Meet Electrolux Small Appliances’ new Apac chief
18 June 2012: We caught up with Claus Andersen recently to find out more about him and his outlook.
Claus Andersen (seen above left with Electrolux Small Appliances' NZ GM, Alan Dalton) is the new President of Electrolux Small Appliances Asia Pacific. Responsible for the whole Asia Pacific region, Wares got some quality time with the new boss just prior to the Ergorapido launch in Auckland in April.
Andersen is a Dane working for a Swedish company and he’s moving to the Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore in July. A passionate Manchester United fan – the result of a 2-year stint in FMCG with Kellogg’s in the north of England – he was formerly Electrolux’s Global CFO Floor Care & Small Appliances based in Stockholm.
A bean counter, then? Not really. Andersen may accept the term but doesn’t accept that he conforms to the stereotype. He says right up front that business is not all about figures and spreadsheets by any means. Today’s CFO is not just the figures person lurking in the background but an integral part of the broader team, says Andersen.
“You are not a good finance person if you cannot support, sales and marketing. The more you become integrated and understand products, the market, the organisation and customers, the more fun it gets and I think the more value you add. That has been my key motivator for quite some time.”
Recruiting people with broader backgrounds let alone integrating finance into the broader business isn’t particularly widespread yet: “Many companies would like to go this way but moving from talking to walking takes some time,” admits Claus Andersen.
Our talk ranged from understanding the very wide variety of new cultures across the Asia Pacific region to matching products to people and understanding the key drivers for consumers and for the trade. As to his impressions of the New Zealand market, he says: “I’ve never seen such a busy retail environment.” By “busy” I interpret that he means “incredibly competitive…”
Having visited local stores he’s seen some “winning concepts” – and some not so winning – and is looking forward to working more closely and more efficiently with local retailers. There are particular opportunities when it comes to finding ways of lifting average selling prices in the floorcare market, says Claus Andersen: “None of us benefit from too low prices.”