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From Milano to Manila

Beiersdorf team From Milano to Manila
The Philippine Finance and HR team

Hi, my name is Nino Avogadri. I am Finance Manager at Beiersdorf Italy and with the company for more than 20 years. Last December, I was walking to work in the morning when my mobile phone rang. It was my boss with a surprising question: “Nino, are you interested in a short assignment in the Philippines?” It took me only few seconds to decide, and obviously the answer was “Yes, of course I am” …and just like that I started packing.

At that time, the Finance Manager at Beiersdorf Philippines had decided to leave the company and there were the urgent need of someone to help the team during the closing activities and with the daily business. Therefore, after that call everything happened very quickly. By mid January I was already in Manila working with a young and committed team that perfectly represents one of the most dynamic and fast growing affiliates in our Group.

Beiersdorf Live Story BGC
Manila's financial district Bonifacio Global City

Beiersdorf Philippines started off as a sales office of our affiliate in Singapore and became a full-fledged affiliate itself as recently as in January 2014. It counts 34 young and enthusiastic employees making the working environment very easy going and productive. The local market is developing fast: The population counts 102 million people with an average age of 24 years and constitutes one of the most confident consumer groups making Beiersdorf Philippines an affiliate of great potential and dynamics.

When I entered its offices in the popular district Bonifacio Global City for the very first time I felt home immediately, just like when I enter our offices in Madrid or in Hamburg. The nice thing is that I was not surprised about that – I somehow expected it to be like that. Of course it was a big challenge for me because I had to understand a completely new world – both from the business and the cultural side. I had to adapt my habits and quickly provide my concrete contribution to a new team. But I have always loved to travel, meet new people and get in contact with different cultures and lifestyles – and here I was offered the unexpected chance to get everything in one shot.

Beiersdorf Live Story Nino Avogadri
My trip to Snake Island, Palawan

For what concerns the location I must admit that I’ve been extremely lucky. My assignment ended in June but within these 5 months I had the chance to visit some of the fantastic Philippines’ islands, especially Palawan, recently voted as the most beautiful in the world by the readers of Travel and Leisure Magazine. Boracay, which I also visited, ranked 2nd in the same survey. It’s actually amazing how the Philippines monopolized the top of this ranking, although we should admit that having more than 7,000 islands induces a certain competitive advantage… Extremely interesting was also the cooking exchange. I prepared “pasta alla carbonara” (pasta with egg and bacon) for my team and tried to convince everyone that the real “espresso” is much shorter than people think. On the other side, I had the opportunity to enjoy several delicious local specialities including the so called “Balut”… but on this I’ll better comment another time. ;)

To conclude, in my opinion the whole experience was a win-win exchange in any aspects. From the professional point of view, I brought to the local organization my long experience in the Group and in the business, some guidance in terms of processes and procedures and a little bit of internal networking, who does what and whom should I call when I need support. On the other side, I learned a lot concerning the local trade, new sales channels, how to make business through distributors and most importantly how strong the "Beiersdorfness" is all over the world. I really do believe that the ONE TEAM approach of our company is not only written somewhere in our strategy or core values – we really live it!

This job assignment was indeed a fantastic opportunity and I’m grateful to everyone who made it possible. Beiersdorf’s Corporate HR and Finance team for promoting these assignments, my line manager and my Italian team for putting additional effort to cover my duties while I was absent, and last but not least, the whole Philippines team for welcoming me so openly, supporting me and making my participation a success.  

To all of you:

Grazie mille or better "Maraming Salamat"!