What has been your career path?
I graduated from a business school in Switzerland. I joined Arkema in 1986 as a customer adviser. After that I held different positions: sales representative, head of sales in Switzerland, head of the Europe zone, and head of the export zone. I was then appointed as head of products before becoming sales director four years ago in the oxygenated products business unit.
What is your job about?
I have a variety of responsibilities, such as managing the teams (22 customer advisers, 9 sales representatives and several zone managers). I also have to make sure that sales go through, as well as managing networks, developing projects, and sometimes dealing with emergencies.
What is your typical working day like?
I don't have time to get bored! I take part in a lot of meetings with my teams as well as with other contacts, such as customers. I also travel a lot, particularly when deals are being negotiated.
What do you like about your job?
I like helping people to grow. I do that by letting the sales representatives expand their remit, change to different zones, or indeed to different business lines. It is important to keep moving employees to new assignments that will make them better at their jobs. I also like implementing projects, such as structuring the network of distributors and agents.
What are your qualities with respect to your job?
You have to be multilingual and multicultural, which is the case for me. You also need to be sensible, to stay grounded, and keep your sense of humor during crisis situations! Above all, the job requires solid experience in sales and knowledge of the rules, laws and practices of international trade.
What are your career plans?
One day I would like to take over the running of a subsidiary.
What do you like about Arkema?
In Arkema you can undertake initiatives and I have always enjoyed great freedom of action. When I compare Arkema with other companies, I find that, here, you often have the job that you make for yourself.
Is there a particular memory from your job that stands out?
Although I know full well that in Arab countries you should not reach out to shake a woman's hand, I did exactly that once without thinking… I stayed there with my hand in the air and it felt like a very lonely moment! Naturally the colleague who was with me did not miss the opportunity to make fun of me, as was only proper!
Do you have a motto in your work or life in general?
"Keep it simple. Think but don't overthink. And above all, go from thought to action! Don't take yourself too seriously, just take a serious approach to your work."
The role of the sales teams is to build up a customer portfolio that is sustainable in the long term, by meeting customers' specific requirements with high-quality products