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The Art of CEO Succession – Lessons from Dreamix’s new CEO, Stoyan Mitov

Dreamix, Stoyan Mitov
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Getting CEO succession right is hard. More so, in times of significant market uncertainty. Yesterday, the end-to-end software development company Dreamix introduced a new Chief Executive Officer Stoyan Mitov.

Founded in 2005, Dreamix is a custom product development company that delivers full-scale software projects to startups and scaleups. To date, the company has 1 unicorn in its portfolio and works with founders who end up in the Forbes 30 under 30 rankings. 

Stoyan Mitov takes the lead after 9 years in the software development company and has been an integral part of the company’s growth, both on the business and people side of the operation. Most recently, he has led the Dreamix Talents & Culture team.

In the past five years, the company grew 7.5 times in revenue. Stoyan is the 4th CEO among incumbent shareholders of the company. He takes over from Todor Gigilev, who remains a core part of the Dreamix team as Chairman of the Board. 

Watch the video interview with Stoyan Mitov to hear his insights on the art of CEO succession. 

How did your career evolve in a way that you ended up in the shoes of the CEO? 


Initially, when I started working in Dreamix, my mission was to bring the first direct customers outside of Bulgaria to the company. So this is one of the reasons I spent a lot of time abroad, mainly in Silicon Valley. And my goal was to knock on doors and do cold calling, just to find the real direct customers that we should get here to work with. So I started as a salesman, then during the years, we saw that another challenge was coming. After we attracted the clients, we had to prepare the people to work on the projects. That is how I became responsible for the recruitment and for retention of the company culture. So since then, I have been doing that. And now it has evolved into being the CEO. 

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As a person who has been an integral part of growing both the business and the people side of Dreamix in the past 9 years, you must have tons of lessons learned. Which are the ones that you can transfer to your new role as CEO? 


First of all, in order to be a successful company, you should be emotionally and enthusiastically attached to the success of your partners, meaning you should be together during the ups and downs. It’s not just optional. The second one is that we are a people’s company so it’s super important who you are, who you retain, how you grow these people you know, who you promote, and who you set up as an example. And the third one is the two years we saw that we should shift into the value chain meaning that initially, we started as developers now we shift product people. Now we also organize the process, we consult our partners on how to build and deliver their products as a whole. So you should shift into the higher value chain of the service that you provide.

What makes a great CEO successor and what is the value of internal recruiting when it comes to leadership?


Dreamix is this type of company where the sky’s the limit. So the growth is not bounded by a certain level you can achieve whatever you want. It depends on you. So this is really important. Just to mention, when you have the succession internally, you don’t have like an external CEO. You have this person who is embodying the culture and does know the people and the people trust him or her. 


Most CEOs promoted from inside inherit a team of former peers. Does this bring any challenges? Are there any other obstacles you’ve come across up until now? 


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So frankly, when I got to become the CEO, I went to all my peers and spoke with them about the vision vision so we aligned together and talent into this vision. So together we had the vision. And second of all, the first thing that we did was to set up rules on how we are making decisions so it will be clear how we are going to operate together.

As Dreamix is entering a new stage of maturity, how will you execute your strategy to build teams with purpose and give back to the community? 


We will continue continually being emotionally attached to our partners. And we will keep doing work in the “Dreamix” way – this is the people, the purpose, the operational excellence, and then the giving back.

We empower the people with good ideas for a better world and gonna give all this together. As a team, we are also proud that we aim to donate around 1% of the revenue per year to different causes. And these causes are not chosen by the management but are chosen by each and every team member.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new CEO?


My piece of advice for not to be detached from the people. Always be open and stay reachable. Because you should not get the information about what is happening in the company through other people, you should have direct communication with the people. And this is key in order to know if this company is able to address issues and grow. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.