In 2016, Isabel Pinto was the first woman to become CEO of Pingo Doce, the leading supermarket chain in Portugal. Isabel came on board 17 years ago as a trainee at the Marketing Department of Recheio. On her way to becoming an expert in the art of selling Private Brand products at Daymon, Isabel learned the science of negotiation, at the Buying Department of Pingo Doce, which she joined in 2005. In this interview, Isabel Pinto takes us to backstage and tells us the secret about how delivering demanding goals can help you to grow as a person.
“THE FACT THAT I HAVE GROWN IN THIS COMPANY MAKES ME MORE AWARE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT EXIST IN OUR SOCIETY.”
CEO AT PINGO DOCE
IN WHICH DEPARTMENT, SITUATION, PROJECT OR CHALLENGE DO YOU FEEL YOU GREW MOST PROFESSIONALLY?
I’ve always felt that, with every change in title or position, the growth in that moment was always greater than ever before.
I believe that I have grown most where I am now, as CEO of Pingo Doce. Because, in addition to being responsible for the business, I am also responsible for the 29 thousand people who work with me. And that’s why it is very important to value each person, being more rigorous and fair in the decision-making process that affects the lives of these people and their families.
HOW HAS THE GROUP CHANGED SINCE YOU BEGAN YOUR CAREER HERE? WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES?
The Group’s size – today it is an international group. But that’s not all: today we need to be more demanding and act faster, because consumers are well informed and know exactly what they want and, therefore, the company must be focused and work harder to provide customers with the best solution on the market.
HOW HAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL GROWTH AFFECTED YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH? WHAT COMPETENCES DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE ACQUIRED DURING YOUR CAREER THAT MAKE YOU A DIFFERENT PERSON?
On a personal level, today I am more tolerant and more deliberate when I analyse any given situation. The fact that I have grown in this Company, and today have a more global vision, makes me more aware of the problems that exist in our society. Because the universe of Pingo Doce employees is, also, a very representative sample of our country’s population.
Professionally, my journey has taught me to be more pragmatic and to better manage my time.
WHAT IS/ARE THE BIGGEST SECRET(S) BEHIND THE GROUP’S GROWTH?
I don’t think it can be narrowed down to just one secret. I’d say that our magic formula for growth is based on several factors:
First, our Chairman and CEO, who is very aware of consumer needs and has in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the business. And because he is also very approachable, which is extremely important;
Our ambition to grow year after year;
Our determination to lead any market in which we operate;
Ensuring that our Brands’ products are innovative;
Our passion for and experience in the food business, especially in Perishables and Take- Away;
Always thinking local, both in regard to partnerships with suppliers, and in encouraging and creating employment in our stores’ areas of influence, and also in how we seek to understand the eating habits of our consumers – from region to region, and country to country. In other words, by being an active citizen in the surrounding communities;
Endeavouring to ensure consumer needs are met, placing them at the heart in our day-to-day business concerns;
Seeking to build long-term win-win relationships with our partners.