Window Film Magazine Talks to Mike DonnellyDecember 23rd, 2010 by Editor
Window Film magazine sat down recently with the new president of Solutia’s performance films division, Mike Donnelly. Check out the full interview in the January-February issue of Window Film magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Window Film: How was the transition into your new position?
Mike Donnelly: It’s been pretty intense, to be honest. This is a very exciting and dynamic business and there is a lot to learn. I didn’t come from the window film business so I have been doing this for seven weeks now and I would say I am still transitioning and still have a ways to go.
Window Film: Tell me a little about your goals for Solutia.
MD: The goals in this division are grow, grow, grow. We see this division as an opportunity. Solutia has gone through its own transformation from bankruptcy, to out of bankruptcy, to shedding some bad assets. Right now it sits on a platform with three very good divisions. With an intent to grow the company, we recently made two acquisitions, one for window films and Novamatrix and the other for our advanced interlayers business. We made an acquisition in Germany of a company called Etimex. This company has some clear vision in terms of growing Solutia and it believes in its divisions and you can see from the investments made that it believes in window films. We think we can grow the business in double digits over the next five years. We see opportunities in things like energy as the world’s focus is re-focused more on energy savings. We have some really good projects like our enerlogic architectural product that we just introduced that will take advantage of that. As people become more energy-conscience we think that category awareness will go up and so we think it will create a lot of growth opportunities for us and the industry in general.
Window Film: I know that at least one of your predecessors was criticized for being a great strategist but maybe not having the repertoire with the dealer network that would have brought some different results. I would expect that communication with the dealer network is very important to you. What kinds of things are you going to do to make the dealers feel good about the management change?
MD: It always starts with communication and just getting out there, meeting the dealers and distributors. The first objective is to listen and understand what their needs are and then figure out how together we can do better in business. The other part of it is that in terms of fulfilling their needs you can have a great strategy, but if you don’t have the execution then you don’t get there. This is a business that has a strong customer and service focus. We have to be number one there. We feel we are now, but the world doesn’t stand still. We need to up our level of customer and technical support- getting the product there on time, when they want it, filling the orders accurately the first time. If you are running a business properly you can’t just be an expert in strategy or manufacturing you have to have the whole package.