Eric Johnson has officially stepped into his role as CEO of Nintex following Thoma Bravo becoming the company’s new majority investor.
Eric boasts more than two decades of financial and operational experience at mid- and large-sized software companies including most recently serving as Nintex CFO, where he was key in driving the company’s move to the cloud and subscription pricing.
Below are some of his thoughts on Nintex’s leadership position in the technology industry, his vision for the company, and why his goal is to be a “rabbit,” not an alligator.
1. What are some of your favorite aspects of working at Nintex over the past four years?
I have so much pride and optimism for our company.
People are what makes Nintex great, and everyone here is committed to doing the right thing. Our employees are positive, professional, and they want to win – which makes Nintex a great place to work. The fact that we deliver technology that our customers and partners need, reminds me that what we do every day really matters. When you wake up and can’t wait to get to work, where you’re surrounded by awesome people – that’s what it really means to succeed.
2. How do you think your previous position as CFO will inform your role CEO?
My knowledge of Nintex and ability to understand a range of business operating models are critical. I understand the pain points our customers and partners are trying to solve as well as the innovations they want to drive.
I’m also very thankful for John Burton, who exposed me to all aspects of the Nintex business during my tenure as CFO. Because I have the right set of hands-on experiences, it’s more of a natural progression for me to move forward as CEO.
3. How would you describe your style of leadership?
I believe strongly that everything we do happens because of our people. Nintex is a people-based business.
At the end of the day, I’m trying to make sure we have the very best people in the right positions – that everyone is set up for success, that they understand our mission, and they are empowered to do what they do best. I want to provide every Nintex employee with good direction so that everyone knows and understands what they’re expected to do. Setting clear expectations and providing helpful feedback is the best way to do that.
4. What was the most valuable piece of career advice you’ve received?
Listen – we can all listen more and talk less. A former colleague of mine once said, “there are two types of business people in this world: a rabbit and an alligator.”
Essentially, you want to be a rabbit, not an alligator. An alligator has tiny ears and a huge mouth, a rabbit has big ears and a tiny mouth. You have to listen more than you talk, especially if you want to get anywhere in life. As you progress in your career, you need to rely on your people to know their stuff and do their jobs well, and you have to listen when they express their thoughts.
5. How will you leverage your nearly two decades of experience working in the technology industry to lead Nintex into the future?
At Nintex, we’re focusing on what we need to accomplish and when, and proactively making the moves necessary to meet our company objectives. I’ve learned in my career that when you focus and make the tough trade-offs, you tend to get good outcomes. If you get alignment and focus, you get good execution.
6. What are three things you’d like the Nintex team to accomplish by the end of this calendar year?
First, I want to refine where we’re focusing our strategy. In order for us to optimize our execution, we have to know exactly which segments of these markets we’re going to focus on, and nail down our next generation of technologies so that we differentiate ourselves in those markets.
Second, we need to deliver on our commitments. We have a set of financial goals and made a lot of decisions in the last few months that we’re very passionate about, and I’d like to see us meet and exceed those goals.
And third, I really want us to move the ball further forward in our customer success initiatives. Providing value to our customers is an important achievement, and one that we are all passionate about.
7. Now that Thoma Bravo is Nintex’s new majority investor, how will this impact the company’s customers and partners?
The Thoma Bravo team brings great operating practices to the table that will be beneficial for Nintex going forward and will help ensure we bring real value to everyone in our network.
From a customer and partner perspective, what you’ll see is that we’ll have great clarity on what we’re doing. If you’re a partner, we’ll be able to help you understand how you can grow your business faster, and if you’re a customer, we can help you get more value from the Nintex Platform. We’re also in the fortunate position to have direct exposure to the practices of other companies in the Thoma Bravo family.
8. As we see a shift to cloud-based and mobile-first technology, where do you see Nintex fitting into this phenomenon?
Nintex helps our customers and partners accelerate the automation of business processes and improve the speed at which they can innovate by easily and intelligently connecting people, systems, and content. We’ve entered the era of Intelligent Process Automation, and we’re excited to be leaders in the industry.
9. What do you think of Nintex’s workplace culture and what are your plans to continue supporting our record as a great place to work?
Our culture is one of the things that makes me so excited to work at Nintex. Things we can do to support this culture include rolling out the refined strategy, being clear, and continuing our history of transparency. I’m also a big proponent of three core tenants:
- Don’t wait
- Deliver on commitments
- Operate with respect
All are equally important, and our employees will consistently hear them from our leadership team. As we continue to advocate these principles, our great culture will continue to positively grow.
10. What is one thing about yourself that not many people know?
My wife and I have two wonderful children, and spending time with my son, Luke, and daughter, Kate, brings balance to my life and provides perspective on what’s truly important.
I’m pretty passionate about coaching and have invested a lot of time into coaching my son’s basketball team. I just finished up the season as head coach of his 5th grade select basketball team. I’m proud to share that his team made the state tournament after playing in about 40 games over a five-month period.
I’m also involved with a multitude of activities that my daughter enjoys. She’s currently telling me that her favorite sport is golf, which makes me pretty happy to hear. Now, she’s only seven, so her level of enthusiasm for golf may change, but I’m taking advantage of it for as long as I can.
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