Interview with Ferenc Horváth - EVP of Downstream, MOL Group

PRC Europe 2019 was co-hosted by MOL Group. Executive Vice President of Downstream, Ferenc Horvath, welcomed Congress’ Project Director, Regina Chislova, at MOL’s Head Office to talk about the achievements of 2018, upcoming projects, and the importance of corporate culture. Watch the interview, read the highlights and subscribe to BGS Talks YouTube channel for new episodes!

MOL Group is a huge company which is represented by around 25 000 people and you are in charge of the entire downstream segment. How do you manage to control this system?

That type of control has a small place in my agenda, mainly through business reviews and performance management. Although for me performance management is more related to giving feedback to improve our operation. I’d say that for me the common approach to the management is a bit obsolete: I think today’s leaders need to inspire, motivate and develop their team in order to increase the efficiency, instead of controlling the operations.

Can you name the most successful achievements of MOL Group in 2018, according to you?

I’d definitely name our investments. First, we finished one of the projects together with the Japanese Synthetic Rubber Company having built a new plant to produce Synthetic Rubber from our butadiene. Another thing is the launch of Big Rock New Petrochemical Project: we will spend around 1.4 billion US dollar to establish our polyol plant. We have signed the contracts for the construction with the German ThyssenKrupp and bought the license from Evonik. Now within 3 years, we will be able to produce more than 200 kilotons of polyols. But probably what is closest to my heart is the strategic partnership that we have made with a German recycling company, APK. They are working on a new solution for recycling plastics and together we are building a pilot plant in Germany. Once it is successful, we will build the first recycling plant in Hungary and in our region.

Great, and switching to your current internal projects: I saw the report on your new strategy that says quite a lot about your corporate culture transformation. As a top manager, why do you think it is such an important step?

Having a great strategy is a good thing, but the strategy normally lists goals, answers “What do we want to achieve within 10, 15 or 20 years”? We also need to know how we are going to reach these goals. Culture definitely gives the answer to “How?”, because it defines everyday operations. And that’s what either supports the execution of the strategy or not. As Peter Drucker said more than 20 years ago, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, for lunch and for dinner as well. I have seen in my experience that many companies’ great strategies fail because their corporate cultures supported that. So I think nowadays the biggest challenge is to create a corporate culture that would support the execution of your strategy and focus on values that support the execution of the strategy, too.

Can you name these values?

One of the key principles is to put customers first: everything we do is driven by company customers and we should do everything for them. I think that it would be one of the biggest change or biggest challenge to understand.

Watch the whole interview to learn about MOL Group’s Strategy 2030, renovation of Danube refinery, how to train the freshly graduated students to get them on the managing positions and more.


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