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Christopher van Laack takes on new challenge in Flexible Packaging EMEA
“In April of this year, I took over the lead sales role for FP in EMEA from Barbara Schulte who had 48 years with the company,” said van Laack. “She worked for Siegwerk almost 20 years longer than I have been on this planet - that is a lot of time devoted to building a strong foundation and very strong relationships with many of the most important Siegwerk customers.” Fortunately, van Laack had the opportunity to work alongside Schulte meeting customers, building his own new relationships and gleaning as much knowledge as possible on the inner workings of Flexible Packaging in EMEA. Van Laack joined Siegwerk in October 2008 as a trainee in Logistics Management. During his nearly eight years in the field of Transport and Logistics he was promoted to the Head of this department, leading a team of around 90 people in Siegburg. In March 2016, his career changed directions when he was asked to take on the role of Site Manager and Post Merger Integration Manager of the Buedingen, Germany site of the newly acquired Actega Colorchemie business, a role he held until his current assignment.
While hardly a traditional career path to the lead sales role in EMEA, van Laack said that experiences he has made throughout his Siegwerk career have helped him settle into this latest position. In his previous operational role in Buedingen the close work with his teams in Supply Chain Management (SCM) along with Technology, Sales, HR and Finance helped to show how all areas of the business must work closely together to achieve the overall targets. “Working closely together with people, finding solutions together and moderating and negotiating difficult situations has always been a strength of mine and work that I have enjoyed a lot,” added van Laack. A member of Siegwerk’s Generation Y community, van Laack is a digital native. He is excited to see Siegwerk move rapidly towards new digital solutions which are creating the ability for stronger and more frequent interactions between our customers and employees alike. “For our customers, digitalization will allow us to better connect and ensure faster support times, especially in terms of trouble shooting. Being responsible for several large international accounts, anything we can do to make our customers’ lives easier by providing faster solutions and more attractive pricing alternatives will lead to even stronger relationships,” said van Laack. “We have to be more pragmatic, less complicated to work with and cooperate more intensively to maximize the working relationship,” added van Laack. Siegwerk needs to remain completely aligned, work closely to understand our customers’ needs and find solutions together between our experienced Sales and Technology teams.
Van Laack is enthusiastic about the future. “I still love getting up in the morning and heading into work, because I know I can make a difference – for our customers and for my colleagues. I’m open to change and new challenges and continue to work on how we promote change.” An important factor which he said cannot be underestimated is “to have fun and not see work purely as a job.” Good advice for all Siegwerkers to help keep people engaged and focused on delivering success together.