Mr. Lahoud brings over 25 years of regional experience in KSA, UAE, Qatar, Lebanon & Kuwait. Most recently he was the Group Chief Executive Officer of Marzooq Al Shamlan Holding in Qatar. He speaks about the vision with which he is going to lead Karcher Middle East with Shanti Petiwala, Editor, Clean Middle East.
How does it feel to take over a company like Karcher Middle East?
It feels great because Karcher is a big brand. It is the leading cleaning solutions provider in the world in terms of equipment and innovations. We are just going to take this lead to the next level in the region.
We have been established here since 1997. It’s been a long way and everything has been laid down in terms of infrastructure, positioning and now we need to move to the next level and give the market better cleaning solutions.
You’ve handled a lot of diverse plans in the past. When it comes to the cleaning and hygiene industry, what is your opinion?
Cleaning, hygiene and personal care industry is ever evolving. The cleaning of our hospitals, work spaces and the environment are gaining momentum. Everywhere, hygiene is being treated as an issue of critical importance. Especially with the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, one really needs to have the right equipment and right technology to reduce the level of risk in terms of infections and other problems.
Karcher in this regard has invented a lot of beautiful solutions that can cater to every single industry where a highly hygienic environment is required. We feel that we are at the right time at the right place and we are ready with the right equipment to do that.
What kind of strategies do you have in place to ensure that the change in leadership is a seamless transition for the brand as well as the clients?
We have been working in this part of the world for the past 22 years and our foundations have been strongly laid by Mr. Richard Nouira, my predecessor. He set the platform and now we are going to build on that platform.
The strategy we have is multidimensional. As long as we continue focusing on our customers, becoming more and more customer centric, supporting them as partners and giving them the right solutions to solve their problems, I think our only way is forward. What we have in Jebel Ali is a multi functional, multi dimensional operation. We don’t just manage the UAE, but another 13 countries across the region. Our dealers and partners in these countries are actually very excited about what’s coming in terms of product line, new technologies and how we are going to support them and develop them further.
At the end of the day, it is all about how we deliver the end products to our customers. So our dealers are our ambassadors for Karcher in their countries and we need to make sure that we invest in them and aid their growth to the level that they become like us and even better.
Any challenges that you foresee?
Well, life wouldn’t be interesting without challenges. We continuously face new challenges. We are challenged by ourselves to do better. We believe there is always a better way of doing things and one of the things that we will be focusing more on is best practices that we can develop and share between different markets and also with what Karcher has worldwide.
Mainly, the challenge for us is educating our customers and partners about our new technologies and products because we want them to educate their end users as well. We are addressing this through enhancing and improving the competence of our own people first and then relaying this to our partners.
What are your goals for 2020?
One of the very first goals is to spread awareness about the importance of having the right cleaning machines. Another major goal we have is to be present in all the major market segments where we can offer a solution. These goals are always evolving and challenging but they make our job more interesting and exciting.