Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys, has been featured in the CEO Today magazine in their CEO UK Awards 2021 Winners Edition for Manufacturing and Design, recognizing and celebrating exceptional business leadership and examples of excellence, even when faced with unprecedented challenges.
As someone with dyslexia and an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Michael Geissler has all of the essential qualities required to be a successful creative technology CEO! Over the last few years, he has managed to build an exceptionally talented team that’s driving the success of his thriving business, Mo-Sys Engineering.
Put simply, Mo-Sys is leading the way in technology-led innovation. The company designs and builds unique, highly sophisticated camera technology products for film and broadcast, such as camera tracking, broadcast robotics and virtual production hardware. Not only are these products rapidly transforming visual effects (VFX) and virtual production (VP) techniques that are vital to the modern-day filmmaking process, they are attracting global interest and serving customers in more than 50 countries around the world.
Mo-Sys exports 95% of its products overseas and customers include high-profile names such as Sony, Disney, Sky and Netflix. The company’s early adoption of LED wall technology for real-time VFX production has helped it to win work on Hollywood blockbusters such as Gravity, the Oscar-winning sci-fi thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
In addition, the expertise of Michael and his 60-strong team of staff has helped Mo-Sys to win work on a host of top television shows, including the recent series of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. Mo-Sys provided the entire VP technology for the shows and this was instrumental in creating a range of stunning special effects.
All of this has enabled Mo-Sys to expand during the pandemic at a time when many companies have scaled back activities, furloughed staff or made redundancies. While there’s no doubt that the company wouldn’t have been as successful without the drive, innovation and entrepreneurial skills of its CEO and founder, Michael is quick to credit the expertise of his team for getting Mo-Sys to this point.
He says: “When I started Mo-Sys, one of the things I realised was the need to employ people in particular positions who could really help me take the business forward. The main emphasis was to build an open, creative culture with a family feel where staff could challenge the status quo. If you achieve this, suddenly everything goes into overdrive.
“Now we have technical experts, excellent project managers and people with sound business acumen who are able to identify and capitalise on commercial opportunities. I’ve also been careful to recruit people who want to make a difference and have a hardworking, collaborative “can do” attitude, people who can fit into our culture of mutual respect here at Mo-Sys.
“I’d like to think we’ve been successful in achieving this. We have a high staff retention rate, a diverse mix of people from different backgrounds and an agile entrepreneurial culture in which people are encouraged to express their opinions and ideas. This has been a major factor in our success to date. We also try to make staff feel valued by throwing in extra perks, including a free healthy lunch.”
Michael himself is a competent problem solver, very experienced in identifying gaps and opportunities in the market and developing tech solutions to address these gaps to make processes and systems more optimal and usable.
“Being self-taught has helped in this respect,” he says. “It has enabled me to keep an open mind, to try different ways of doing things to see which method works best. Some people are more resistant to change and settle on a particular solution, method or process. Here at Mo-Sys I encourage the team to strive continually to make improvements and challenge the status quo; this approach has paid huge dividends for us.”
Mo-Sys is about to embark on the next stage of its ambitious expansion plan, which includes the launch of three innovative start-ups and a strategy to forge more partnerships, create employment and drive entrepreneur and tech-led economic growth in the borough of Greenwich.
Michael says: “Our aim is to generate significant growth in the local economy by learning, experimenting and implementing new filming technology and supporting entrepreneurs who want to develop high-tech businesses in the area. We also want to continue forging strong relationships with education providers to build skills in filmmaking, VP and technology.”
Mo-Sys already has a strong bond with the University of Greenwich. Last year the company helped three of the university’s media and film students to complete their course when they couldn’t get on set to finish their filming projects. With social distancing rules in place, they were unable to get everyone together on set but Mo-Sys’ technology meant that most of the people could join the studio remotely. As a result of this assistance, all three students have now gone on to complete their studies and get jobs in the industry.
Highly skilled professionals will be needed by Mo-Sys as it pursues its ambitious expansion plans, which include doubling the size of its workforce to 120 within two years. The company has already demonstrated its agility in the COVID-19 pandemic, rethinking its existing products to see how they could be modified for use in the current climate.
Michael says: “We had to address how to increase productivity and efficiency even with people working from home. We’ve also made significant changes in our marketing strategy to help us remain visible to existing and prospective customers; this has been important as our main promotional activity – large-scale international trade shows – have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
While Mo-Sys’ recent growth has been impressive, it has been a challenging time.
“We felt it was vital to keep R&D going because we didn’t want to be overtaken by our competitors. COVID was an opportunity for smaller companies to overtake large companies. While the risk-averse finance directors of large companies furloughed many of their employees, smaller companies pivoted, adapted to new markets and started to increase their market share. Immediately before the first lockdown, I rethought our product strategy and started to develop COVID-friendly product lines.
Michael has now opened an outlet in Los Angeles and hired a further 23 staff for MoSys’ London and LA offices. As the workforce grows, he’s building a culture that embraces innovation, collaborative working and a continual desire to improve.
He says: “I listen to Jurga, my wife, who is great at spotting ways of improving our marketing and identifying talent who will take our business forward. She is very people-oriented and wants to make Mo-Sys one of the top 100 companies to work for in the UK. We won’t tolerate office politics or any bullying in our organisation; we employ people who enjoy what they do and are free to express their ideas and opinions.
“We are very optimistic about the future. Our growth plans are based on our ability to find innovative solutions to real-world problems and I’m confident that we will continue to do this.”CEO Today United Kingdom Awards 2021
Read the full article in CEO Today United Kingdom Awards 2021.