Olgierd Cieślik is appointed CEO of Totalizator Sportowy, Poland – Our Interview
Olgierd Cieślik graduated from the Faculty of Management and Marketing at the University of Economics in Katowice, and then graduated from the MBA Program for Finance at the School of Entrepreneurship and Management.
In the role of Member of the Management Board and Chief Financial Officer, he was responsible for the creation of financial strategies and the day-to-day management of finances of companies and capital groups at Netizens Ltd., AT Group SA, Cerg Sp. He undertook numerous projects aimed at increasing the value of companies as well as advisory projects for entrepreneurs nationwide.
Mr. Cieślik is knowledgeable about the functioning of capital markets and the principles of corporate governance. Totalizator Sportowy , owner of the LOTTO brand in Poland, is a limited liability state-owned company, operating for more than 60 years in the lottery market.
Tell us about your training and working career.
Mr. Cieślik: For many years I managed companies from various sectors of the economy. I gained experience holding management board functions in companies and when working in a consulting firm, when I worked on complex projects for customers from many industries. I was responsible for creating long-term company strategies, business models, financial strategies and day-to-day management of the finances of companies and capital groups, including those listed on the stock exchange. I also took part in investment projects designed to increase the value of companies and to optimise the operations of businesses.
What were the primary functions in your prior positions?
Mr. Cieślik: I performed each task or project as if it were a new challenge for me. Even actions of ostensibly minor significance were important for me. I believe that is how we should work, i.e. engage our whole being in every project we undertake.
What is your vision to your new function?
Mr. Cieślik: We must above all remember that the Company I am pleased to manage is working not only for the state budget but also for the development of national sport and culture. That’s why it’s essential for Totalizator Sportowy to optimize outcomes and effects in both those areas. It is therefore important to be in a process of continuous development and improvement: increasing the attractiveness of products, investing in employee development, and also, significantly, continuing to develop relations with the international community.
What is the current situation of your Lottery in your country?
Mr. Cieślik: The situation looks very good – last year we achieved the best financial result in our history. Apart from that, we are at a crossroads because on 1 April the new gambling act came into force. As a result of changes in the law, Eurojackpot will be starting in Poland in September. What is more, we can already introduce our lottery products into the internet and for mobile devices – which our customers had been expecting for many years. The company will also be operating in the field of automatic gaming machines and e-casinos. The activities of Totalizator Sportowy will no longer be limited to number games and money lotteries. This is a historic change, not just for us, but for the entire Polish gambling market.
What first actions will you take in this new function?
Mr. Cieślik: The first actions necessarily had to be geared towards accelerating and completing works intended to reorganise the company before entering new areas of the gambling market. This applies not only to reconstructing the company’s business strategy, but also to a change of thinking of company employees, who in a short period of time have to get used to working in new conditions and in a new business environment.
What will your lottery organization look like in 10 years?
Mr. Cieślik: At the European Lotteries Congress in Kraków we talked a great deal about the direction our industry is moving in. In a period of digital revolution – the development of the mobile market and the social media area – we have to be innovative. Traditional lottery games won’t become a thing of the past, but our products must keep pace with our customers. We have to be where the customer is. Customers must have access to them at all times and places. That’s why, in ten years’ time, I can see a company which is basing its sales strategies and channel mix on the latest technologies and trends, continuing to ensure that players have the greatest possible security. I also believe that in a decade Totalizator Sportowy will be a company that has been developing excellently in the field of e-casinos and low-winnings automatic machines.
What do you expect from EL and from your interaction with its Members?
Mr. Cieślik: I hope for a continuation of the existing cooperation, which favours the development of European lotteries. Exchanging experience and know-how often provides an inspiration for new and interesting activities. Nor can we ignore the fact that European lotteries are contributing considerably to the development of society. That’s why I believe that such areas as sport, culture, protection of the national heritage and health protection will continue to be supported.
What do you think are the benefits of being an EL Member?
Mr. Cieślik: Participating in meetings, conferences and the work of committees and working groups are all valuable benefits. I’m very pleased by the fact that Totalizator Sportowy’s representatives are present in such groups. It’s an extremely important element in cooperation between members and the organisation. For me, European Lotteries is an excellent platform where knowledge is exchanged, but it’s also a place where we speak with the same voice when it comes to caring for gamblers, social development and balanced development. After all, the organisation’s motto is “For the benefit of society”.
I’m also pleased by European Lotteries making constant efforts in the field of European legislation, and that we all work together to build a certain kind of solidarity among lottery operators.
In your opinion, what would a world without State Lotteries look like?
Mr. Cieślik: I can’t imagine a situation where there would be no companies supporting the development of sport, national culture or other important areas of social life on such a scale. It would be an enormous loss, not only for society but also for individual economies – after all, members of European Lotteries contribute a total of 20 billion euros to them. Such a situation would be unimaginable. And anyway, a grey area would dominate the market. No one would care about gamblers any longer.
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