As RingCentral’s President & Chief Operating Officer, Mo Katibeh is responsible for RingCentral’s products, sales, marketing, customer experience, human resources, and corporate strategy. A seasoned technology leader, Katibeh is focused on fueling RingCentral’s growth by accelerating investments in arenas that are strategically important for long-term success. Since joining the company, Katibeh has also optimized processes and systems to deliver a more agile company that’s focused on helping customers transform their business communications to the cloud – while driving durable and increasingly profitable growth with operational discipline.
Katibeh is a 20-year veteran of technology, cloud, product, and sales roles. Prior to joining RingCentral, Katibeh held multiple executive positions at AT&T, including EVP Chief Product & Platform Officer and EVP Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Business where he oversaw all product and marketing responsibilities, as well as go-to-market sales for digital, wholesale, and indirect channels. Under Katibeh’s leadership, AT&T established a multi-billion-dollar communications, collaboration, and security business, driving market-leading growth through the development and deployment of innovative cloud-based technologies. He was also recognized as one of the World’s Most Influential CMOs by Forbes for 2019 and 2020.
Katibeh grew up in the United Kingdom and has lived in Europe, the Middle East, South America, and the United States. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business with majors in International Business, Marketing, and Philosophy from Oklahoma State University and an Executive MBA from the University of Texas, Dallas. Katibeh is married and has two children.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I joined RingCentral for three reasons.
I love B2B and being part of a company that is focused on serving other businesses on a global scale. Especially one that is providing a mission-critical solution.
Innovation is the heartbeat of the cloud communications industry and RingCentral has its finger firmly on that industry pulse! I knew that RingCentral already had the world’s leading UCaaS solution – and the ability to be an innovation leader for many years to come.
The company’s vision is to simplify communications in any mode, on any device, and anywhere. Bringing together an innovative heritage with a compelling future vision is what ultimately propelled me to join the team.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As someone once said, “I love my children. I love my wife. I love my waterfall charts”. I joke that no day is complete without a little bit of all three of those things.
One of the things that make being the COO of a $2 billion dollar company so interesting is that, in many ways, no two days are the same. Every day brings a new adventure as I work collaboratively with different teams, investors, partners, and customers, championing ways to spearhead healthy, profitable growth and eliminate roadblocks. That said, I truly love data. No day is complete without the opportunity to double-click into some portion of our business to understand exactly how our teams are doing, and what trends are like in that sector. That’s my job – to keep the business performing at its peak and drilling into the data in a hyper-competitive and dynamic high-tech sector is key to driving that performance.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For me, this comes back to adopting an innovation mindset – being visionary in where you think the market is going and constantly staying ahead of trends that shape our customers’ business decisions.
Then, it comes back to the data! I’m customer and data focused at heart and for me, ‘data doesn’t lie’, but it needs to be relied upon with a good pinch of instinct and a collaborative and questioning mindset. At RingCentral, there is a deep heritage of innovation and a very healthy innovation pipeline – that is constantly scrutinized and reviewed.
Then, it’s about having the right people to bring that idea to life, market and sales testing, drilling into the data, and being prepared to move ahead or move away…quickly. We can quickly pivot the time, money, and resources into the next idea.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Hybrid Work. This is reinventing how we engage with employees, customers, partners, and our entire marketplace. It’s here to stay! We’re also seeing a few big megatrends:
Need for mobility – work from anywhere; hybrid is here to stay.
Need for cloud-based platforms – on-prem legacy solutions don’t work for today’s modern workforce.
Need for UCaaS + CCaaS – unified intelligent and connected experiences; connected employees across a business—not just in a contact center—to better serve the needs of customers.
Need for (connected) integrated communication platforms – using APIs and integrations to seamlessly integrate and automate your preferred workflows with apps you prefer to use such as Hubspot, Salesforce, Teams, etc. enabling composability for developers using our “no code, low code, and pro code” APIs and SDKs allowing developers to build workflows from scratch, or use “out-of-box” pre-builds.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m quite rigorous around follow-up. Running a large organization, I have to be judicious with my time, especially when I consider the variety of functions that require consistent touch-points. In line with that, I have a robust follow-up process, wherein any meaningful action item is dropped into a “Follow-Up” folder for a due date in the future, allowing me to start every morning with a review of all action items that require my attention. If the team member assigned to that task has already provided the deliverable, I simply delete that follow-up. If they haven’t, I provide a gentle nudge in the right direction. I’ve used this methodology for well over a decade, and I’ve gotten incredible feedback on its effectiveness.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stock tips! Kidding aside, I would tell myself to take every day one day at a time. Be mindful of the future, but do NOT agonize over it. If you do your best today, the future will work itself out.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I am an introvert.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Recognize people. Every human being, to some degree, loves being recognized for the good work that they do. Even when people need to do better, if you recognize them for the work they’ve done to date and work from there and point them in the right direction, outcomes are so much more positive.
A lot of people forget that no one was born knowing how to do a given job. As leaders, a significant portion of our time should be on coaching our people and helping them to become better employees and leaders, ones who ask themselves wholesome questions and create holistic answers to implement within their respective projects or initiatives.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Why choose just one, when you can pick so many? The trick to being a leader is being okay with admitting when something is not working as quickly as possible and moving on to the next thing. You have to celebrate failure. Otherwise, you live a life of fear.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My seven-year-old daughter came up with a million-dollar idea: edible spoons. Instead of throwing them away like plastic, you can snack on them when you’ve finished using them! She made them at home!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just spent $138 on supplies so that I could paint a room to set up a home gym. My wife was thrilled that I took the time on a Sunday to set up this area. Making my wife and family happy is very important and meaningful to me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My favorite is Adobe LightRoom in the cloud. I love photography and so, having a service that brings together Cloud storage and the ability to use incredible tools to make my photos even better than they were originally, and for those photos to be available on any device across the world is truly incredible.
I also truly admire YouTube music. The mere idea of having access to the near entirety of all recorded music at my fingertips is stunning. Watching my children have the same privilege and be able to use it to drive the discovery of bands and songs that they never would have otherwise, is amazing, and brings us closer in new ways.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Outpacer: The Blueprint for Breakthrough Success in the Digital Era” by Alex Holt. Over the last decade, there have been a small number of companies that have changed almost every aspect of how we live, work, and play. These “outpacers” have influenced everything, and each chapter in this book features a company and leader of such an organization, diving into their leadership style and successes.
- As a leader, it is integral to teach others and to actively give them the knowledge and tools needed to succeed.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.