BBC World News’ new eight-part series, The Ideas Exchange, pairs up business leaders from around the world to debate today’s business landscape and their secrets to success.
The fifth episode sees CEO of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, Frederico Curado, meet Ines Kolmsee, the only female CEO of a publicly listed company in Germany.
Regarded as a leading spokesman for Brazilian business, Frederico Curado joined Embraer after graduating in aeronautical engineering and has risen up through the ranks to become its CEO.
Frederico Curado said: “I started my career as an Engineer at level 1A. It was the absolute first step on the ladder. So I really know the company from the inside.
“Embraer was founded in 1969, with a clear vision that first, it could not be just military, it had to be civilian, and second, it had to address the international market, which was at that time a crazy dream.“
Embraer has a turnover of $6 billion and is now the third largest manufacturer of commercial jets in the world, after Boeing and Airbus. The majority of its planes are manufactured in Brazil.
Ines Kolmsee is the only female CEO of a publicly listed company in Germany. The company she runs, SKW Metallurgie, makes chemicals for the world’s steel industry.
Ines Kolmsee said: “I think the entrepreneurial side is extremely important in running a company. The biggest compliment that somebody can give me is to say ‘You run the company as if it was yours, as if it was your money and not shareholders money.’ That’s how I do it.
“I like to have entrepreneurial people in my local companies and they like the freedom I’m giving them and they deliver the results too, to have the match between the decentralised style and the control that is still needed.”
SKW Metallurgie is a truly global enterprise with production plants in Russia, America, China, Europe and Brazil.
Kolmsee continues: “I think being successful on a global level, you need to enjoy it. I really enjoy working internationally. I would feel very limited if I had to work only in Germany. I really enjoy meeting people from other countries, and understanding the business environment in other countries.
“The business practices that we see in China in our markets just don’t work for us. We have very strict code of conduct rules and we want to have a margin, and those two things don’t work together in China in our business currently. So once we see that changing, that’s definitely a market that we’ll tackle.”
The Ideas Exchange, sponsored by HSBC, airs weekly on BBC World News on Saturdays at 02.30 and 15.30 GMT and Sundays at 09.30 and 21.30 GMT. Visit: www.bbc.com/exchangingideas
I like to have entrepreneurial people in my local companies and they like the freedom I’m giving them and they deliver the results too, to have the match between the decentralised style and the control that is still needed."