Member Profile: Adolfo Hernandez, CEO, SDL plc

Adolfo is an international, dynamic and proven CEO in the Software, Communications and Enterprise market with outstanding progression and proven record in value creation.  Always focused on customers and people, he thrives on delivering results and long-term strategic vision, building best-in-class teams with effective operational management, and establishing strong senior relationships.

About Bloomberg Breakaway Membership


Adolfo Hernandez joined the Board of SDL as Chief Executive Officer in April 2016. Prior to joining SDL, he was CEO of Acision from July 2013 to August 2015, a privately held mobile communications software company specialising in messaging systems, prior to its merger with Comverse Inc in 2015 to form Xura Inc.

Before that Adolfo spent four years at Alcatel-Lucent, with his most recent position being Executive Vice President, Global Software Services and Solutions. Adolfo has also held senior management roles at Sun Microsystems Inc and spent nine years with IBM in London and Munich where he held a variety of sales leadership positions in the areas of eBusiness and Open Systems.


What defines a successful leader?

One that can provide organisations with clarity of what we are trying to do, why is that important, how we are going to achieve it and makes the team passionate about it. Ultimately it is about having a good team that feels passionate about the plan and wants to follow you to deliver it and the customers that value what you do and how you do it.

Culture and talent are important to any company’s success. How do you engage and inspire your workforce?

This is something that must be a real operational priority. It needs to have clear objectives, actions and owners. These activities and plans will not happen if not made a priority since the business pressures will always take over otherwise.  I believe that open, transparent, inclusive and engaging cultures are critical in today’s business (especially in tech) so I try to work with teams to ensure our behaviors and actions support these.

Innovation and disruption are reshaping industries every day. What do you see as the number one game-changer facing businesses today?

The massive arrival of automation and robotics/AI will reshape the profile of businesses. It will be key to understand what the impact will be to your own business, the business of your customers and formulate a plan to take advantage of that disruption….. ride the wave instead of being crashed by the wave!

Challenges abound in today’s fast-changing business environment. What keeps you up at night?

Generally speaking nothing keeps me up at night!  I try to give it the best I have on the day (and there are many challenges competing for that!) so I can stay balanced.

Why did you join Bloomberg Breakaway?

Interest in the exchanges, the different takes on known issues and learning about unknown issues. I also expect to learn from other CEOs and meet interesting people.

Even CEOs need downtime. How do you recharge?

I need three things: deep sleep (even if not enough), frequent time outdoors (if possible by the sea/mountain) and quality time with family (since having a lot of time with them proves extremely challenging).

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