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How can nonwoven companies increase their profit margin? Can you give your views on the same?
I think the key here is to really focus on developing and selling products that customers want and need, instead of pushing technological innovations that do not have market appeal. At the same time, maintaining a competitive cost structure is essential.
You were granted retention shares at the time of your appointment as the president and CEO of Ahlstrom. What are retention shares and why is it so important in a multinational company like Ahlstrom?
I do not wish to comment on my personal remuneration. As a general comment, I can say that reward and recognition plays a key role in any multinational company at various management levels, since competition for the best talent is intense.
Can you give us the latest applications of nonwovens, especially in filtration and healthcare?
One Ahlstrom product that I can mention here is Ahlstrom Flow2Save, which is a high efficiency air application designed to improve indoor air quality, which is especially important in public buildings such as hospitals and schools.
You have played various roles as a senior management in many companies. What have you learnt from all such experiences about management?
I am a salesman by nature, so alignment with customer strategy is what you do to keep the customers loyal and happy. I believe in simplicity and speed in achieving goals. You need to follow the numbers all the time to make the right decision, and you need to have your people engaged and on board with what is being done.
I would like to quote one of your earlier statements - "The changes in operational and management structure will help to clarify the priorities for each business". Can you explain this viewpoint of yours?
Sure. These changes have been recently made by me in the structure and organization, and are linked to the need to simplify. We have an operating model which has been designed for a bigger company, so there is a lot of work to do. By simplifying our structure and organization, I believe we can much better assess what is important for us and who is accountable for what. Defining our priorities right will help us to achieve faster execution and serve our customers even better.
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