Challenges add to engine power
Vincenzo Poerio, chief executive of Benetti, joined the Italian luxury shipyard operator in 1993.
The graduate of the Nautical Institute of Naples, where he studied naval architecture and mechanical engineering, started out working at the Naval Academy in the city of Leghorn for a few months, before joining a research center, where he remained for eight years.
Before Benetti, Poerio worked for a firm involved in naval construction and naval repairs. At Benetti, he started off in a technical role as general manager, before rising to managing director and finally chief executive.
“I was very technical at the beginning when I joined Benetti, but then I learned to manage the numbers, the finance and how to deal with people,” Poerio, now 61, recalled.
He said that for a company like Benetti, clients are a crucial part of the business, because in the luxury yachting industry, the market is very small, and the clients know each other.
If they talk positively about the brand, that’s good, but if they talk about the company in a negative way, that will be a problem.
Poerio said his secret is to always listen to others and never stop studying.
“Our advantage is that we know we are not perfect and we always want to be better, we aim to be the best every day.”
Internally, in order to do his daily job, a CEO also needs to have the support of his employees, Poerio said. “If they don’t like you they can cause damage to the company at all levels, but if they feel they are part of the team, they will support you.”
To establish a good relationship with his employees, he said it is important that he is never arrogant, always polite and willing to help.
“When I’m working, I’m the chief executive, I have certain rules. But on other occasions, I would always talk to my employees, as in a big company, there are gaps between employees and management, I want to reduce this gap, and talking to employees I can get some feedback about our management decisions.”
He recalled that when he was a researcher, he enjoyed himself as he liked the calculations, but still, he considered it a very “cold” job, as he likes interacting with people. “I like to work with people, especially like-minded ones.”
Poerio said working at Benetti makes him very happy, as he gets to work with people and face diverse challenges.
As a successful business leader, he suggests that ambitious youngsters in Hong Kong never stop dreaming.
“If you have dream that means you want to reach out for something, that is good. And to achieve it, you need to understand you can’t get a step ahead if you don’t work hard. You should never stop learning, never stop asking, never be lazy.”
“If you are in your 20s, it is important that you work hard, gain a lot of knowledge, talk to different people, absorb the information. It will all pay off,” Poerio advised.
Vincenzo Poerio says fancy boats are becoming increasingly popular among the super-rich in China and, considering the wealth and population of the country, this is just the beginning. Vincenzo Poerio, CEO, Benetti