Wednesday, May 29, 2024

I believe it takes courage to meet your fate: Achraf Hegazy

Reading Time: 7 minutes
Annelis Putri

Journalist

Mahinda Arkyasa

Editor

Annelis P.

Interview

For this edition of CEO & Leader, Indonesia Business Post sits together with Achraf Hegazy, Country Manager of Legrand Indonesia. During this interview, Achraf shares with us his experience, which among other the acquisition of an Indonesian company.  Achraf also shared with us his perspective regarding the various criteria that entrepreneurs must unlock in order to be successful in the Indonesian market.

Achraf, tell us about yourself and where you come from.

My name is Achraf Hegazy. I am 40 years old. I have been with Legrand for some time now, I started in France 17 years ago, I then move when I was 28 years old to start implementing and opening Legrand in Nigeria, where I spent seven years. Then I moved to Indonesia, where I’ve been for the past five years, expanding our business and operation in Indonesia.

What is your story? How did you end up in Indonesia?

I’ve always been interested in Indonesia because of the culture, people, and mix of modernity and history. After my experience in Nigeria, it was time for me to face a new challenge. At that time all the planets aligned for me to come here. It just came naturally that the next step for me was Indonesia.

Have you ever been to Indonesia before?

No, never. But I was very attracted to Indonesia because of the people, culture, also the business. After coming here, it’s exactly, well not exactly, but almost how I had imagined it. It is very exciting to work in Indonesia. Super diverse, super different every day.

What do you like most about Indonesia?

Indonesian people, that’s what I like most about Indonesia.

How’s business so far?

We have been developing quite well the past five years. We are in a good dynamic.

What is the proudest moment, biggest highlight of your life and career so far?

So many… In my early career, it was all about landing a contract or opening partnership. But as my career evolved, so did my sense of satisfaction.

And now the proudest moment i have is when our team succeeds, when we succeed collectively.

At the start of my career I was proud of my personal success, but now it’s more collective. It’s more when I see someone in my team growing or someone succeeding. This is what makes me proud today.

What do you think is Indonesia’s biggest challenge?

I feel that right now it’s a very good moment for Indonesia. If you look at the international situation, Indonesia is resisting the crisis and the inflation quite well. Some sectors show growth such as the data center that is now having its momentum in Indonesia, as well as the EV ecosystem. I think Indonesia is taking the right moves.

But I think every country has this challenge of matching their ambition to its human resources, its talent, which I think is a real challenge, especially in the fast-growing segment.

How do you envision Indonesia in 2030? 

Super exciting question because I believe that by 2030, we might see maybe one or two more unicorns (company) in Indonesia. I think that’s what could happen. The country is super oriented on tech and on becoming one of the leaders in digitalization in Southeast Asia. In terms of numeric or digitalization, I think Indonesia will be one of the leaders in Southeast Asia.

It’s not easy to envision what Indonesia could be in 2030, but I think it will be in a very different place than today.

Can you tell us more about Legrand in Indonesia?

We have been in Indonesia for some time, and we are happy to see an acceleration of our development the past few years.  The acquisition of PT. Trias Indra Saputra was a major step in our development and so much has happened for us since that milestone.

We have indeed now an efficient front and back office to address more specifically the markets where we operate. We also leverage on our industrial set up for development. So, In short, we have already passed important milestones, and still a lot on our plates for coming development.

Why was it a good strategy for Legrand?

It was a good strategy for Legrand when you acquire a company, you acquire expertise, you acquire experience, you acquire people.

So, it can fast track your growth and when we acquired this company, it helped us to start manufacturing locally our product, which then help us to improve lead time, and finally answer to some local content regulation or the TKDN (Tingkat Komponen Dalam Negeri), which we achieved at 90% TKDN on one of our products. So yes, this strategic acquisition had a positive impact on our development in Indonesia.

What kind of products and services do you provide?

We provide solution across all verticals in energy distribution, cable management, control and monitoring and digital infrastructure.

Who are your clients and how is the business progress so far?

