Eder Ramos has been the global president of the Fragrance division since late 2020.
MARKET & TECHNOLOGY
At the turn of the year, there were a number of changes in the management of the Fragrance and Cosmetic Ingredients divisions. With Eder Ramos and Dr. Jörn Andreas, there are two new Global Presidents.
Dr. Jörn Andreas, the new Global President Cosmetic Ingredients at Symrise.
At home in Fragrance
EDER RAMOS, GLOBAL PRESIDENT FRAGRANCE DIVISION, HAS HELD VARIOUS POSITIONS AT SYMRISE SINCE 1983.
What does growth mean to you? And is the focus on growth always necessary? Growth is necessary. To deliver what the shareholder is expecting, you need to grow. It doesn’t mean that you have to deliver double-digit growth every year. What you need to have is a plan to make sure that you have sustained growth over years, instead of a spike followed by a big drop. But you also need to look at the stakeholders. To grow in a sustainable way, you need to make sure that everybody in the company is going in the same direction. And lastly, it’s not possible anymore just to think about growth without looking at society and the environment, too.
Growth, for you, is not just a financial figure. You are also talking about values. Yes. For instance: We really need to understand our environmental impact. I believe that Symrise is doing a great job in that regard. Our project must be sustainable, green chemistry. I think that Symrise is on top of the list when we talk about fragrance in terms of sustainability.
How do you measure growth on a personal level? When I see my family, when I see my children and my grandchild, I feel like I achieved so much. I’ve put two fantastic beings into the world, helped them and passed some of my values on to them. I am 59 now and I have a fantastic person living with me for more than 40 years. We are still having a lot of fun together. That’s a big achievement for me.
What kind of mindset did help you to achieve your goals? Discipline is really important. You need to have a plan. You need to have a strategy. As a good manager, you always need to have a plan B — even a plan C sometimes. I also don’t like an aggressive, top-down approach of management. We are a team. We work together, shoulder to shoulder. We support each other. The atmosphere is an important factor in helping to deliver good performance. You also need to see what is coming in advance and act accordingly. Look at the pandemic. Last year in March, I came back from China. I think I was one of the last persons to travel back home from there. It was clear something big was happening. What I am getting at is this: you need a strong team behind You in a situation like this. To coordinate, to understand what is going on, to estimate the impact of it on our business and to make decisions accordingly.
Let us talk about your new position in the Fragrance Lead. I started 37 years ago as a junior in sales for fragrance. I’ve built my entire career in fragrance. Then I received the opportunity to switch to Cosmetic Ingredients, which was a challenge at first. I learned a lot on the cosmetics side. I had the opportunity to really leverage and grow the business. Coming back to fragrance now is like coming home to be honest.
What are your plans to grow your division in the next years? The Fragrance division is a recognized innovator and disruptor, constantly developing new markets and business models. The backward integration of our raw material palette produced internally by AM Division and the leadership position on this area is key for our future success. Fragrance has taken on pioneering roles in the application of Artificial Intelligence and innovative market research. Particularly through disruption Fragrance will continue to differentiate itself from competition in a way that matters to our customers.
Return to growth
DR. JÖRN ANDREAS, GLOBAL PRESIDENT COSMETIC INGREDIENTS, HAS BEEN WITH THE COMPANY SINCE 2011.
Dr. Andreas, do you think a company can operate in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner while also pursuing permanent growth? In my view, that’s not necessarily a contradiction. For me, growth means learning and developing, and it is therefore closely linked with innovation and change. Innovation requires resources and these resources have to be generated. Symrise is highly growth-oriented. This sets us apart from other companies, including on the capital market, and is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, this means we enable investments in innovation, which then deliver sustainable solutions.
What role does the capital market play in growth at Symrise? The capital market is extremely important for both of our goals – sustainability and growth. Growth is essential in order to realize profits and the rising share prices that result. This means the company has to be on a growth trajectory and in good shape. However, the capital market – like any prudent investor – also expects growth to be achieved by means of a viable and forward-looking business model. Otherwise, our profits and the resulting trend in our share price would not be sustainable. For this reason, sustainability criteria play a very important role in investment decisions today. So they are both necessary, and ideally, each reinforces the other.
What does a “growth mindset” mean to you? Symrise is very agile for a company of its size. After all these years, you would think that we would be something of a tanker. But since Symrise arose through the merger of several different companies, we have kept a very strong entrepreneurial mindset. That is a hallmark of our company and a source of strength. We look at where the possibilities and opportunities are. We are able to adapt relatively quickly and to exploit these opportunities without having to run them past a large number of decision-making committees. That is particularly true of Cosmetic Ingredients, which I have now taken charge of.
How do you measure growth at a personal level? I follow a simple rule: I try to end each day better than I started it. And I haven’t given up trying to run another marathon in less than four hours, despite having a tight daily family routine with four children.
What are your concrete plans for Cosmetic Ingredients this year? We aim to return to growth. That is our main goal for 2021. 2020 was a challenge on account of the pandemic. It wasn’t a bad year, but it was the first year without growth in over a decade. We will focus on implementing current projects as well as our key new product launches. We have some exciting new products in the pipeline to strengthen our pioneering role in the field of green chemistry and scientifically tested innovation. We are also establishing additional growth engines to boost our expansion. This includes targeted additional investments in specific focus markets as well as strategic acquisitions. One good example of this is our investment in the SundayIISunday startup, which focuses on innovative hair care, together with our customer Johnson & Johnson.