Aspecta recently named Marcel Kies the global chief executive officer of Aspecta. He had held the position of managing director of Aspecta's European branch, Aspecta B.V., for the past three years. Kies is a respected international sales and marketing business manager with more than 30 years of experience in the flooring industry for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer environments. His leadership thrives working with geographically diverse and multicultural teams.

We recently caught up with Kies to learn more about his goals for the company and his outlook for the fast-growing luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and multilayer categories.

FT: Tell us about your new role?

Kies: We have done a tremendous job in the last four years building, basically from scratch, the Aspecta brand, and we are still building, not only in the U.S., but from a global perspective: Europe, Russia, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

What is going to happen now is what I call the second phase to improve and to use some case studies from Europe. While the market in Europe may be a little bit different, there are things that we can implement in the U.S. and Canada. My first objective is to structure that over the next eight to 12 months. My role is to be more focused as we are seeing Aspecta as a separate business unit, and since Aspecta is primarily focused on the architectural and design community, it needs to be clearer to see how we go to market differently from our other businesses.

FT: What inspires your confidence in the Aspecta brand?

Kies: We are working in a country, the U.S., that is growing every year. Secondly, there is an oversupply of suppliers, products and brands, but just a few make a real difference. We know there is a customer base that are not just looking for commodity product but are looking for new things, more value, which is what Aspecta stands for.

This company is leading in development, innovation, sustainability projects, JUST labels, and Declare labels, so this will help us in the A&D community to differentiate ourselves from many others. We have a lot of ammunition to play with and a lot of things in the pipeline. Our business is long term, so we need to build, build credibility, build visibility and find the perfect marriage with our distribution partners.

FT: Where is growth in LVT coming from?

Kies: The growth of LVT is combination of taking product share from other categories. For example, in Europe, when you look at the commercial market, one of the biggest growing segments for LVT is the hospitality market. We are taking out laminate and carpet from the rooms in the hotels, and it has incredible potential and volume, which is just starting. Retail commercial is another area. Designers are embracing new colors and textures and are looking at LVT in a completely different way than they were 10 years ago. LVT is replacing stone, tile and soft surfaces. Even in existing traditional applications we see that LVT able to grow fast.

FT: What about the multilayer category?

Kies: When you look at the multilayer category, ISOCORE technology, this is a product solution that is just operational for two years, and it is a category that is just starting. That growth will be significant because we are competing with laminate. Due to the quality, the form, the design, the durability of the product, people are understanding that multilayer is a real solution and an alternative to laminate. Today we talk about LVT as a base layer, but the future of multilayer is just starting.

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