Semrush Inc. / Semrush GmbH: 2023/2024

Position: Interim VP Engineering

Marcus, Mastermind, Founder and SVP of Semrush Enterprise, commented on LinkedIn, “You came in at the right moment when we needed your guidance and hands-on mentality to get the launch done. You did a phenomenal job! We will miss you too. All the best for your future projects. 💪 🚀”

Semrush is a public American company with around 1400 employees that offers leading SaaS tools in the SEO space. Its traditional target group was small and medium-sized businesses. However, in 2022/2023, Semrush decided to expand its reach to large businesses and Multinational Corporations (MNCs). To facilitate this, a new department, “Semrush Enterprise,” was founded.

I undertook a thorough due diligence process of the existing status quo, which paved the way for a detailed plan to launch the product. This strategic approach was aimed at ensuring a seamless transition from the project’s inception to its live phase. In addition to this, I was actively involved in expanding the department, contributing significantly to the hiring of engineers and structuring the team. A notable achievement was the recruitment of an extraordinary VP of Engineering. I organized all handovers, and the candidate successfully assumed their role in Q1/2004.

Productsup GmbH: 2022/2023

Position: Interim VP Engineering

Productsup is a SaaS platform that empowers businesses to take complete control of their product data. It acts as a central hub, helping brands and retailers break down data silos and synchronize information across multiple channels. Productsup is used by the largest brands in the world, and chances are high that you’ve engaged with Productsup-generated content today without even noticing it.

After a long tenure, the former VP of Engineering at Productsup embarked on new adventures. Faced with a choice, Productsup could either hire an external VP or coach and promote internal talent. They chose the latter. I assumed the role of interim VP of Engineering and supported Productsup and all its teams during this transition. This involved the full range of VP of Engineering duties, such as assisting in team reorganizations, discussing IT architecture decisions, giving feedback on projects and features, OKRs, and making hiring and performance decisions.

The main goal was to coach an internal candidate to assume the role of VP of Engineering. This endeavor was successful, and the former Director of Engineering is now working effectively as the newly promoted VP of Engineering alongside the CTO.

Acrolinx GmbH: 2022/2023

Position: Leadership Coach

Acrolinx offers a SaaS solution that not only ensures content is grammatically correct but also adheres to certain standards. Acrolinx enables the world’s largest corporations to communicate with one voice. Particularly in this new age of AI-generated content, Acrolinx is more relevant than ever and is experiencing strong growth.

I supported one of the most crucial teams within Acrolinx to handle this growth. This involved forming new teams, establishing new processes, and coaching leadership to take on new roles. As part of my assignment, I worked closely with one of the team leads who was successfully promoted to Director of Engineering for the new department we created.

sevDesk GmbH: 2021/2022

Position: Interim Head of Engineering

sevDesk is a company in hyper-growth mode. It is doubling its employee count and its customer count roughly each year.

Over the course of the assignment I supported the awesome sevDesk tech department on many levels: Reorganizing teams for ownership, establishing a levels framework for hiring and performance evaluation, improving the deployment speed and creating new systems that enable sevDesk to scale internationally and release multiple times a day.

These vast changes were done in close collaboration with all teams and the founder/CTO of sevDesk. We doubled the number of engineers while constantly maintaining high employee morale (eNPS around 60) and an extremely low attrition rate.

I successfully handed over the department to the new CTO in mid 2022.

Mister Spex SE: 2020

Position: Interim CTO

Mister Spex is Europe’s leading omnichannel optician. In July 2020 Mister Spex’ CTO decided to embark on a new journey after many successful years with the company. The newly signed CTO could only start in January 2021 which meant: No CTO for 5 months.

Mister Spex approached me to fill that void. I successfully made sure that high profile projects continued smoothly and supported the C-level management and the engineering teams with expertise and hands-on advice. The new CTO was briefed weekly on updates and the department was handed over successfully in January 2021. The engagement was 100% remote.

Searchmetrics GmbH 2018-2020

Position: Interim Management / IT Architect

Searchmetrics is a world leader in SEO software. Searchmetrics experienced massive growth and it was my pleasure to support the company in three key areas:

Reorganization of the tech department towards product teams and establishing agile practices like Scrum, Post-Mortems, Api-Driven-Design and lean product development. This was done in close collaboration with the department leadership and the CEO. Architecture and design of a novel software system that allowed the analysis of SEO data in real-time. This feature was a competitive advantage no competitor was able to match. Redesign of the content product to support the dramatically grown user basis. The redesign massively increased the reliability of the platform. It was accomplished with zero downtime for customers. Key components of my assignments were released as “Suite 7” and successfully went live in 2020.

Zalando SE (2016-2018)

Position: IT Consultant

Zalando is a leading European e-commerce company founded in 2008. In only 9 years it went from 0 to 5.000 million EUR revenue and a headcount of 14.000. This massive growth proved hard to manage using a top-down approach. In 2015 the company began the implementation of new agile management practices called Radical Agility. At the same time, the company announced a change towards a platform-based business model.

I was assigned to the department that is responsible for most of the goods sold on the Zalando websites. The department manages all business processes that deal with suppliers like ordering of goods, buying decisions supported by data science, invoicing, and delivery into warehouses. In close collaboration with the management team I supported the move from top-down management to agile practises using SCRUM, OKRs, agile roadmaps and lean product development. In terms of technology the challenge was to transform a monolithic IT architecture into a scalable set of microservices that can be maintained by independent teams. To that end, I worked hands-on with engineers and applied API first design, AWS cloud infrastructure and used an enterprise service bus.

Springer Science (2014-2015)

Springer is a world leader in scientific publishing and e-learning. The company has been in business since 1842. Historically, Springer used external agencies to provide most of its IT capabilities. This model proved to be unsustainable in a global market with fast-paced competition. Therefore, Springer started a program to build up its own IT capabilities with the goal to deliver successful software products faster.

I was part of the international management and IT architecture team that successfully designed and rebuilt Springer’s digital content delivery and e-learning systems from the ground up. The new platform, based on continuous integration, microservices, and agile management techniques, dramatically reduced time to market for new features and went live in 2015.

Zanox - Axel Springer & PubliGroupe (2013)

Zanox is Europe’s leading affiliate marketing platform. Due to massive growth it became clear that the platform and the way IT projects were managed no longer scaled with the business needs. To that end, Zanox began in 2013 to reshape its IT landscape using an agile and event-driven architecture. Zanox’ business is centered around a massive amount of events from affiliate partners. Therefore, a microservice architecture based on a persisting event queue and a cold storage for offline data analytics was chosen.

I successfully supported that move as an external consultant in two key areas: coaching of teams for successful introduction of agile processes and hands-on work with engineering teams.

… more references available on demand.