Hannes Haider - Investor Relations Manager, Holding, Austria
Please tell us something about your career at AGRANA. Where did you start? Which stations did you go through to reach your current position? After I worked as an auditor for almost four years after my business studies, I wanted to get to know the “other side”, i.e. the point of view of the client, better and decided in October 2007 to accept an offer from Agrana Beteiligungs-AG to join the consolidation department. At the beginning in particular, my duties in the new department were very exciting because we were implementing a new consolidation tool at that time and the project to restructure and modernise Group accounting for the holding company and the subsidiary was a very work-intensive and interesting time with a number of (personal) ups and downs. After around three years, a certain routine had entered my daily work and I started to keep an eye out for new potential challenges within the Group. The opportunity presented itself to join the Group communications department and to assume the role of Investor Relations Manager. In view of my professional background, I did have the necessary expertise for this position, but it was also somewhat of a step into the unknown as regards the new side of comprehensive communication and developing a network with the financial community. However, with my willingness to learn, teamwork and on-the-job training, I was quickly able to settle into my new task and I do not regret for a single day that I have acquired more responsibility, have more options to do things in a certain way and work with a broader scope of duties. Despite having now been in the new IR function for three years, I continue to learn every day and there are always new challenges to be overcome; the comprehensive knowledge required for this job also forces you to stay on the ball.
Why should people apply for jobs at the company? What is the USP of the company? Firstly, in my opinion, every individual should decide for themselves if they are the kind of person for a small family-run business or a large, international company. This is ultimately always a decision for a specific corporate culture. I personally wanted to work in a large, stock market-listed company because the international focus and the size of the company (including its listing on the stock market) bring many challenges with them. I found AGRANA to be particularly appealing because it one of Austria’s largest foodstuff companies (indeed, it is no. 1 among those listed on the stock market), identification with our products is strong and the diversification across three segments is very interesting.
What do you like most working at AGRANA? What were your personal highlights at the company? What I like most is the solidarity of the team and the readiness of other colleagues and employees from other departments / other subsidiaries to work together to achieve an objective. It is noticeable that over the past few years, many more young employees are joining us and that some fresh air is being brought into the company. Of course, my own job as IR officer is a lot of fun, even though there are sometimes moments where it is not so funny.
What is success for you? Which personal competencies supported your carrier path? What is needed to be successful? For me, success means both achieving personal targets but also having acted loyally and with dedication for the benefit of the company. Of course praise is gladly received which shows a person that they have worked conscientiously and successfully. Alongside my professional training, I have my willingness to learn and my ambition to thank for me being able to carry out my present job. You sometimes maybe need to have a little luck and take a step into the unknown. I also think it is important to show willingness to learn in a social context and recognize that many tasks can only be solved through teamwork.
What do you personally think of talent? What is talent for you? What does it mean for AGRANA? Having talent is certainly advantageous for any job, but dedication and a willingness to learn have always been in the foreground for me. I assume that most people only choose their job on the basis of their interests and talents; however, you can also acquire a lot. Lionell Messi is definitely talented, but he has also worked hard, been ambitious and goal-oriented.
How important would you see your own personal development? Life is a never-ending process of learning, including your working life. Particularly in my job, there are always new challenges and you therefore also need to remain flexible with regard to how you think. I learn the most from on-the-job training, but I also try to set a clear focus for my continued professional and personal development by attending training courses internally and externally. The HR department at AGRANA also does its best to offer employees the best possible professional development.
Agnieszka Nawrot - Quality & Food Safety Manager, Fruit, Poland
Please tell us something about your career at AGRANA. Where did you start? Which stations did you go through to reach your current position?
- Started at AGRANA right after 5 years of university
- 1998 – 2008 – 10 years in AF Poland, Ostrołęka plant where I became Quality Manager
- 2008 – 2013 – 5 years in AF US, Botkins plant as Food Safety & Quality Manager
- Since 2013 – in AF Division as Quality & Food Safety Manager in charge of Europe
Why should people apply for jobs at the company? What is the USP of the company? What AGRANA manufactures ends up on someone’s table. Consumer health (food safety) & satisfaction (quality) are our key priorities. A dedicated & knowledgeable AGRANA Team creates a good environment to fulfill this commitment: certified food safety & quality systems, trainings, sharing best practices, continuous improvement, etc.. AGRANA is a global company, AGRANA offers opportunities to learn and grow.
What do you like most working at AGRANA? What were your personal highlights at the company? AGRANA in my eyes is seen as being a very dynamic company with very well established food safety & quality culture.
What is success for you? Which personal competencies supported your carrier path? What is needed to be successful? Success has no general definition for me. It means different things to different people. Maybe I am repeating myself, but I do personally consider as a success keeping people interested in food safety & quality: people asking the proper questions & willing to embrace challenges and learn new things. Among personal competencies supportive for my carrier path, I cite an open-minded attitude, no fear of changes & challenges. Thanks to these qualities, I have been able to adapt to different communities & be an active member of AGRANA teams in Poland – in US – in Europe.
