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[Interview] Autodesk CEO

Digital transformation, a matter of life and death: Autodesk CEO

AI and cloud will become integral to the post-pandemic new normal, he says

By Oct 07, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost
Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost

SILICON VALLEY – One of the things that have drastically changed the business environment in the pandemic era is the prevalence of companies that implement work-from-home policies, a working style once deemed impractical.

Almost two years after the COVID-19 outbreak, the list of companies letting employees permanently work from home is getting longer, and what makes it possible is digital transformation, says a Silicon Valley executive.

How to adopt digital transformation fast over the next five years will determine the fate of companies, said Andrew Anagnost, chief executive of Autodesk Inc., during a recent interview with The Korea Economic Daily.

The pandemic, he said, has ushered in an era, where companies are actively moving from the analog to digital work environment as employees often can’t meet in person to get their jobs done.

Autodesk, a Nasdaq-listed software and services company that targets the engineering and design industries, is best known for its flagship product AutoCAD, a computer-aided design software, and Revit, a software primarily used by architects, engineers and structural designers to design, draft and model buildings and other structures.

The company counts Volkswagen, Airbus and Hyundai Motor Co. among its major clients.

Headquartered in San Rafael, California, the startup has also developed a cloud, artificial intelligence (AI)-supported software for urban development, media and entertainment.

He said AI and cloud will continue to be the coveted technology as remote work is set to become the new normal in the post-pandemic society.

Before the pandemic, companies were reluctant to encourage employees to collaborate using the cloud, but now they often have no other choice but to work digitally and remotely, he said.

Autodesk logo
Autodesk logo


Anagnost noted a couple of Korean companies as examples of successfully using digital tools for business.

In November last year, SK Ecoplant Co., formerly known as SK Engineering & Construction Co., built Asia’s largest fuel cell power plant, using Autodesk’s cloud-based software to design and manage the construction of the factory.

As a result, SK cut the construction period by 25%.

Anagnost said Elevate, Hyundai Motor's first ultimate mobility vehicle (UMV) concept with moveable legs, which debuted at the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), is another good example that shows the power of Autodesk’s digital design tools.

Elevate is an innovative mobility solution that moves on wheels and at the same time could walk on four robotic legs, so the design and construction of the UMV would have been impossible without repeated analyses of its weaknesses and problems on cloud computing, he said.

Hyundai Motor's UMV concept, Elevate, was designed with Autodesk's design tool
Hyundai Motor's UMV concept, Elevate, was designed with Autodesk's design tool

Having obtained a master’s in engineering science and a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from Stanford University, Anagnost once worked at Lockheed Martin and NASA. He took the helm of Autodesk as its CEO in 2017.

Established in 1982, Autodesk’s enterprise value hovered around $60.7 billion on the Nasdaq as of Oct. 5.

The company’s earnings have been on an uptrend amid the pandemic.

Its annual operating profit and revenue in the fiscal year that ended in January 2021 increased 83.4% and 15.8%, respectively, from a year earlier.

Write to Jeong-Soo Hwang at

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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