Success in Italian - Wacker Chemie AG


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Success in Italian

A team swimming against the tide: while for years the Italian economy has been struggling with recession, Wacker Chemie Italia S.r.l. was able to make significant gains in 2013. There are reasons behind this success.

Once a year, employees from the Milan office throw themselves into adventurous teambuilding activities.

The WACKER office in Milan is unmanned for just one day out of the year. Instead of staring at their computer screens, Dr Marcello Orestano and his team head out into the countryside for the day. For example, last summer they spent this very special day on a farm. It served as the setting for their own mini-Olympics, which included archery, an obstacle course and a game of water polo in the pool. They even tried rafting once.

One colleague was so enthusiastic she jumped into the pool wanting to join in – even though she couldn’t swim. No problem, the rest of the staff from WACKER Milan got her out of the water in no time. Everybody has fun on this day, they laugh a lot but also get to know a completely different side to themselves and their co-workers.

Looking back, Marcello Orestano reflects: “My team fits together very well.” On this cheerful summer's day a feeling of togetherness has developed, which will have a lasting effect on everyday working life. “With us there are neither disagreements, nor infighting or jockeying for position,” says Marcello Orestano, “instead, processes run smoothly and everyone always takes a direct rather than a bureaucratic approach to getting things done.

Teamwork is important, but Orestano finds it just as important that all of his 20 employees are specialists who have excellent knowledge of their respective fields. “Whether it's in construction chemicals, textiles or the automotive industry – the market needs specialists,” says Orestano, “because only experts can explain to our customers which innovative products can be used for their applications.”

Dr. Marcello Orestano's team (centre) is in a good position.

As a sales office, Wacker Chemie Italia S.r.I. represents all WACKER business divisions – with ten employees in Sales, eight in Customer Service, two in Administration, and Marcello Orestano as Managing Director. WACKER has had a presence in Italy for 25 years – in which time the Italian market has become the second largest market for silicones and dispersible polymer powders behind Germany.

The Italian economy shrank by 1.8 percent in 2013 – but WACKER was able to make significant gains in Italy. In addition to teamwork, expertise and customer service, there is a further reason behind this trend: “Our customers are medium-sized companies from northern Italy who all export heavily,” explains Orestano, “they were therefore able to withstand the recession relatively well.” In fact WACKER's Italian customers have a pretty good feeling about this year. They expect Italy to slowly come out of recession and start growing again.

Incidentally, Marcello Orestano speaks perfect German. Which comes as no surprise since he was born and raised in Mainz – with an Italian father and German mother. Now aged 48, he started his career at WACKER in Italy in 1995. Four years later he transferred to Burghausen. After a stint in Vienna, he returned to Milan as Managing Director in 2008. And where would he like to be in ten years? “By then,” he says, “I'd like to have made WACKER's presence in the Italian market even stronger.” “We're market leaders in silicones and polymers here – we want to consolidate and build on that.”