CEO Today UK Awards 2021

The Vita Group has over 2,700 employees across Europe and functions in 15 countries. Primarily a European-based business, it divides the region into the UK, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe. The company operates 36 units across the continent and has grown substantially in Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Balkans in recent times. With its sights set on further growth in 2021, The Vita Group is on a mission to continue creating comfort, delivering performance, and enhancing everyday life. How would you evaluate your first months at The Vita Group? After joining, my focus was to assemble a strong team that focused on our core values of safety, integrity, innovation, resourcefulness and responsibility. I believe we are creating a resilient and committed workforce united towards a single goal. As mentioned, The Vita Group employs 2,700 people and from day one, my priority was to be able to talk to everyone. I asked for the email address of all employees in the organisation, which was met with some confusion as sending out a group email and trying to speak with all employees was not a common practice for the group. I honestly believe that every leader should be doing this level of communication - we use video and monthly updates to reach the whole organisation. This practice has been introduced at the divisional MD’s level, where they now have live monthly video calls with their top management teams. It is not unusual for me to pick up the phone and call someone from customer service, for example, to see how they are doing and what they have been up to. My goal is to ensure that the whole team understands that the management team is accessible, it’s not the CEO who runs the company – it’s a team effort! A title is not the real sign of leadership, you must be seen and heard and let people judge you on your commitment, integrity, and strategic capability to do the right thing. We are all on the same journey together, we cannot succeed unless we all know the targets and objectives and how we intend to reach them. Thus, the importance of an aligned purpose of creating comfort, delivering performance, and enhancing everyday life. As one might expect, this teamwork and togetherness has proved particularly important over the last 15 months, as The Vita Group faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 2019 saw us produce our best earnings year, in the company’s history based on the current format and footprint. We improved our earnings further in 2020, even with the COVID-19 challenges. The continued commitment from our employees and owners allowed us to continue investing through 2020, setting in motion the potential to further advance our position in new market segments, while enhancing our position in bedding, medical and hygiene sectors. In 2021 we have performed very well in the first four months of the financial year. Does this mean that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t affected the company in any negative way? It has certainly been an interesting time – as the pandemic commenced, no one knew what to expect as this is something none of us has had to deal with before! I was in Asia when the continent was battling SARS and H5N1, so in the back of my mind, I believed the human race would manage to successfully come through the COVID-19 pandemic. When Europe went into its first lockdown back in spring 2020, we worked very hard to ensure all our plants were safe by installing initiatives such as temperature controls, staff bubbles and social distancing. We also kept all employees informed with weekly video updates to ensure seamless communication with every single employee of the company – constantly updating them on what our plan for managing this was. It was an uncertain time for everyone, and my priority was to ensure that our people were Vita Technical Division Manufacturing 11 2 CEO TODAY UNITED KINGDOM AWARDS 2021

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