Chal­lenges add to en­gine power

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG - By SO­PHIE HE in Capri, Italy

so­phiehe@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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

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