Crown Europe president: ‘I don’t believe in complicated structures, or complex decision-making processes’

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

The HoloCrown from Crown's Speciality Packaging division. Picture: Crown.
The HoloCrown from Crown's Speciality Packaging division. Picture: Crown.
Crown Europe has elected president Didier Sourisseau who takes over from predecessor, Jerry Gifford this year.

Before taking up the role, Sourisseau, 51, had several positions at Crown after joining from CarnaudMetalbox, which was acquired by the firm in 1996.

'Change' can be challenging

Didier Sourisseau

He has been with the company for 25 years as sales manager, sales director and vice president of the Specialty Packaging division, Europe, before becoming senior VP, Food Europe.

Specialty Packaging Europe includes HoloCrown, holographic foil technology, where holographic images can be stamped directly on decorative tins, a packing format for Nescafé coffee with a three-piece tin, resealable hinged-lid plastic cap, by AptarGroup’s ‘Click to Close’ technology and Peelseem peelable end, among others.

Also, when Crown moved its European headquarters to Zug, Switzerland, in 2011, to centralize all senior management in one single location, he was chosen to lead the company’s Food and Closures Business Units.

Aside from working with his predecessor for five years, Sourisseau has developed premium tins for the champagne and cognac markets in France and Southern Europe and contributed to a project that led to fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier using food can technology in its perfume packaging.

The Jean Paul Gaultier 'Classique' Intense range combines a bright gold metal body with a warm sienna ink to highlight the word Intense, making it seem as if it was written in bright red lipstick, produced in Burgundy, France.

I like to keep things simple and don’t believe in complicated structures, and even less in complex decision-making processes​,” said Sourisseau.

While Crown is a large, global company, I am keen to take a “hands on” approach to management, aligning strategic goals across the business to drive the message of excellence​.

Some divisions will see structured projects as a novelty. We will need to communicate and communicate even more, and above all we will need to stay simple. Being part of a change is always a challenge. Bad habits that feel comfortable are my own worst enemy​.”

Fast moving F&B market

He added that the food and beverage industry today is ‘a fast-moving world’, with dynamics moving faster and sometimes in opposite directions.

Our clients will only retain the top performers. This will require an important commitment on my part, as I will need to convince the entire European business to focus on excellence rather than compel​.”

Sourisseau was referring to Crowns initiative ‘Focus on Excellence,’ that encourages each Business Unit within Crown Europe to strive for excellence within a set of established targets and frameworks within a given time-period.

The program has been driving success within Crown Europe’s teams and, in turn, with each of its customers.

It’s a project that compels each division to define what “excellency” means in its’ own field, to set the main targets to get there and to reach them within a period of three years​,” he added.

This has been driving our success as the entire team adopted it very quickly. It’s a vital message for our clients: we are telling them that we are looking for nothing less than excellency to satisfy them​.”

Gifford, 61, has been appointed executive VP and COO effective from April 1, 2017, when he steps down.

He will report to Timothy Donahue, president and CEO, and will be responsible for the Americas and European Divisions. He will also assume responsibility for CMB Engineering, which is the company's can manufacturing equipment business, and corporate project management and engineering.

Prior to his current position in Europe, Gifford led Crown Beverage Packaging North America for four years. He worked on the acquisition of Mivisa and the divestiture of the industrial portion of the specialty packaging business.

"Didier has successfully led our important European Food business through a period of strategic transformation, improving profitability despite significant currency headwinds and other challenges​,” he said.

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