From Barcelona to Global Leadership: The Journey of Miquel Colet

Miquel Colet is a seasoned executive with nearly two decades of experience as the CEO for Vibia in the USA and Canada. Originally from Barcelona, he has led Vibia, a premier brand in the high-end decorative modern lighting industry, to significant success. Under his leadership, the US and Canadian markets have become strategically important for the company, which boasts a presence in over 100 countries and headquarters in Barcelona. We at EliteX, are proud to introduce Miquel Colet as one of the 20 Elite CEOs in 2024.

Miquel’s educational background is impressive, with business studies at ESADE in Barcelona, one of Europe’s top business schools, and further education at Columbia Business School and IESE in New York City. His career began in Barcelona, where he worked across various industries such as consumer goods, garment, and real estate, and in roles including CFO and Financial Controller. Seeking broader responsibilities and international experience, he moved to the United States to take on the CEO role at Vibia. This bold move proved to be a pivotal and highly successful decision for both him and the company.

Miquel was driven by a combination of personal ambition, the desire to test his capabilities, and a commitment to deliver the results Vibia expected. His motivation was deeply rooted in a personal challenge and a dream to achieve more. Miquel’s leadership style is characterized by innovation and teamwork. He encourages his team to challenge the status quo and explore new approaches, fostering a culture of experimentation and success. Building a cohesive team that works well together and engages in shared decision-making is a cornerstone of his leadership. He values transparency, long-term thinking, and a detailed focus on achieving results.

“Open communication and transparency foster a united team, informed decisions, and collective success.”

Guided by principles of fairness and accountability, Miquel strives to be a valuable resource and mentor, motivating his team to continually learn and pursue new goals. His approach has cultivated a strong sense of pride and loyalty within his team, leading to outstanding results. Throughout his career, Miquel has faced numerous challenges, each contributing to his growth as a business leader. One significant challenge was his transition to Vibia. He had to adapt to a new company, industry, and country while managing a major operational shift—relocating the company from California to the East Coast and handling layoffs, all without prior extensive industry training or local support. Miquel tackled this challenge by viewing it as a personal test of his capabilities. He committed fully, investing his time, effort, and energy to ensure the transition’s success. This experience taught him the importance of having a clear goal, breaking it into manageable steps, and dedicating oneself to achieving it, proving that success is possible with determination and hard work.

Miquel Colet believes that innovation stems from having the right mix of people. He values bringing in individuals from outside the industry who are not constrained by traditional ways of thinking. By combining veterans of the industry with newcomers from diverse fields, Vibia gains fresh perspectives and new technical knowledge, driving the motivation to innovate. This blend of experience and fresh ideas has been a successful strategy for the company. Balancing a demanding role with personal life is a challenge Miquel acknowledges. He emphasizes the importance of returning to the basics and staying focused on what truly brings happiness and fulfillment. By keeping a clear end goal and vision in mind, he ensures that all efforts contribute to a balanced and meaningful life, despite the noise and distractions of daily responsibilities.

Miquel highlights the diverse nature of the US society, which naturally provides a varied candidate pool. Vibia reflects this diversity, with employees from different countries, religions, and age groups. Particularly in the interior design industry, where women constitute a significant portion of the workforce, Miquel ensures that diversity, equity, and inclusion are inherent in the company’s culture. Vibia is committed to sustainability through several initiatives. The company designs timeless products that avoid waste by not adhering to temporary trends. They incorporate replaceable electric components in their luminaires, reducing the need to discard entire fixtures. Vibia is also optimizing its supply chain to minimize travel distances for materials and products, using recyclable materials, and reducing energy consumption through solar panels and other measures. These steps demonstrate Vibia’s dedication to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

“Balancing personal and professional life requires a clear vision of what truly brings happiness and fulfillment.”

Miquel advises aspiring leaders to approach their roles with humility, listen, and learn. He stresses the importance of having a varied background in business and management to understand opportunities and challenges. Continuous learning is crucial to stay in touch with business realities and trends. Building a solid, independent team is essential, and leaders should aim to create a team capable of making decisions and executing tasks with minimal input. Establishing direction, setting expectations, and fostering open communication are key components of effective leadership. Above all, leaders must genuinely care about their work.

Looking ahead, Miquel sees GenZ becoming the primary target audience for Vibia. The company is preparing for this shift by incorporating more GenZ team members who bring fresh ideas and skills. The transition to digital is also a significant focus, affecting both lighting fixtures and controls. Vibia’s Digital Transformation team is expanding rapidly to address these changes. In the near future, the company will continue to innovate in design and product categories. Miquel envisions himself supporting the new generation of executives and leaders, sharing his knowledge and experience to help them reach their potential. Miquel Colet stays informed about emerging trends and developments in his field through a multifaceted approach. He regularly attends trade shows, reads trade magazines, and participates in industry seminars, both online and in-person. Networking and discussions with industry peers and brainstorming sessions with his team also play a crucial role. Additionally, Miquel values learning from other industries, keeping an open mind to integrate diverse ideas and insights into his strategic decision-making process.

When facing challenges and setbacks, Miquel takes a step back to gain perspective and avoid hasty decisions. He seeks diverse opinions and asks for help from people with different viewpoints. Remembering lessons learned from past successes and failures, whether his own or others’, helps him navigate current obstacles effectively. Two quotes have profoundly influenced Miquel’s journey as a CEO. The first, by Henry Ford, states, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” The second, by ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, says, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” These quotes emphasize the importance of belief and taking risks, and Miquel wishes he had embraced these principles earlier in his life.

Miquel believes in full transparency and visibility regarding the company’s opportunities, challenges, and strategies. He involves everyone in discussions, ensuring that each team member has a chance to share their opinions and perspectives. This open communication approach ensures the team is united, informed, and supportive of the decisions made. Looking ahead, Miquel is excited to build on the approaches that have made Vibia successful. This includes challenging industry norms, encouraging innovation, and assembling a cohesive team. He emphasizes the importance of seeing the big picture, paying attention to details, and maintaining a long-term perspective.

“Innovation stems from having the right mix of people and the courage to challenge traditional ways of thinking.”

Vibia’s success in the US and Canadian markets is also attributed to its hands-on pre-sales project support, close project follow-up, and responsive post-sales support. These practices have fostered strong relationships with partners such as rep agencies, specifiers, and electrical distributors. On the product side, Vibia’s digital platform allows for customization of product characteristics, meeting the design needs of architects, designers, and owners. The blend of decorative beauty and technical performance bridges the gap between aesthetics and functionality. Miquel is committed to continuing this growth by upholding Vibia’s core values: Accountability, Beauty, Collaboration, Exploration, Proactivity, and Transcendence. These principles will guide the company’s future endeavors and help maintain its position as a leader in the high-end decorative modern lighting industry.