This morning, at the Col·legi d’Economistes de Catalunya, the General Director of Hero for Southern Europe, Sergio Elizalde, took part in the conference Spanish Executives around the World: Key Factors for Growth and Innovation when Everything is Different: Horizon 2020', organized by EAE Business School and APD. In the session, he highlighted the fact that “professional profiles with greater adaptability, flexibility and digital immersion have more opportunities because the situation we deal with today will be different tomorrow”.
In a market characterized by “constant change”, in which “consumers want it all – price, quality, an emotional experience and sustainability”, we have to “pay close attention and not take anything for granted”. “A constant drive and passion for what you do will enable you to see new opportunities and survive”, he added. In this respect, Elizalde gave the example of Hero, a company that started as a producer and distributor of jams, but which has now moved into the manufacture of baby food.
Within a context in which “the digital has overtaken the physical”, Elizalde highlighted the emergence of technologies such as 3D printing, which makes the supply chain less expensive, and the Internet of Things, as well as the fact that “people have the power”, referring to platforms such as Airbnb, Wallapop, Netflix and Bla Bla Car.
The digital issue led us on to discuss millenials: people born between 1980 and 2000 whose ‘selfish’ attitude brands strive to seduce. However, Elizalde focused on ‘oldenials’ (consumers over 40), because “this is where there is a greater concentration of the population with higher purchasing power”.
A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
A very important issue in the food industry is obesity. “We have to fight obesity. At Hero, we strive to give our consumers the best. The food we eat when we are young has an impact on us and so we have to be very careful. We work with seasonal, regional ingredients and our labels are well-presented and clear”, he explained on this issue.
In this respect, a company’s sustainability has to be “controlled or it gives a bad impression”. “Companies have to be sustainable, firstly in terms of their employees being happy, then the community that they operate in and serve, and then finally in purely environmental terms. Companies should aim to have less packaging because it costs less, uses less electricity and, as a result, is more efficient and profitable”.
Over the course of Sergio Elizalde’s career, he has worked at companies such as Reckitt Benckiser, PepsiCo Foods International, Sara Lee Corporation and the Puig Group. He has previously lived in London, Paris and Mexico. He has held senior positions at Hero Spain since 2010 and he is currently the General Director for Southern Europe. As well as holding positions of responsibility in leading companies in his sector, he lectures at a number of universities. He is also a member of the BBVA Regional Advisory Board and the APD (Association for Management Progress), as well as being the Chairman of the Multi-sector Association of Food and Beverage Companies.