Evonik board member Patrik Wohlhauser: “We’re looking for rough diamonds in the rough”
Despite the great Degussa tradition, the specialty chemicals company Evonik started under a new name in 2007 in order to draw on “strength for new things” according to the claim. In addition to product segments, business areas and country markets, Patrik Wohlhauser is also responsible for “Marketing, Sales & Innovation” on the Executive Board. In an interview, the 49-year-old Swiss explains how he understands and promotes excellence in the last-mentioned area of responsibility, why there is an internal team of experts and who his “House of Marketing” should offer a home.
“We want to grow strongly,” explains Wohlhauser as the drive for all the effort. Evonik is spending a lot of money on this: the Group plans to invest six billion euros in internal growth by 2016. It should be another billion for acquisitions. Evonik is providing around 100 million euros of this for corporate venturing in order to accelerate growth through strategic investments in start-ups and funds and thus through new activities. The focus of investment is clearly on the east and west coast of the USA.
“We are looking for uncut rough diamonds that we want to discover early on. Like truffle pigs, we keep an eye out for such companies, ”says the group board member. In addition, 2,500 employees in their own research and development work increasingly with customers on innovations. An example: “We are researching renewable raw materials to replace oil and gas,” says Wohlhauser. In addition to resource efficiency, Evonik has identified issues relating to health, nutrition and globalization as the four most important megatrends for its own future business. In addition, trend scouts are out and about around the world to identify emerging new needs at an early stage.
“System for profitable success”
His 80-strong “Marketing Sales Excellence” (MSE) team works as the central department for all of Evonik’s operational units. The experts should develop “a system for profitable successes” and also pass on methods and skills in internal training courses. The “House of Marketing” is to emerge from this, which Wohlhauser explains: “The house has to be designed differently depending on the division. Nevertheless, there is a foundation of a common understanding. In a sense, we transform our corporate strategy into business strategies. “
You can read the detailed interview with Patrik Wohlhauser in the current issue 9/2013 of absatzwirtschaft – magazine for marketing, which you can get in our online shop at: www.absatzwirtschaft.de.
You can find more excerpts from the conversation with the Evonik Executive Board here.