Laurent Sissmann

Unmanned Systems Senior Vice President at Leonardo Company.

Laurent Sissmann is the Unmanned Systems SVP at Leonardo since July 2018.

After graduating in Aerospace Engineering in Toulouse (France), he started his career in the UK working for Airbus.

He joined Finmeccanica in 2006, where he managed complex international programs in both AnsaldoBreda and Alenia Aermacchi. He took part in the launching of the F-35 program up to the final assembly line in Cameri (Italy), and in the restructuring of the MRO&U business in the Tessera plants, Venice (Italy).

Since 2018, Laurent is leading the Unmanned Systems organizational unit, set to enhance Leonardo’s presence on such segment by gathering the divisions’ significant expertise into a unified group strategy.

He is also a member of the Leonardo Faculty as Program Management Subject Matter Expert, PMP certified and won an Innovation Award in this field.


The speech will focus on how an innovative managerial approach can foster the management of a portfolio in order to comply with industrial plan through innovation and execution.

In fact, Leonardo CEO deployed, on July 2018, a 1st tier organizational structure with the aim of boosting the setting up of a One Leonardo strategy on Unmanned Systems and of exploiting the market full potential in relation to Leonardo’s capabilities. This new structure, assigned to an under-40 executive, was put in the condition to streamline and harmonize existing processes towards an innovative vision and execution on Unmanned Systems. A few unmanned system programs were already in place as they started up before the creation of One Company, so there was a need to ensure that the organization could leverage its project selection and execution success by setting up a portfolio management framework*

In particular, the innovative attitude from the CEO ensured the new Function was agile and effective enough to address new opportunities with a new way of doing things, and this happened by means of

  1. Open Innovation, making sure R&D is quick and agile, and also driving an impact on the ecosystem for capabilities to be developed by startups, universities and supply chain
  2. Stakeholder Management, in order to ensure internal decision processes would be adequate to react fast to the external stimula

In less than one year, following initiatives/decisions were implemented: Equity Investments, partnerships with Start-Ups, Universities, Regions, Municipalities, support to the working groups within regulatory bodies, Drone Races organization, Free Thinking Workshop [strategy harmonization, Open Innovation, Knowledge Management].

 *Portfolio Management definition by PMI: Project portfolio management — or simply portfolio management — is defined as the “centralized management of one or more portfolios that enable executive management to meet organizational goals and objectives through efficient decision making on portfolios, projects, programs and operations]