“It all comes down to people”

Interview with Marcel Kiessling, the latest member of Schubert's executive management board

Since November 2016, he has been a member of the Gerhard Schubert GmbH’s executive management team: Marcel Kiessling will be taking over Gerald Schubert’s business areas next summer. Having joined the company just a few days ago, he is currently spending a lot of time on the road meeting new colleagues, customers and business partners. At the beginning of November, the Web Magazine’s editorial team met him at the PackExpo in Chicago and took advantage of the opportunity to speak with him about his first days with Schubert and his initial impressions.

You just began working at Schubert a few days ago. How does it feel to be part of the Schubert team?

It feels great. I was warmly welcomed by all the staff and everyone is being very supportive. Of course I am delighted. It will take some time before I can profess to be a true “Schubertaner”. For that, I’ll have to get to know the colleagues, our customers and our technologies much better.

Imagine for a moment that the Schubert company were a human being. How would you describe this person after your first impressions?

He or she would be a very open and friendly person. One who exudes trustworthiness and who is passionate about their profession or their craft. For Schubert, enjoying your work is really just as important as the financial side of the business. In fact, at Schubert, enjoying your work is a tenet that is firmly anchored in the corporate objectives. In my first days at Schubert, I was able to experience the fact that employees really do live this principle every day.

What are you most looking forward to in your new position?

To having fun at work. (laughs) But seriously, I am really looking forward to contributing to the company achieving its ambitious objectives, with my experience and my international contacts – I lived in the US for six years and travelled to Asia very often – as well as with my expertise in sales and customer service. Schubert wants to continue to grow and further expand its position in different sectors and countries, as well drive the development of additional applications such as primary packaging. I am especially looking forward to taking on these challenges.

What is it that especially appeals to you about the Schubert company?

For me, people play the most important role – both in professional and personal contexts. Right from the beginning, I was very impressed by Schubert’s focus on people and by its unique corporate philosophy. The first people I met at Schubert were the managing directors. And it didn’t take long for me to see that we were on the same wavelength.

I am also very impressed with the technology. Schubert has made quite a name for itself in packaging machine engineering and it now stands for state-of-the-art technology and revolutionary developments. The company is so dynamic and innovative. The machines and services embody the highest quality and level of performance. The long-standing and very close customer relationships are also based on this amazingly high standard. I see parallels with my previous position at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen. I have always enjoyed working with customers, in some cases over two generations. And this is what I am now looking forward to in my new role at Schubert.

How did you prepare for your new position?

Well, in a first step, I “absorbed” everything I could find about Schubert. I also learned a lot speaking with Gerald and Ralf Schubert as well as Peter Gabriel. But ultimately, you can never fully prepare to take on a task such as this, it just takes time. With this in mind, the first days were of course very exciting. All the information I am taking in about the company, the industry and the products is very concentrated for now. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be learning a lot. At the same time, I am getting to know so many nice people whose names I have to somehow remember. (laughs again) With the support of my new colleagues, I know that things will go well. I am happy and grateful for all the support and also for my colleagues’ understanding if I am not able to master everything perfectly at the beginning.

What are your next steps?

In the first few weeks, I would like to get to know as many people as possible in all Schubert departments and to have many informative and insightful discussions. I have also planned to spend a day working in pre- and final assembly to familiarise myself with the individual process steps and workflows required to build a Schubert machine. I also plan on attending a few training sessions at the Schubert Academy. At the moment, I am visiting many of our international customers at their locations with Gerald Schubert, to introduce myself and establish personal contacts. Since Schubert machines are deployed internationally, as you can well imagine, I am spending a lot of time on the road.

Mr Kiessling, thank you very much for the interview and we wish you much success at Schubert.

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