Company news

Knauf Insulation celebrates outstanding leadership in a year like no other

By Eline Lhoest
February 25, 2021

Supply challenges, customer concerns, closed borders, disrupted teams, virtual working, health fears and new safety measures — our offices and plants faced unprecedented pressures as the pandemic swept the world in 2020.

Jean-Claude Carlin, Member of the Knauf Group Management Committee Insulation Europe/Middle East/Asia, said: “COVID-19 was an extraordinary test of leadership for everyone at Knauf Insulation and I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved.

“Today it gives me great pleasure to officially announce the winners of our Annual Knauf Insulation Leadership Awards 2021. These extraordinary leaders have lived the Knauf values of entrepreneurship, commitment, partnership and Menschlichkeit during what has proved to be a turbulent year defined by the pandemic.

“They found creative solutions to every challenge, consistently demonstrated care for their teams, their customers and their communities and continuously adapted to ever-changing circumstances.”

Siân Hughes, Group Director of HR and Corporate Affairs added: “In every area of our company from supply chain, public affairs and plant management to sales, customer support and purchasing, each one of these leaders has played an important role in keeping our business on track and ensuring we will come out of this crisis stronger than ever.

“For their outstanding commitment, we only have two words, THANK YOU.”


The winners are:

Knauf Insulation leadership awards 2021 winners

Andraž Sabotič, General Manager Technical Solutions, Systems Division, dramatically improved his team’s dynamics and business results at Novi Marof. Throughout the challenges of 2020, his leadership was defined by calm engagement, authentic understanding and a people-first approach.

Christoph Gmeilbauer, Head of Customer Service Center, Austria, tackled the crisis of 2020 by ensuring no customer was lost and delivery and quality challenges were effectively resolved despite coordinating products from six different countries across crisis-hit national borders and while suffering health issues in his small team.

Dušica Savič, Purchasing Manager, Surdulica, Serbia, exceeded savings targets against local spend by almost a third, significantly improved Procurement Governance in South Balkans region. Surdulica is now a leading example for procurement and compliance.

Francesco Cavicchioli, Public Affairs and Technical Marketing Manager, Italy, has tirelessly campaigned for energy efficient buildings. In 2020, his determination and the public affairs efforts of Knauf Insulation Italy team paid off with the launch of a national bonus scheme that rewards high-performance insulation installation — a historic initiative that is revolutionising market in Italy.

Irina Vaysberg, Purchasing Manager, Tyumen, Russia, who sourced vital equipment at a time of need, achieved major savings by diversifying and expanding our supplier portfolio and ensured procurement compliance — all at a time of austerity and crisis when a calm approach and efficient operation were essential.

Ivo Thiede, Process & Quality Manager, Bernburg, Germany, has created a reliable process to ensure new product samples are generated for testing and certification. In addition to his role as Process & Quality manager, Ivo oversees a team carrying out significant number of product development tests every year.

James Bedford, Market and Product Portfolio Manager for Asia Pacific, increased sales with our biggest regional customer by an outstanding percentage despite product shortages. This was achieved though the allocation of secondary solutions, relocating stock between stores and building trust with a future-focused vision.

Lee Griffin, Production Manager, Cwmbran, UK, stepped up to lead production at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time he was Technical Manager but took responsibility for leading production, maintaining results, implementing DASH (Distancing, Air circulation, Surface cleanliness and Hygiene) measures and providing positive leadership at height of the pandemic.

Marián Tkáč, Plant Manager, Nová Baňa, Slovakia, demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout the uncertainty of 2020, inspiring and motivating his team, ensuring their safety and maintaining his plant’s incredible production success.

Metod Bonča, Product and Systems Development Engineer, Central Technical team, Skofja Loka, Slovenia, developed a new Dual Density system for Rock Mineral Wool from scratch, implemented the technology in our plants and has been continuously improving the system — and supporting teams during the crisis — to create new innovative products.                                                

Tanja Schamberger, Group Market & Business Excellence Director, Central Marketing team, Belgium, continued to build on the success of our Commercial Excellence initiative and the implementation of our global CRM programme in 2020 — despite the challenges of travel restrictions, remote working and virtual teams — by demonstrating constant care, reassurance and a high level of personal responsibility.

Roland Wynants, Controlling Director, Central Finance team, Belgium, created the financial plans, models and scenarios that were essential to the business health of Knauf Insulation during the crisis of 2020. Designing cost model principles and scenarios as well as working with regional managers, he played a vital role in the COVID-19 taskforce.

Renar Gaspars, Area Sales Manager, North West Russia, increased results in volume and boosted revenue by outstanding percentages, and developed a strong, reliable team that remained motivated and safe despite the challenges of the crisis.

Valery Saparov, Engineering Manager, Central Engineering team, Belgium, has worked on many key Knauf Insulation investment projects ensuring reliable capability, teams, networks and infrastructure. In 2020, he made sure our Eskişehir and Surdulica plant upgrades were not delayed. Valery has also been supporting in Malaysian site helping drive the success of our new Johor Bahru plant.