Stahl’s new CEO, Maarten Heijbroek, reflects on his first 100 days in the driving seat
“I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the Stahl culture”
How would you sum up your first 100 days in a sentence?
In the first three months I have tried to learn as much as I can about our company, our customers, our markets, and our technologies, since Stahl’s markets were new territory to me.
What have you been up to?
I’ve paid visits to all Stahl sites around Europe as well as our operations in Mexico. I’ve also met many customers, mostly in person but some online. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to visit all of our overseas locations yet due to COVID-19 restrictions, but I cannot wait to meet them in person soon. And together with the Stahl Leadership I am working hard on Stahl’s strategic roadmap for the next decade.
Has anything surprised you or given you more confidence for the road ahead?
I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the “Stahl culture”. What’s really shone through in all the conversations I’ve had is that Stahl is a very entrepreneurial organization with a very high level of customer intimacy. Our slogan, “If it can be imagined, it can be created”, really sums up what this company is about. Likewise, the team spirit I see among employees is very strong.
Have you noticed particular challenges?
It’s a challenging period for the entire industry right now. The current economic rebound is creating supply-side issues in the form of severe raw material shortages and surging prices for chemical ingredients as well as energy. Meanwhile, a global shortage of shipping containers has further disrupted chemical supply chains. We must continue to address these issues head-on to minimize the impact on Stahl’s customers.
Looking beyond the immediate horizon, our industry is undergoing a major transition as our customers and other stakeholders move toward more responsible and environmentally friendly ways of working. The recent announcements by automotive OEMs regarding new sustainability targets for their interior materials is just one example of this shift in mindset. Stahl is well positioned to meet the changing needs of different industries – we offer world-class expertise in coatings for flexible substrates, and we can match this with a robust sustainability proposition, as demonstrated by our recent EcoVadis Gold rating.
Stahl will celebrate its 100-year anniversary nine years from now. What kind of company is Stahl, almost a century on from its establishment?
I can point to only a few companies in our industry that have stayed successful over such a long period. We are in a very strong position heading into our second century, but it’s important that, as a company, we don’t get complacent and that we keep reinventing ourselves.
With the future ever more difficult to predict, Stahl needs to remain agile and flexible to stay relevant for tomorrow’s customers and their needs. We must continue to build on our technological strengths and work hard to earn our place in a much more sustainable world.
Stahl’s ambition is to be the go-to partner at the center of a truly sustainable value chain, providing high performance coating layers for any flexible substrate. It’s up to us to take our customers by the hand and lead them into a new responsible world!