had skills to be able to work with foreign cultures and countries. It showed me that you have to show colossal respect with the people you’re going to work with. We have to show that we are the expatriates and make efforts to adapt.
One of the first pieces of the puzzle is respect. Everyone you work with should understand that you have noble interests at heart. I experienced it a lot in Egypt for example, you have to show that you are entirely dedicated to customer satisfaction, to the company. We are there to be sacrificed to the cause of the company.

How was your expatriation in Egypt? Any advice for expatriate workers?

William van Gaver: When I came to this country to Orangethere were very few Orange subscribers, because mobile telephony was a luxury product. So before giving the Internet into the hands of the Egyptians, we had to already allow them to have telephony, so our objective was to give a mobile phone to all Egyptians, which was much more extraordinary. We need to make our service as affordable as possible. So we had built a more affordable rate according to the poor regions of Egypt.
One of the most important aspects of my expatriation is to try to master the language as much as possible. In Egypt, I learned Arabic, which gave me a huge network of support and respect. When I worked in Kazakhstan, I also learned some Russian and Kazakh words. It’s not much, but it’s huge there and it shows your respect. It’s up to us to adapt. You should know that discovering new cultures and new environments is very demanding. We cannot behave in the same way in all countries. Gradually, I was able to receive a distinctive sign which is that I am recognized as being able to adapt to any country in any circumstance. Companies have cycles of growth, maturity cycles of restructuring, you have to be agile on these cycles which are very different.

How were you recruited at Link Mobility ? And what are your missions as CEO for two and a half years?

William van Gaver : Jworked for 16 years at Orange as an operator, then thirteen years at Dixons Carphone who was a distributor headquartered in England. I was lucky enough to be recruited by TV2 where the head office was in Sweden and where I was the international boss with subsidiaries in Germany, Croatia, Austria, Lithuania, Leonia, Estonia and Kazakhstan. In this context of Télé2, I worked mainly for the consolidation in the Nordic countries and in the sale of international activities which were non-strategic in the other countries. Once this work was done, I was recruited by a headhunter who had heard of my background in the Nordic countries and so I was able to take on the role of CEO of Link Mobility. My international career played a major role in my recruitment.
LinkMobility is a European leader in the communion between the brand and the customers present throughout Europe. It is both a telecommunications company and a software company. (Software ace at service). Our clients are the French government, the French banks, the major logisticians who need to communicate with their citizen or their client, to give them information or to communicate passwords to them, for example. We help governments to communicate on vaccination obligations or health rules, for example. It’s an exciting job, because companies increasingly need to communicate with their customers and the better they do, the more they increase customer satisfaction.

Tell us how Link Mobility is developing today.

William van Gaver : Ihe company has been around for 20 years. At first it was a single legal entity, then the company grew in size and financial capacity, then all over Europe. We are the leaders since we have consolidated the European market.
Since its creation, Link Mobility made 25 acquisitions. Over the past two years, I have witnessed more than six acquisitions and for the first time, the acquisition of one branch in the United States. We left Europe. We relisted the company in October 2020 and will continue to accelerate our international development. For this, we are going to carry out three types of acquisitions which have very different integration logics. The first type is the acquisition of actors. That is to say, the extension of territory in Europe. The second is the expansion of Link Mobility outside Europe. What we have already done in 2021, for approximately 271 million dollars for a company in California which produces communication services for energy players in the United States. And finally, the acquisition of technological solutions that we made in the Netherlands or in Denmark. LinkMobility continues its development on these three axes.

What are your next challenges within Link Mobility ? And your personal projects?

William van Gaver : My vision is simple, I want to enable brands and customers to communicate on all channels in a simple and transparent way. For my personal objective, I want to allow a real dialogue between brands and customers and for that, the tools must allow it. Today, there are too many technical barriers and breaks in the course, this will be possible to achieve in a few years. Professional life has brought me a lot, I am considering my end of career in transmission. Personally, I do not see myself following this rhythm, this adventurer’s journey until the age of 65, there will necessarily be a logic of transmission. There are plenty of ways to transmit, to help that can be intelligent in a career logic.

What is the message that guided you and that you would like to convey?

William van Gaver : If you want to discover new things, you have to go out of its frame and seek out the experience or the environment that comes out of its usual frame. Today, the framework has been restricted for two years instead of having expanded. We are in videoconferencing spaces, there are a lot of negative elements. You have to go against this restriction of space in order to open up even more to others, by changing company, by changing place of work by meeting different people, it is fundamental in this period.



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