From a conglomerate to a globally leading specialty chemicals company.
With dynamic and profitable growth. In the last 17 years, our new CEO Martin Babilas made a decisive contribution to this success story, first as a project manager, then as Head of Strategic Business Development / M & A, and since 2007 as a member of the Management Board. Martin Babilas’ career is the best proof that continuity and change are not contradictions, but the very foundations of ALTANA’s success, now and in the future.
WE AIM TO CREATE TRUE ADDED VALUE FOR OUR CUSTOMERS TO THIS END, ALTANA CONTINUALLY REINVENTS ITSELF AND FOR THIS VERY REASON REMAINS TRUE TO ITSELF.
Corporate Culture as a Competitive Advantage
What distinguishes ALTANA? When this question is posed to Martin Babilas, the answer is surprising at first. “Our success is rooted to a significant extent in our unique corporate culture. It is the basis of our growth.”
But isn’t it leading products, new technologies, and customer-oriented service that distinguish ALTANA? “Certainly,” replies the CEO. But “all of this is only possible because we trust our employees and put a lot of confidence in them.” This generates the energy, says Babilas, to help innovative solutions become successful. “This constitutes a true competitive advantage.”
Babilas consciously leveraged employees’ willingness to become actively involved and help shape ALTANA to prepare himself for his new role as CEO. In the second half of 2015, he visited many sites around the world, asking hundreds of staff members to give their opinions on continuity and change at ALTANA, personally and via a survey on the Intranet.
The result highlights how important ALTANA’s culture of openness, trust, empowerment to act, and appreciation is to the employees. They believe that the top priority, more than anything else, is to preserve this culture. Incidentally, that openness is truly lived at ALTANA is reflected by the fact that the majority of the survey participants provided their names and e-mail addresses, although they were told expressly that they could remain anonymous if they wanted to.
At the same time, however, it is very apparent that the employees are willing to change, for example concerning the continual optimization of processes. “This is a demand that directly ties into our self-understanding of being close to customers and convincing them with innovation and knowhow time and time again,” says Babilas.
Challenges as an Engine of Change
The ALTANA Group intends to continue to concentrate on growing specialty chemicals markets in which it can distinguish itself through innovation, quality, and service and occupy leading market positions. Hence the company has to adapt to continually changing framework conditions to create added value for its customers. Markets develop, customer requirements change, and thus ever-new growth opportunities emerge for ALTANA.
One of these trends is the digital revolution, which will also transform the chemical industry. “I am firmly convinced that this holds great potential for us,” says Babilas. To master these and other challenges and seize the opportunities they offer, the strongly decentralized company intends to remain fast and flexible for its customers despite its increasing size, and additionally to enable a knowledge transfer and possible synergies between the divisions. For this purpose, ALTANA will promote mobility and diversity within the worldwide organization. And the company intends to continue on its growth path even without an economic tailwind.
Babilas is convinced that the company will succeed in this endeavor. “Our corporate culture is and remains the key to our success. In the future, too, ALTANA will be a place where people can excel and develop ideas and solutions of tomorrow.”
For Martin Babilas, empowerment to act is part of ALTANA’s DNA. The CEO, who has been working at ALTANA for 17 years, knows what he is talking about. “I always had the opportunity to shape ALTANA and grow with the company.”
Babilas is also straightforward yet versatile when it comes to reconciling his family with his profession. “I spend the majority of weekends with my family, and don’t constantly fiddle with my cell phone or laptop. And, during the week, in the office and on business trips, I concentrate completely on ALTANA.”