Social Responsibility: In conversation with Thierry Wolter
Board Member of CERATIZIT Group; Board Member at BIP Investment Partners SA; Vice Chairman at Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR)
“As a privately-owned business, we have a social responsibility. We are a big employer and so have a duty to the thousands of people who depend upon our company.”
A focus on human capital has been a strong motivation in the career of Thierry Wolter, a Board Member for CERATIZIT Group.
Since its inception in 1931 in Luxembourg, CERATIZIT has been a specialist manufacturer in metal cutting and wear protection solutions. 86 years later it is a close to a billion euro conglomerate present in more than 50 countries and the fourth
largest manufacturer of hard material products in the world.
The commercial success of CERATIZIT, he believes, is at least partly explainable by the culture that it has managed to foster and maintain.
“[In our company] we have a pioneering spirit,” he explains. “Our culture of entrepreneurship is strong. Holding on to the roots of a business whilst adapting to a changing landscape of investment opportunities is a difficult but essential balancing act.”
Enabling people to fulfil their career potential is a global responsibility that the firm takes seriously.
“As a privately-owned business, we have a social responsibility. We are a big employer and so have a duty to the thousands of people who depend upon our company. Our strategy as a corporation must reflect the responsibility we have to communities to create jobs."
"We have launched initiatives so that we can ensure we are the employer of choice and that we consistently provide a positive working environment.”
For Mr Wolter, having a people-focussed culture is critical as all industries start to feel pressure from disruptive new business models. The trend of “Uberisation”, where brands no longer have to own assets in order to be able to compete, means firms will need to tap into additional sources of value for end clients.
“It will be about developing trusting relationships – that’s what makes the difference at the end of the day. As industries mature, the products sold risk being seen simply as commodities. The softer elements to business relationships – the people and culture of the firm, for example – are important.”
Like many successful business owners, he looks eastwards as well as to Europe for future investment opportunities and believes technology will unlock new sources of growth.
“My investment philosophy is driven by wider macroeconomic trends. I am guided by the success metrics of specific regions, areas, and new technologies. I am particularly drawn to invest in India as well as in alternative energy. I see great potential in the Internet of Things.
These are really promising opportunities, in my eyes.”
The above article is an excerpt from BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report 2018.
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Picture source: de.industryarena.com