Paul Fakhri European Head, Building Components Practice, Lyon and Paris
Building components, an important sector of the global industry, is still highly fragmented. Although the larger industry players are becoming more and more global, the vast majority of business is still done by local or national SMEs, often under local building regulations and standards. The industry is known for its conservative culture, with a relatively high resistance to change, which also accounts for the slow process of globalization within the sector.
The outlook for the sector is undoubtedly poor in the short term. However, some of the challenges faced by the industry also represent its main opportunities for further growth and development. They include encouraging the take-up of sustainable practices and ensuring that “green construction” will be further developed. Effective green construction can lead to increased investments in R&D and innovation, reduced operating costs for the end user, and reduced environmental impact. A further opportunity lies in the development of emerging markets, where increasing investments are being made in the field of construction.
What skills are needed now?
Despite the downturn in the building components industry, it is important to maintain the skills needed at all levels of the organization, whether production profiles in a predominantly process industry, sales skills in markets with a large number of regulations and constraints, or marketing and R&D abilities in a highly innovative industry.
Market players will thus need to retain top executives who can successfully lead them through this recession and develop the next generation of talent to step up to top management positions.
How can Egon Zehnder support the building components industry?
In this business environment, companies need to ensure that essential competencies are available and developed in their management teams. Egon Zehnder’s global Building Components Practice is ideally positioned to meet our clients’ needs, through specific industry expertise, as well as knowledge of, and access to, top management talent in the sector.
We proactively identify executives and top strategic talent in the global market, with competencies in such critical functions as operations, R&D, sales and marketing, as well as general management.
Our Leadership Strategy Services Practice offers proven expertise in systematically evaluating and benchmarking companies’ existing management portfolio on both individual and team levels. This strategic approach to creating top-class management teams can only be realized with the backing of a company’s CEO and more particularly its board. Both need experience of leading their companies through turbulent times.
How we operate
All of our consultants acquired extensive professional experience in the building materials industry, or a related industry before joining Egon Zehnder. This expertise is embedded in our global network. Our entire firm operates as a single profit center, which both encourages and rewards collaboration.