What do you personally think of talents? What is a talent for you? What does it mean for AGRANA? Very rarely are people born with “a talent”. In the majority of cases, talents are driven by hard work, determination and a pint of good luck… But first of all there must be passion about the job you perform in order for your talent to bloom…
How important would you see your personal development and the development of your direct employees? In an easy way: if people do not develop, they lose their motivation for work. We always need to keep people motivated: newcomers, but also “dinosaurs”… :-)
Jorge Luis Martinez Camarena - Head of Controlling and Deputy CFO, Fruit, Mexico
Please tell us something about your career at AGRANA. Where did you start? Which stations did you go through to reach your current position? I started my career at AGRANA in AF Mexico in March 2003, as part of the accounting team, performing the functions of Accounts Payable Supervisor. Shortly after entering into the company, the financial reporting tasks to corporate were added to my job position, including an active role in the planning process and analysis of the financial figures, which I accepted and performed since then with enthusiasm and energy. This constant communication with corporate and people from abroad was very motivating and interesting for me, which I think was a key factor in my personal development. There was no financial controller in the Mexican affiliate, therefore, I had the opportunity to assume these functions since the beginning of my time at AGRANA and develop my profile in this direction. In 2008 I officially became a Financial Controller of AF Mexico and was invited to be part of the controlling team of the division. The head offices of Fruit Division were moved from Paris to Vienna at the end of 2009, which was an interesting and big change that provided me the opportunity to get to know and compare different cultures in a short period of time. In November 2010 I was promoted to Teamleader of Fruit Controlling, and in August 2012 I returned to AF Mexico, as Head of Controlling and deputy CFO, after the audits performed in the Mexican affiliate regarding Business year 2011/12 and the change of top management.
Why should people apply for jobs at the company? What is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the company? I think AGRANA has a wide range of possibilities for professional development for people willing to work and contribute with their talent, abilities, creativity and inspiration. The worldwide presence, the food business, the dynamism of fruit market, but mostly the talented people working in the different affiliates of AGRANA Group are relevant elements which makes AGRANA an attractive option for potential employees.
What do you like most working at AGRANA? What were your personal highlights at the company? What I most like at AGRANA are the valuable people around the world. While being a Fruit Division Financial Controller, I had the opportunity to work with many people, directly or indirectly, from different countries, who were willing to cooperate and had a very positive attitude. Talking about my personal highlights at AGRANA, I would mention the following: working abroad, collaborating with my experience and being flexible to changes, positive influence in the development of my colleagues, key collaboration in the internal audit of AF Mexico and participation in the management team of AF Mexico in order to implement better controls.
What is success for you? Which personal competencies supported your carrier path? What is needed to be successful? In my opinion, success is not a status, but a dynamic reality of development; it is the never-ending process of growing in a direction marked by one’s own decisions, abilities, competencies and personal qualities. To be successful, it is necessary to be aware about the own strengths and weaknesses and, based on that, to define personal objectives and to work on these with enthusiasm and tenacity. Regarding my own competencies, I have made special efforts to cultivate and include the following attributes in my personality and way of working: persistence, formality, working attitude, open-mindedness, respect, team player, flexibility and proactivity.
What do you personally think of talents? What is a talent for you? What does it mean for AGRANA? Talents are natural gifts which can be developed with work and willingness. I would compare the talents with the natural tools of one’s own personality which enable a person to find solutions, to solve difficulties and to create better ways of doing something. I believe that AGRANA is a company that is increasingly focused on the development of its employees, recognizing this as a key factor for being successful as a Group. I would say that taking advantage of the talents of the people is the only method to achieve the goals at AGRANA.
How important would you see your personal development and the development of your direct employees? I think one of the relevant objectives in the life of a human being is to develop one’s own talents, to reach better levels of efficiency and quality in our personal life and professional activities. This can only be realised if we are convinced about that, translating into the daily activities the decision to become a better employee, a more efficient worker and a better person.
Thomas Kitzweger - Director Supply Chain Management, Sugar, Austria
Please tell us something about your career at AGRANA. Where did you start? Which stations did you go through to reach your current position? Started on 1 January 2010 in the newly founded Corporate Logistics department at Agrana Beteiligungs-AG. Assumed the current position of Director Supply Chain Management for the division sugar.
Why should people apply for jobs at the company? What is the USP of the company? AGRANA is a very well established company with an excellent network of suppliers and customers. Long-term partnerships are a feature of the company and this is also reflected in the treatment of employees.
What do you like most working at AGRANA? What were your personal highlights at the company? AGRANA has a long tradition and today is faced with underlying economic changes that are changing at a rapid pace. For me, an absolute highlight is developing the company and its structures to deal with this. When I joined Corporate Logistics on 1 January 2010, we had created many new structures which have since become the today’s benchmark.
What is success for you? Which personal competencies supported your carrier path? What is needed to be successful? I see success as being when my ideas fall on ears that are ready to listen. This is how I can help the company to develop and make my contribution to the overall success of the company. Goods ideas off my own back and implementing them successfully are the drivers behind my success. Passiveness leads to stagnation and stagnation in a rapidly changing world actually means a step back. In my view, walking through the plants with open eyes, analyzing and anticipating markets and their requirements are key factors of success; a bit of luck is also needed.
What do you personally think of talents? What is a talent for you? What does it mean for AGRANA? Talent can help to carry out tasks quickly and effectively to begin with. However, talent must be nurtured by plenty of training....if you just rely on your talent, you will quickly reach your limits. Talent at AGRANA can open doors and enable opportunities. Accepting this then is up to the individual.
How important would you see your personal development and the development of your direct employees? All employees are important to me, as each and every one of them makes a contribution to the success of the company. Similarly, supporting and pushing employees is part of my daily work. Bored employees are just as ineffective as stressed employees. You need to find out the potential of employees and then encourage this through continuous professional development. Whether this means changing division or department or a promotion in the team, it is just as good and important.