“I see Telefónica drawing, defining and building the future” Denise Sayuri

Meet Denise Sayuri, Chief Information Officer VP IT at Telefónica Brazil. Discover her professional career and personal vision.

Meet Denise Sayuri, Chief Information Officer VP IT at Telefónica Brazil.
Denise Sayuri

Denise Sayuri 

Reading time: 6 min

How long have you been at Telefónica and how would you assess your time here?

It has been almost two decades, next year I will be 20 years in this, which is my home, but the feeling is that I have been here much longer, because of the intensity of everything I have experienced during this time. I consider myself a very lucky person for the opportunity to develop professionally and personally along with the evolution of Telefónica in Brazil, which throughout this period has changed completely, without losing its DNA and values. It is as if I had worked in different areas, in different companies, within the same entity.

I started in 2004 at Telesp, a fixed concessionaire, as a manager in the Strategy and New Business area and I experienced my first professional cycle, where I was able to work with new business development, M&A and mainly Regulatory Strategy, in a critical phase of the regulatory framework, so I learned a lot about our sector. Between 2010 and 2016, it was already a new company, VIVO, much bigger in all aspects, after the fixed-mobile consolidation. That’s where I had my first stint in IT, as Director of Planning and Governance. Accompanying the merger from IT with a transversal vision was a unique experience, because the challenges in technology in consolidation movements are added to the inherent challenges of the area. At the end of this experience, I worked for 6 years in B2B Business, responsible for segment strategy and account management. This opportunity allowed me to actively participate in a unique transformation and the expansion of our operation and our portfolio with digital services, which led to the birth of 3 new technology companies, the TTECHs. And 2 years ago, since October 2021, I am living the biggest professional challenge of my life, returning as CIO to this totally challenging and exciting area, which is the IT area, in a context in which VIVO incorporates new products and services far beyond Telco and positions itself as a technology company.

Is there any project at Telefónica that you are particularly proud or satisfied with?

It is very difficult to choose one, as I have a lot of affection and unforgettable memories of each stage I have been through and of all the projects in which I have participated, but in order not to leave out one of them, I choose the turnaround of the B2B segment that began in 2017 with the arrival of Álex Salgado at Vivo. Under his leadership, we managed to emerge from a situation of falling revenues for consecutive years to double-digit growth. I am proud to have participated intensely in this beautiful story full of challenges, achievements and a lot of learning. The results achieved are innumerable and very expressive, but for me, the greatest achievement is the solid and united team that was built along this journey and that sustains these results. This example serves as an inspiration for the biggest project I have led to date, which is our dream of taking Vivo’s Technology area to another level, capable of enabling our company strategy with more speed and value to customers. It’s more than a project, it’s a journey that is still on course for the future, the initial results already fill us with pride and encourage us to go for more!

What do you think Telefónica has contributed to society?

It has contributed so much that it is impossible to describe the impact in words alone, it would be easier if I could add a touch of emotion… In trying to answer this, I would like to share a situation that happens to me frequently, either in the onboarding agendas of employees who join my team or in interviews with candidates for IT vacancies. On such occasions, it is not uncommon for me to get emotional when describing what it means to me to work in a company that has such a unique and relevant purpose of bringing people together through technology. I often say to Christian Gebara, who has always been and will remain my eternal role model, that only a great person like him is able to summarise our ambition in such a simple yet powerful way: “Digitise to bring people together”.

It is deeply motivating to know that we dedicate a very relevant part of our lives to work in a place that enables society to live better and closer to everything that matters to it. The pandemic is a great example that has further highlighted the essential nature of our services… So, whenever I reflect on this impact, my heart fills with pride and my eyes with tears!

Where do you see Telefónica in the future?

I see Telefónica drawing, defining and building the future. Throughout its 100 years, protagonism, leadership and vanguard were always present in Telefónica’s positioning and performance… In the next 100 years, in a world where technology plays a much more relevant role, I can only see our company occupying a more prominent place, leading the entire ecosystem of companies, partners and suppliers towards a more connected, more fun and much more human world.

Could you live without a mobile phone?

To live I have doubts, I think I could survive and I confess that it would cost me a lot… Only while I was mentally simulating this situation to answer the question, I already unconsciously grabbed my smartphone… This is a sign of how connected we are and how these devices have changed our everyday life. I can’t imagine my life today without the peace of mind of hearing from my parents at any time and receiving a photo of them in their flowery garden to brighten up my morning or going on a business trip and not feeling lonely because I can enjoy the solitary moments by making a video call with my husband or my best friend.  On the other hand, care must be taken to make good use of all the benefits of technology with common sense and balance. One of Vivo’s successful campaigns addresses this issue in a very light and responsible way, exploiting the concept of “#temhorapratudo”. And that sums it up.

Help us solve one of humanity’s great enigmas: the potato omelette… With onion or without onion?

With onion for sure. I love potato omelettes, so I enjoy either, but it’s indisputable that with onion it has much more flavour! The truth is that Spanish cuisine is divine and very tasty, even more so for those, like me, who appreciate good food.

Nominate another colleague to appear in this section

I have met an immense amount of interesting people over the last 20 years, one of the most valuable things Telefónica has given me. So I have a long list and it’s difficult for me to nominate one… I would even like to take this opportunity to thank Chema Alonso, my colleague in the Technology community, for his very affectionate nomination in the midst of so many interesting people I could name… As for my nominations, I’m going to nominate my fellow Brazilians and name two who are simply phenomenal: Niva Ribeiro, who is one of the people who truly knows the most about people and cares about everyone in a unique and special way and also Alex Salgado, who is brilliant in many dimensions and always brings a challenging perspective on any topic.

In #Thespanishomelettething tag section we interview Telefónica’s employees on a variety of topics, while trying to solve one of humanity’s greatest dilemmas.

The Spanish omelette ranking







Get into the ranking! We want to know about you – tell us your story!
* This interview is aimed at Telefónica’s employees


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