Interview with Emili Brau, new General Manager at Grupo ADI

1.- Personal introduction

I’m 56 years old. I’m married and have two children

Degree in Chemical Engineering (IQS), Master’s in Business Administration (ESADE)

2023 marked my 30th year in the Chemicals Industry. I have spent most of that time in multinational environments, at companies like Henkel, Pulcra, Cognis and BASF. In my career I’ve always been involved with the production of chemical substances as raw materials for different industries, which has allowed me to pursue my profession as a chemical engineer and learn a lot about production processes, in a natural way, almost as a result of the technical knowledge I was acquiring, I took an interest in generating competitive advantages that would facilitate the sale of products and, in this way, I ended up in business management positions.

In 2018, after 25 years at the multinational, the opportunity arose to « board » the QUATERNIA project, a small chemical company that had been founded by some of my « bosses » during my early stages, and that had been acquired by Grupo ADI. I loved the project and decided to take the leap. Over the last 5 years I’ve been striving, with my team, to grow the Chemicals Division at the Grupo ADI. I’m happy with the progress made, the results achieved, and, above all, the future prospects we have opened up.

In 2024 a new change is on the horizon for me. The mission is now that of General Management of Grupo ADI; different challenges that give me new energy.

Personally, I’m comfortable combining Chemical Science with people and generating business.

I consider myself a composed person, but, at the same time, someone eager for results. That might seem like a contradiction, but it works for me. As a leader, I trust in people’s ability to overcome challenges on their own through delegation, empowerment, and making room so each person can follow through on their responsibilities.

I like to see myself as a catalyst, removing obstacles so that the main figures at the business doing its work, its professionals and teams, can realize their maximum potential.

2.- Vision and Strategy.

At Grupo ADI, we envision our future with a solid business and organizational foundation, a company with a multinational presence, recognized and identifiable by our success in the market, as a supplier of agile solutions for our customers.

I think our business model is very powerful. We are quick to adapt to the needs of our customers. This is the key to our success. The strategy is to roll out this model geographically, as well as across different industrial segments and accessible technologies.

In 2024 our main expansion goals are focused on:

  • Brazil and France, within our Chemicals Division. We are committed to a significant expansion of our presence in Brazil and France, driving our growth in the Chemicals division. We will focus on strengthening our product lines in Personal & Home Care and Performance Products, offering innovative solutions that meet our customers’ changing demands.
    In technologies, there is great potential for increased activity in non-ionic surfactants. At the level of Industrial Segments, Detergency and Cosmetics will continue to be our cornerstones, although Construction is also key.
  • Latin America. We are committed to growth in countries beyond Brazil. Throughout the year 2024, we plan to lay the foundations for this expansion.
  • We are also succeeding in Morocco, and the Maghreb countries in general, so we must also exploit this strength.
  • At all our subsidiaries, with our Textile Division. In Textiles, as the core of Grupo ADI, we must grow in all the different countries, and we are well poised to do so.
  • In Spain and Portugal, with the Solutions Division. We will help our colleagues in Instruments and Electroplating with everything they may need for their consolidation and growth.

Internally, I emphasize strengthening our team so that we can work in a more coordinated way and with greater efficiency; all this, logically, while generating the profitability that our stakeholders have every right to expect.

3.- Leadership and Business Culture.

Corporate culture: The customer is at the heart of our business. I like a certain slogan, from the past: « At ADI, we all sell, or help to. » The gasoline driving our engine is the needs of our customers. Our ability to identify these needs, by engaging with our customers and delivering solutions to their needs, will determine our success in the market.

4.- Challenges and Opportunities.

We are also witnessing fierce competition in the Chemicals Industry. Commoditization poses a serious threat. In response, our focus is on generating imaginative solutions and concentrating on products that are specialties  (= what we know how to do, and not many others do).

This is a challenge in terms of keeping constantly up to date on new trends and technologies, and, therefore, at the very high level of our workers and teams.

Conceptually, the mega-trends of well-being and sustainability steer us as regards business generation opportunities, and adapting to the hesitation that also occurs in terms of our customers’ needs also offers us multiple opportunities.

5.- Change Management.

Communication, communication, and finally, more communication. People need to know the ‘why’ of things, and I think that conveying our growth objectives, how we want to achieve them, is crucial. We also must lead by example; as they say in English:  ̎walk the talk.̎

6.- Measuring Success.

An interesting point, as what is not measured does not exist. The objectives to be met must be, on the one hand, numerical: Quantity sold, Market Share, EBITDA, NWC, etc., but there must also be qualitative objectives, referring to people, well-being, satisfaction and presence in the country.

I’d also like to have environmental impact indicators, with improvement indicators. We will be addressing everything, in this case, through the EcoVadis indicator.

7.- Tips for the Team.

Be driven by the challenges you want to achieve. We want to do something important with our lives, and also at work. Grupo ADI provides us with the right playing field to do that. Let’s work together and, if we ever feel like we are falling behind, let’s raise our hands and ask for help! Will we be up to the challenge?