As the new Chairman of the Board at eco, a number of major tasks are in store for Olive Süme at the largest Internet industry association in Europe. He takes over the office from Prof. Michael Rotert, who chaired eco for 17 years. In a short interview, Oliver Süme provides an overview of the challenges awaiting him and the topical priorities that he wants to set.
Mr. Süme, congratulations on your election as Chairman of the Board. Which tasks are now awaiting you?
Thank you very much. I would also like to thank the eco members for their confidence, and Michael Rotert for his tremendous service to the association over the past 17 years.
The Internet has become a pivotal growth driver for the ICT industry, and the Internet industry is one of the most important innovation engines for almost all branches of industry in Germany. The pace of eco's growth has at least matched if not outstripped that of the overall industry in recent years, making it one of the largest and most influential associations in the Internet and digital industry, both in Germany and in Europe. We are now represented at three locations – in Cologne, Berlin, and Brussels – and are extensively active and involved in various cooperative ventures and activities, including on an international level.
One of the most important areas of work will be to position eco as an association internally and externally as a unit and to ensure that it speaks with one voice for the member companies. The Competence Groups in particular play an essential role as the nucleus of eco – this is where trends in the ICT sector are taken up and further developed. In order to create the best possible framework conditions for our industry, the Competence Groups are also where we develop our economic and political positions and generate added value for our member companies.
Which thematic priorities do you want to set?
Thematically, we take our bearings from technological developments and their potential impact on the industry. We want to be involved at the earliest possible stage in actively accompanying and shaping new developments. At the moment, for example, we are witnessing groundbreaking developments in the field of Artificial Intelligence, but blockchain technology also has high innovation and disruption potential and will play an important role in the development of the Internet of Things.
While these fields of innovation are vital, we do not intend to neglect eco's core business and will continue to push for digital infrastructure to be accorded center stage on the political agenda. We are committed to advocating for improved support for providers of digital infrastructures in Germany, including not only carriers and ISPs, but also data center and colocation operators in particular.
Which aspect of the new role are you particularly looking forward to?
I am very much looking forward to the work with our competent and internationally oriented team, and to working together with my colleagues on the management board and the company executive. At eco, we enjoy great trust at all levels, an extremely valuable resource which needs to be maintained.
The association has found its place both in Germany and internationally, and has proven itself to be a solid sparring partner in the political arena. We have an excellent basis to further expand this role and eco's sphere of influence. Internally, we have already laid the groundwork for this with the new Articles of Association. With the reinforcement of the executive team in January 2018 through Alexander Rabe, and an organization that has our international activities firmly in its sights, we are extremely well equipped for the future.