Henri Mäkinen, director of marketing and portfolio, Architectural Coatings (AC), EMEA North & East, is passionate about creating strong cross-functional collaboration to drive team business growth and team engagement. He is channeling that passion into action as one of the leaders of a major project to optimize our AC business and innovation in Europe.
Collaborative Environment Leads to Success
With a master’s degree in business, Henri has focused his career on marketing, sales and portfolio management. He joined us in 2021 through our acquisition of Tikkurila.
“I’ve greatly enjoyed situations in my career where I needed to stretch myself, whether that be turning around a business or joining two companies to create an even better business.”
In his current role, Henri oversees a wide mix of commercial activities for his region’s architectural coatings. This includes branding, marketing, product portfolio and customer-facing digital applications. Each day is different, but the common thread is creating an environment where his people can succeed.
“I focus a lot on collaboration because I believe that’s the key to creating opportunities for customers, the business and individuals. I get excited when I see colleagues succeeding because we created an environment where it’s possible for them to do so.”
Bringing One PPG to Life in Europe
Our acquisition of numerous European architectural coatings companies over the past few years underscored the need for such collaboration. With each acquired company bringing unique perspectives and products, a significant opportunity existed to create a unified vision and optimized product portfolio across Europe to better meet current and future customer needs.
“Through this shared vision and single, high-quality product portfolio, we will expand product options for our European customers but reduce the time required to identify or develop the coating that best fits the purpose. We will be stronger together as One PPG.”
A single portfolio will free up research and development resources to focus more on customer innovations rather than maintenance of existing formulations. Response to new legal requirements also will be streamlined across the region.
From a business perspective, we’re increasing flexibility in sourcing raw materials, balancing production across our facilities, developing technology, marketing our products, serving customers and more.
Understanding and Curiosity Break Down Cultural Barriers
The project is engaging our people across countries and functions, breaking down barriers and building common ground. This is right in Henri’s comfort zone, as he’s worked in different countries and with multinational colleagues throughout his career.
You must create a mindset where you try to understand where the other person is coming from in terms of work and life experiences. Be open and curious, and ask a lot of questions. Deal with ambiguity by going with the flow, knowing that you won’t get it right all the time.
That wisdom served Henri well in the early days of Tikkurila’s integration into PPG and is doing so again with the optimization project.
“I actually was quite surprised that the culture of this large international company was very similar to our own from day one. What my team and I bring is an entrepreneurial approach to meeting customer needs. We’re excited that we now can tap into an incredible network of experts not only in Europe but around the world to do that.”