Michel Giannuzzi took over as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Verallia Group in September 2017. He was born in 1964 and previously served for just over a decade as CEO of Tarkett, a global leader of innovative flooring and sports surface solutions. During his tenure at Tarkett, Mr Giannuzzi pursued a profitable and sustainable growth strategy, which led to a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2013. Prior to that, he held several leading positions within the Michelin and Valeo Groups, having graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and Harvard Business School.
“I have always been passionate about all my assignments” he explains. “I love challenges and the teamwork to be developed to succeed. And of course, pride comes naturally with people development and success!”
Having always worked for industrial companies, Michel Giannuzzi has found the glass packaging industry especially interesting because it is highly process-intensive. And after his first year, there are no regrets about joining.
“It is an industry where experience matters” he says. “Tremendous knowledge is accumulated over decades and people rely a lot on their personal experience and knowhow. They have long tenures in the company and this is of course an important asset for Verallia. On the other hand, it is an ‘inward looking’ business, without too much exchange with other industries and where most people stay their entire careers within the same company.”
In his first year with the organisation, Mr Giannuzzi has helped Verallia to shape its values around themes that were already in its DNA and that resonate most closely with him. First and foremost, this includes a strong focus on customers and a passion to serve them, together with respect for the workforce, laws and the environment. “Thirdly, I really want people to feel empowered and accountable for their results” he says. “And of course, people are more efficient when they work as a team, so teamwork is important.”
Michel Giannuzzi’s management style is based on these four tenets. “It is a very straightforward and direct style, because I am people- and results-focused. My personal philosophy is to walk the talk… I say what I do and I do what I say!”
As CEO, Mr Giannuzzi sets the vision and defines the strategy for the company and makes sure that Verallia has the correct talents to execute it. “My role is to lead and engage the teams and to develop the pool of talent, either by making people grow or by attracting new talent to ensure that we achieve our objectives. This is always achieved with a strong respect for people and a balanced and respectful social dialogue.”
He also places strong emphasis on reinforcing the company’s ambition for excellence, whereby Verallia wants its industrial operations to become best-in-class via the VIM (Verallia Industrial Management) lean manufacturing programme. This goal also relates to the company’s approach to its supply chain, sales and marketing activities.
The critical role played by his predecessor, Jean-Pierre Floris in helping Verallia make its transition from a division of Saint-Gobain into a standalone, independent entity is highly respected. “He succeeded in making this transition very smooth and put Verallia on a good improvement track in terms of results and industrial and commercial performance.” According to Michel Giannuzzi, Jean-Pierre Floris still attends board meetings as an observer but he now concentrates on bringing his tremendous industrial knowledge to support the French government.