Are you sure?

MOLʼs Ferenc Horvath talks achievements, corporate culture

Petrochemical and Refining Congress: Europe takes place in Budapest on May, 20-21. PRC Europe 2019 is co-hosted by MOL Group, whose Executive Vice President of Downstream, Ferenc Horvath, welcomed Congress’ Project Director, Regina Chislova, at MOL’s Head Office to talk achievements of 2018, upcoming projects, and the importance of corporate culture.

The full interview can be watched at BGS Talks Youtube channel, while an extract is available to BBJ readers. 

Regina: Let’s start with the question about your company in general. 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?

Ferenc: That type of control has a small place in my agenda, and it is done mainly through business reviews and performance management. Although for me performance management is more related to giving feedback on how to improve our operation. I’d say that for me the common approach to 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.

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

F: I’d definitely name our investments. First, we finished one of the projects together with the Japanese Synthetic Rubber Company (JSR Corporation), having built a new plant to produce Synthetic Rubber from our butadiene. Another thing is the launch of a new “big rock” petrochemical project: we will spend around 1.4 billion US dollars to establish our polyol plant. We have signed contracts for its construction with the German ThyssenKrupp and bought the licenses 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 we have made with the German recycling company APK. They are working on a new solution for plastics recycling, and together we are building a pilot plant in Germany.

R: 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?

F: Having a great strategy is a good thing, but the strategy normally lists goals and answers to “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 many companies’ great strategies fail because their corporate cultures did not support them. So, I think nowadays the biggest challenge is to create a corporate culture that would support the execution of the strategy and focus on values that support it, too.

R: Can you name some of these values?

F: We have many great values, but I believe it’s key for a company to choose the ones which support it best on the path of strategy execution. One of the key principles for us is to put customers first: customer should be the driving force in everything we are doing as a company. This was not the traditional way of thinking in the Oil & Gas industry in the past, and I think that it is now one of the biggest challenges to understand.

Watch the whole interview to learn about MOL Group’s Strategy 2030, the Danube refinery operations, how to train fresh graduates to help them reach managerial positions and more. The full version of the interview is available at BGS Talks Youtube channel. More information about PRC Europe 2019 is available at https://bit.ly/2Jlu5Iv   

All rights for this interview belong to BGS Group. This extract can not be re-published or re-posted on any other website without the prior written agreement of BGS Group.