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The Professionals: Philippe Zavattiero

PZ1Our Head of Beverage and Food Preparation loves talking, developing and succeeding in business – something he’s achieved throughout his time at Professional.

Philippe’s years at the company span three decades but a 6-year spell elsewhere allowed his career to accelerate before making his Professional comeback.

Tell us more about your career path?

After engineering studies followed by business school, I started my career journey in the automotive industry – a demanding world where I learned a lot.

I joined Electrolux Professional in 1997 as Country Manager for Food Service in France and have since held several positions, always in the commercial section, because developing a business is what I love.

You left the company for a while – then came back. Why?

Well, because it’s a fantastic company! In 2001, I got an opportunity to lead the European/MEA business of an air-conditioning company, which enabled me to refresh my mind with a complementary view of managing a 360-business. I was in charge of a factory, R&D, manufacturing and sales; it was a very positive experience in a challenging sector.

But I remained in contact with management at Professional and given the experience I had gained, I moved back to eventually join the management team here. So those years out really were an opportunity to accelerate my career growth

What are you most proud of in your working life?

I am especially proud of the teams I have led – great people, dedicated and passionate who have achieved great things together. And I continue to work with great teams which is invaluable because the world is becoming increasingly complex, requiring more diverse skills – alone we can’t do so much.

I try to build and develop teams based on the enjoyment of working together, appreciating each other and having the same vision; a common passion and pleasure in working together.

PZ2Can you share a piece of advice for young, ambitious managers today?

Passion is key. Without it, it’s hard to keep motivated. Be passionate about the products you sell and what you do every day. For me, this business is a passion because I love gastronomy, food and wine – I really couldn’t imagine doing a job that I am not passionate about.

And driving and motivating a team is about transmitting and sharing your passion. If your team members only consider you a manager, they may do their job but not deliver 110%. Passion and being able to convey it to your team make the difference.

What are your passions outside of work?

Aside from food and wine as already mentioned, I enjoy being out on the road cycling to keep a fresh mindset. If you want to be ready to absorb the time and pressure that you often must face in managing a business, your body must be prepared it.

I love to walk too and one day, my dream would be to walk the St Jacob’s pilgrimage path. It’s a 2-3 month trip around 2,000 km in total – something for the future when I am retired.

Which of our four Guiding Principles – Be Bold, Build Trust, Customer Obsession and Act Sustainably- speaks loudest to you?

Having guiding principles is fundamental in a team and therefore within a company. I don’t really have a favorite but the one that guides the others is Customer Obsession.

The customer is the ‘raison d’être’ of the company – the center of all our actions. To be successful with our customers, we must be bold and courageous, we must build our trust and credibility and we must act sustainably – in the interest of our planet. For me, thinking about it in this way means our Guiding Principles truly become whole.

Tell us something your colleagues might not know about you?

As a child, I wanted to become a musician – a jazz pianist. I had a classical background and went to the Metz Conservatory in France – I was pretty good but not good enough to really make it to the top. I realised that when I was around the age of 15 and that was difficult to digest but I had to make a choice to do something else. Starting to play the piano again is also on my to-do list in the future.

Check out our global career site, if you aspire to pursue a career similar to Philippe’s.