CXO Conversation Podcast

CEO/CTO Al Rosabal, Overcoming C Suite Challenges

Al Rosabal joins the show to share his thoughts on leadership, bettering yourself, and overcoming C-suite challenges. Join us for an in-depth discussion on working at the C-level in a variety of industries and how a skillset can really be agnostic.



Al Rosabal is an accomplished CXO who has served in 4 distinct sectors moving up with each change. CTO for a joint venture with Ford Europe, CTO for the city of Denver, CTO and COO for National Cinemedia, and COO for Galvanize.





Podfly Productions:

Veterans of Foreign Wars:



[1:52] Michael introduces Al Rosabal and asks him to share an interesting tidbit about himself — a month off riding his bike in Patagonia!


TAKING CHANCES [4:44] Al shares his experience diving into an opportunity at Ford in Europe and chalks this opportunity up to good relationships, good timing, taking chances and a bit of luck. He touches on having maybe gone rogue to drive change and make some exciting things happen!


SOLUTIONS AND CHALLENGES [9:09] The Jaguar X Type launch is one of the use cases that Al looks back to in terms of  finding gaps and establishing agile solutions to fill them. Al also speaks to some of the challenges he faced dealing with such a complex organization in a different culture (not only in a new country but in a new company!).


A GOOD LEADER IS A GOOD FOLLOWER [13:22] Al’s work in the C-suite has taught him that even at the highest levels, you always are accountable to someone. He shares his experience COO and CTO at National Cinemedia and touches on what it takes to be a strong leader as well as how important it is to be surrounded by people whose values align with yours.


CORPORATE VS PUBLIC [19:08] Al has worked at the C-level in corporations but also for a municipality and he details the similarities and differences you’ll find between both as well as the primary drivers that propel them into the future.

  • both have legacy technology which competes with innovations in the space.
  • The municipal level enables you to plan and think really long term as opposed to a more quarterly schedule.


ANY SECTOR WORKS [24:02] Having worked in a multitude of sectors ranging from media to automotive, Al speaks to the importance of choosing a job for the role and opportunity for growth, learning and developing your intellectual flexibility. Additionally, he highlights that there is a core set of skills to any C-level job, independent of sector.


PREPARING FOR A CEO ROLE [25:54] Al’s attraction to the CEO role is intimately linked to wanting to have a deeper impact on the company and putting his skills to good use. He also touches on the preparation for a CEO role: it is not a finite endeavor, no one is ever fully prepared — it’s a difficult role. Al shares how he studies success and tries to palliate his weaknesses as well as the importance of the people that surround you.


PIVOTAL MOMENTS [30:07] Al shares a few key moments — or stretch roles — in his career that marked a substantial change in how he perceived his role and helped him grow.


CHALLENGES AND REWARDS [33:14] Al speaks of his experience as a CEO: the challenges, rewards, and things he’s proud of. He also touches on his management style: accountability, transparency, integrity, people.


TIPS FOR ASPIRING C’S [40:49] Al shares key tips for people looking to reach the C-level: get exposure, find and grab opportunities, and find a coach.


BEST WORST JOB AL EVER HAD [44:02] Al doesn’t find he ever had a ‘worst’ job, only more or less challenging roles. He shares how each of them has contributed to him learning more about himself and bettering his skillset.


[48:49] Michael thanks Al Rosabal for coming on the podcast to share his insight and closes out the podcast with his favorite takeaways.


We hope you learned something today and enjoyed the conversation. Please gives us five stars on iTunes and share your comments so we can improve and ask the questions you want to hear.



Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

Extreme Survival, by JG Press

DisneyWar, by James B. Stewart



Jalan Crossland for the music

Angela Johnson at OC Executive Search

Joseph Batty at Podfly

Corey Coates at Podfly


Listen on: