Marco Marlia, 40
CEO and co-founder, MotorK
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
When I founded my first web design and software company, I was working for clients such as Mini and Mercedes-Benz. I soon realized that the automotive industry was one of the biggest industries in the real economy that had yet to undergo a digital transformation. This discovery is what got me interested in the sector. From there I began looking for ways to improve efficiency in the value chain and to develop a business model that could successfully support that.
Born: Salerno, Italy
Languages: Italian, English
Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics of financial markets and institutions, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
Your greatest achievement?
On a personal level, I consider it a great achievement to have three children, a wife, a dog, a goldfish and two cats. Professionally, it was creating a company from the ground up and transforming it into the largest digital automotive player in Europe.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Before founding MotorK, I created other startups that did not work out. I think part of MotorK’s success comes from these learning experiences. My past failures taught me how to assess and understand the market so that I could build up a scalable, solid business.
What is your current challenge at work?
Scaling up MotorK throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It is a huge challenge considering that we are talking about dozens of countries and even more languages. Despite this challenge I’m confident in our business model, products and people.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
The pace at which digital transformation is accelerating within the automotive industry. Over the next five years, we will witness a complete revolution, with changes that will be bigger than any we have seen over the last century.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
What is important is to enjoy the journey not just the destination. I’m still working to fully embrace this, but I think I am getting better every day at reaching this balance.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
The automotive industry is very specific and vertical. You have to intensely study and analyze it to find your own place. Do not be afraid to work hard and to start at the bottom. This industry is far more complex than others, therefore, knowing some management principles will not be enough to succeed.
2007-2016: Co-founder, Kerios Group, Milan
2005-2016: CEO and co-founder, Nextre Engineering, Milan
2005-2008: Co-founder and executive sales director, Biquadra, Milan
What job do you really want to have in the future?
This one. I have been a CEO since I was 24. I think my entrepreneurial spirit will define me throughout my career. Who knows, I may start another company.
What do you do to relax?
When I am on a plane I use the forced digital detox to enjoy things such as reading, napping or simply clearing my mind.
What is your pet peeve?
I started my own business because I am a decision-maker. I have little patience for slow processes and people who are indecisive and won’t take a stand.
What was your first car?
A red Ford Fiesta.
I get to test lots of different cars. Currently I’m driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
A Lancia Delta HF Integrale because it was my favorite car as a kid. It’s fast, offers outstanding performance and has a timeless design.