From Punjab to northern Germany: Deepak Kapoor is working in Hamburg to bring greener chemistry to a wide range of industries across Europe.
How was 2019 for your company and what do you expect for the future?
Buoyed by high demand in 2017 & 2018, our company invested heavily in 2019 to augment capacities of existing products and broaden the product portfolio. We expect to see consistent business growth during next three years on account of these investments. Since our products mainly go into automotive and aerospace sectors, we have stiff targets to get the product qualifications done.
Where do you like to spend your vacations?
I like to spend my vacations in the Mediterranean, preferably near a lake and I frequently travel to Lombardy in Italy. For my next holidays I will be going to Goa.
Are there any technological developments that will have a particular influence on your business development?
Cleaner energy and faster connectivity will continue to change our lifestyles, requiring continuous technological breakthroughs which demand high performance materials like Fluoropolymers. New regulatory compliances focussing on health and safety will be effective in 2020 and it necessitates the use of Fluoropolymers in many ways. Our company has invested heavily in R&D to develop products for a green & sustainable future.
How many people work for your company in Hamburg and worldwide?
We are a wholly owned subsidiary of an Indian company and manage business worth 100m EUR in Europe through an office, warehouse & technical centre. We manage European operations with a team of 15 employees, most of which are business development and technical specialists. Accounting, tax, legal, compliance, HR, warehousing & distribution functions are all outsourced to reputed companies in Hamburg. Worldwide, we have more than 1500 employees.
Which principals, management tools or methods have you found useful for your company?
Employee Engagement with concise, crisp and clear communication helps us with organisational building which is the pillar of strength and growth of a company.
Which characteristic do you value most in your employees?
For me, “a sense of ownership” is very important. Self-driven attitude brings motivation, fuels improvisation, resulting in continuous development.
Where do you consider home?
It is a place where someone waits for you to return soon.
What did you want to become when you were a child? What was the alternative to your current line of work?
During childhood, I wanted to become an army officer as I liked the uniforms. It was by chance that I got into my current line of profession. Alternatively, I could have got into the medical field.
Apart from Hamburg, which are your three favourite cities?
Chandigarh, St. Petersburg & Rome.
What do you like about Hamburg as a location for your company?
We chose Hamburg as our European headquarters eight years ago based on its connectivity by air, rail, road and water. With the second largest container handling port in Europe and direct shipping line connections, excellent options in terms of warehousing and fast customs clearances, availability of highly experienced professionals in accounting, tax and law practice make it the ideal place for us to operate all over Europe including Russia and Turkey.
What was the last business achievement of you and your team that still makes you happy?
We work closely with our customers on the technical side to understand future challenges of their industry and develop solutions which require a supplier-buyer partnership. Backed by strong management commitment and R&D initiative, we developed a new product line this year that puts us way ahead of our competitors.
What drives you?
Strong belief with a sense of pride in what I do keeps me deeply involved. Never-ending challenges feed my mind with non-stop excitement and motivate me.
You have one wish. What do you wish for?
Time for self and my loved ones
Did you have a mentor who helped you in your career? Have you been a mentor to others?
In first few years of the start of one’s career, a mentor is necessary to guide and cultivate the right attitude. Of course, I shall always remain indebted to my mentors. In my current role, I am feeling great to mentor people and I learn a lot from them as well.
Any advice for people embarking on a career while in their twenties?
Freshers starting their careers should have an open and flexible attitude. They should focus on skill development and exposure maximisation. They should work on all available opportunities without thinking about the end result.
The Indian chemist and marketing expert holds a degree from Punjab Technical University. He came to Hamburg over six years ago to head Gujarat Fluorochemicals GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a leading global producer of fluoropolymers. The company is part of the $3-billion INOX Group, specialising in industrial gases, refrigerants, cryogenic engineering, entertainment and renewable energy. The Hamburg office markets and distributes polymers and compounds to customers across Europe.