River Currents

Oliver Sommer

Ollie Sommer is a Partner at The River Group. He has over twenty years experience as a consultant and executive. He specializes in helping executive teams create and implement transformational organic and M&A driven strategies. He has consulted to organizations across the US and Australia.
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Remembering Andy Grove: A Perspective on Leadership, Innovation & Culture

Posted by Oliver Sommer on Mar 29, 2016 12:53:56 PM

Andy Grove’s passing last week has already elicited many tributes and rightfully so he lived a remarkable life—the early part was characterized by survival. In his words: “By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation…a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint… Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.” He went on to become Intel employee number three and eventually rose to become CEO and Chairman. His tenure as CEO was marked by unparalleled success for Intel characterized by a compound annual growth rate of almost 30% but also featured several near failures that Intel was able to overcome.

In the vernacular of The River Group, Andy Grove was someone “who got it.” He had the ability to blend his views on leadership, strategic planning and execution with a talent framework that enabled Intel to thrive during his tenure. Three particular aspects of his legacy—his personal leadership, focus on innovation, and Intel’s adaptive culture—provide a unique perspective on how he built one of the most successful companies in the world during his tenure.

Read More

Topics: Advising CEOs, Growing Leaders

It's All About Talent: Insights from Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For

Posted by Oliver Sommer on Mar 10, 2016 5:17:07 PM
Fortune’s most popular issue every year is the “The Best 100 Companies to Work For.” It’s no surprise, as Fortune’s Editor Alan Murray says, “Companies fight to get on this list each year because they know it will help them attract the very best talent.” However, Fortune provided some additional insight that makes this list intriguing especially when it comes to firms that have repeatedly made the list. This year, in conjunction with release of the 2016 list, Fortune held an event in New York that featured the CEOs of three of the top ten companies:
  • Danny Wegman, CEO, Wegmans
  • James Goodnight, Co-founder and CEO, SAS
  • James Weddell, Managing Partner, Edward Jones

There were some compelling common threads to the companies featured at the event despite their obvious differences in industry focus, business mix and geography.

Read More

Topics: Transforming Organizations

Leadership Lessons from West Point

Posted by Oliver Sommer on Feb 17, 2016 10:11:35 AM

The River Group convened a group of CEOs at the United States Military Academy at West Point to discuss the findings of Exchanges16. Each of the CEOs had participated in the study which focused on the experience of being the CEO including from different vantage points (first time, new, established and retiring or exiting). While the discussion was rich and helped River better shape the output of our study, one of the great benefits was the location of the forum and the inherent connection to our discussion topic— especially as it related to the journey of becoming a CEO.

Read More

Topics: Growing Leaders