SNAPSHOT: Meet the Sales Directors
In our series introducing the Södra Cell sales team, this month we talk to Marcus Hellberg.
Name: Marcus Hellberg
Responsible for: Italy, including key global accounts with HQ in Italy
Born: September 11, 1973 in Urshult, Sweden
Lives: Milan, Italy
Likes: “Alici indurate e fritte, paired with a dry Tuscan Vermentino”
Status: Lives with partner, two daughters (Liv, 13 and Lykke, 11) and a new family member – a rescued Italian street dog named Lea.
My move to Italy was both very special and a huge responsibility: Södra has had an office in Milan since 1969 and my immediate predecessor, Raffaella Tronco, did a fantastic job of building our brand and customer loyalty here. Some customers have been with us for 30 years.
My experience so far has been that while negotiations may take a little longer, once an Italian gives you their word and shakes your hand, the deal is done, and they can be relied upon to honour it. Trust is a key component for both of us and something I value highly.
Some of our key global customers are based in Italy but there are much smaller customers too. Italy is known as a pure pulp market – it is not integrated at all so a lot of pulp is directly imported, there is plenty of competition and buyers are very commercially minded, perhaps more so than I’ve encountered elsewhere. They are also very innovative. One big customer in the tissue segment, for example, is just launching a coreless, paper-wrapped toilet paper for the Spanish market, which makes both environmental and commercial sense. I’m pretty sure this move will soon see followers all over Europe.
As well as the day job looking after our Italian customers, I still very much enjoy being involved with supporting the marketing and communications team. This year I’ve given presentations at two major industry events (Tissue World and PRIMA) on how the Act of a Hero campaign was conceived, why we did it and what we’ve achieved. It was very gratifying to hear a customer remark that the Hero campaign has acquired a life and momentum of its own now – customers really appreciate us trying to spread a generic message about the inherent sustainability of renewable fibres. We have such a lot to say in this industry, such a positive story to tell. I’m proud to be part of these pioneering campaigns at Södra, and proud that Södra is still at the forefront of driving communication beyond immediate customers to the general public.