Blitz interview with Tiberiu Dima, Managing director BASF Ukraine, Head of Country Cluster East Europe
LDaily: What are the main results of the first half of 2019?
T. Dima: This year, our business development in Ukraine is positive, with steady growth in most of our industries. BASF Agricultural Solutions, which is our main business in the country, has grown more than 15% in value.
The first half of 2019 was very important for our company both on the global level and in Ukraine. In November 2018, BASF launched a new global strategy, which aims at changing the entire organization. For months, we were busy implementing it. It is a challenging but a very important time for the company, and I am convinced that all our efforts will result in the completely new BASF – much faster and more flexible, with significantly simplified processes and a sharpened portfolio, innovative and customer-centric.
In Ukraine, the first half of the year was a time for changes in the management. Andreas Lier, after staying with the Ukrainian team for 7 years, moved to Bucharest and took the position of the Managing and Administrative Director at BASF Romania. Mariia Bondar was appointed as the new Financial Director at BASF Ukraine, and Andriy Kasian became the Head of BASF Agricultural Solutions for Ukraine, Moldova and Caucasus.
As for me, after almost 6 years as the Country Manager BASF Agricultural Solutions for Ukraine, Moldova and Caucasus, I am now honored to take over responsibilities of the Managing director BASF Ukraine. I am very enthusiastic about this professional challenge, and together with the Ukrainian team, we are very committed to further support in developing the Ukrainian economy and strengthening BASF’s presence on the Ukrainian market.
LDaily: How do employees influence the success of the company? What do you do to engage people as much as possible into the working process?
T. Dima: As I have mentioned above, BASF now lives through organizational changes. We understand that we need full support from our employees to successfully implement these changes. That is why internal processes and the way how we work together to answer the needs of our customers are the focus areas for us. In my new role, I will focus on the development of talented employees. We want to continue growing as a top, world-class employer in the region and providing support in shaping the new, modern and successful Ukraine. To achieve this, we need to have flexible structures and ensure our employees have the tools and skills necessary to be able to offer our customers differentiated and customized products and services. How are we going to engage people in the process? We will give them more entrepreneurial freedom and assign clear responsibilities, thus, enhancing the effectiveness of the business units, and consequently, improving customer satisfaction as well.
LDaily: Can you share your plans for the next 3 years? Do you consider any investment in Ukraine?
T. Dima: Today, we live in a world, which is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. But even in such a challenging environment, our target remains the same – we want to be the world’s leading chemical company for our customers. As for potential investments, we are considering such opportunities now and then. Ukraine is a very important market for BASF. Especially if we consider Country Cluster East Europe, which also includes Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia. We strongly believe in the country and its potential and will continue to support our customers and partners in the region. With our knowledge, products and solutions across multiple industries, we are determined to support the sustainable development of the Ukrainian economy. In Ukraine, apart from agriculture, we see a lot of potential in food and feed, mining, chemicals, and performance materials.
LDaily: What problems and challenges do you face while working in Ukraine?
T. Dima: BASF is the world leader in chemistry production. One of the issues we are facing in Ukraine is counterfeit products. We see fake products coming onto the market in different areas, in crop protection in particular. However, it is not only our problem; it creates obstacles for other market players as well. BASF is always about the exceptional quality of its products and solutions. Every year, our company invests about €2 billion in research and development. However, fake products put BASF quality benchmark into a risk. We regularly fight counterfeit products. Together with business associations – the European Business Association and the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB) – we put a lot of joint actions into finding the right solution to fake products on the market.
LDaily: Do you see any changes in the business climate over the years of the company’s operation on the Ukrainian market?
T. Dima: At BASF, we work very closely with representatives of almost all industrial sectors, which gives us an opportunity to feel the everyday pulse of the country. We have to acknowledge that the business climate has improved. European business is coming to Ukraine. There is still much to change and still much work to do. But we are optimistic about the development of the country.
LDaily: How political changes may influence the company? What are your expectations from the new government? In your opinion, should the state authorities get involved in business operations?
T. Dima: Our expectations from the newly elected authorities are similar to those, formulated by the European Business Association. We believe that counteracting the shadow economy, the continuation of harmonization of the Ukrainian legislation with EU norms, tax regulation, customs, infrastructure, advanced technologies, human and natural resources should be focus areas. Active actions in these directions will certainly help to create better conditions for business and improve the investment climate in Ukraine.
LDaily: Most likely you made mistakes at work. What were they? What do you do to correct them? Who helps you do that?
T. Dima: Mistakes are part of anyone’s personal and professional life. I believe we can look differently at mistakes, focusing on the experience. One important lesson that I have learnt is that challenges mastered – are opportunities won. If you have a good team and loyal partners, if you make reasonable business decisions and plan in advance, you will be able to manage even the most difficult situations. We are proud that BASF products, solutions, and continuous technical support help Ukrainian companies stay more competitive and develop successfully for over 27 years on the company’s presence on the Ukrainian market.
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