Q: Can you tell me a little bit about what this new role entails, and what it means for your company?
A: I am still in charge of the North American organization as president/CEO, in addition to becoming the managing director for nora worldwide, where I’m focusing on sales/marketing and the technical aspect of the business. I am responsible for five regions: North America, Europe, Germany, Asia/China and the rest of the world.
My goal is to develop one team with one strategy, and implement that specific strategy across our key market segments, so we all have the same focus as we continue to grow our international presence. My experience with this company goes more than 20 years. I’ve worked in Germany and North America to develop markets in Germany, the U.S. and Canada, using a structure and strategies that can be applied to other international markets.
Q: Your company has been in business for more than 60 years. How do you and your team ensure that nora stays relevant?
A: We always say one thing in our company: The only constant for us is change. Every year we look at the organization and change the approach if we need to, but at the same time we stay true to our strategy and our values. Everything hinges on our market segment focus, the resources we provide, the people we hire, and the strategy we have. You don’t see us introducing three, four, or five new products a year, because to us that’s irrelevant.
Our customers see us first and foremost as a resource if they have any construction questions, flooring questions, or recommendations for products. When we do develop new products, we develop them not for our customers but withour customers. We develop all of our products working hand-in-hand with architects and designers, on a worldwide level.
Q: Sustainability and being “green” are important considerations for any company in the flooring industry. What steps is nora taking to be more sustainable?
A: Sustainability for us is not an initiative; it has already been part of our culture for many, many years. We were already doing these things 20 and 30 years ago in Germany and Europe well before they were called “green.” It’s part of our culture. On one hand, it’s part of being a responsible citizen. On the other hand, it is simply smart business practice. For these reasons, we see no need to make this a big marketing message.
Q: What do you see as some of nora’s strengths and opportunities?
A: We don’t see ourselves as a typical flooring company; we see ourselves as a solution provider, the go-to company in healthcare, education, industry, public buildings and transportation segments.
There is growth potential in our different market segments, as well as specific regional growth opportunities. New trends, new technologies and new construction and renovation projects are fueling the desire and need to build improved hospitals, healthcare facilities and institutions. As a result, we anticipate opportunities for growth in multiple markets, including Europe, Denmark, France, Germany, North America, Canada, Latin America and China.
Q: Is the state of the economy a challenge at all?
A: Actually, in some cases it works to our advantage. Our belief is that even when economic conditions are not supportive they should not affect our growth capability. Take North America for example. We have grown in North America for the last 10 years. Even when there were years when the economy was still declining, we still had double-digit growth. With the correct strategy and execution of that strategy, we should be able to grow.