We operate in four different segments. The first one is residential markets, mostly houses or towers or flats. The second one is the commercial segment, it can be malls, banks, those kinds of segments. The third one is the industrial segment, such as factories, oil and gas or petrochemical or infrastructure segments. The last one is the data center segment. Our customers are the players in those four segments.

What are the next goals, the next steps for your company development in Indonesia? Is there any investment plan?

People. We believe that every industries are moved by people. Hence, our investment is focusing on people first. We give a lot of trainings to our teams, we have dedicated plan for development, we give also certification for them to be as much as possible expert in their area of work. Along that, investment in technology is coming along with it to complete the loop.

Are you now looking for a strategic partner or collaboration?

We are always open for partnership. One of the segments I can think of is the EV ecosystem. For us, it’s a very exciting segment and there are lots of opportunities to be explored.

How do you think you and your company can contribute to the Indonesian market and its people?

I believe we will contribute by employing and training more people, while also supporting Indonesia in their effort for local content. That’s one aspect.

The second aspect will be to support Indonesia in the fast-growing segment, like data center, energy efficiency, or IoT (Internet of Things) products. We are excited to support development of Indonesia with our solution.

How do you take care of your people?

We support our employees to grow by providing a safe environment for them to work. Focus on their development and giving them opportunities in the organization.

Eg: the necessary training with minimum number of hours and extra social benefits.

What is your advice for foreign companies setting up in the Indonesian market?

I think one of the things we need to understand about Indonesia is this: yes Indonesia is a big market. But it needs a lot of resources too. It’s not necessarily a growth that is very easy to catch.

And you can catch it when you really bring value to the customer. Customers in Indonesia already have a very precise idea of what they need. But they can appreciate the service that you give them.

So, yes, it’s a big market, but it needs the right resources and focus, and it needs a big focus on customer service. If you can serve your customer the right way, despite the complexity of the environment and the complexity of some businesses, you can be successful.

You can look at the Indonesian market as a map where you need to unlock some criteria. And when you have unlocked some points, you will see growth. If you do the right things the right way. It can grow quickly. That’s it. I believe.

What kind of industry are you eyeing and watching this year, and why?

I’m definitely looking at the data center segment. That has been a very fast-growing segment. I’m looking at the Petrochemical segment. I’m looking at the Smelter segment. I’m looking at the development of EV vehicles. I’m also looking at IoT, how the IoT will take-off in Indonesia.

What’s one thing you can keep talking about for hours?

Leadership, and how you develop leadership and transformation. Leadership is definitely how you lead your team and how you create as a leader. It sounds very sexy to be a leader. Very interesting. But it requires a lot of investment from yourself. It requires authenticity. Authenticity is definitely the keyword for me.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading a book about Winston Churchill. I did not know much about him. I saw one movie and wanted to know more about his life, how he managed to stay strong during the Second World War, it was a very decisive period for Europe and for the world.

What are the qualities you most admire in a person?

I like people who can really listen, not just there to answer. This is definitely a great quality. Listening is understanding what the person says and what the person implies. It’s more than words.

I admire people who are strong and quiet at the same time. I like when I see this in someone, because it gives a sense of peace around them.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or deceased, who would they be?

I would love to have dinner with Zinedine Zidane. And as I am in Indonesia if I had the chance to have dinner with President Joko Widodo. And one giant of the 20th century, I think is Nelson Mandela, he dedicated all his life doing the right thing.

What is art for you and what type of art do you find most interesting?

Art is like a sense of humor or a joke. If you need to explain it, it’s not funny anymore. (laugh)

It’s like music, I don’t need to explain music. So yes, music is definitely one, dance is another one that I find to be the most interesting.

Do you ever regret something in your life? And what is that?

No. Nothing.

What is fate? And do you believe in fate?

That’s a very deep question. Yeah, I do believe in fate. Even though I’m not sure I can define it. I believe fate is when you meet yourself. Right? You think you know yourself, but life will bring you in different situations and you will discover more about yourself. So, I cannot tell you exactly what fate is. But I think when you meet your fate, you ll know it.

That’s deep.

I believe it takes courage to meet your fate.

Annelis Putri

Journalist

Mahinda Arkyasa

Editor

Annelis P.

Interview

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