Return"Large Multinationals Are Absorbing Midsize Companies on a Daily Basis" | An Interview with Dídac Cerdà, C.O.O of the Briolf Group
MTN News meets Dídac Cerdà, the new Chief Operating Officer of the Briolf Group which includes Montana Colors
Joining the company as an engineering intern just before the millennium, Dídac Cerdà rose through the ranks, getting to know Montana Colors inside and out, before his recent pivot to a new position: overseeing long-term strategy at the recently formed Briolf Group as the COO.
We thought it would be the perfect time to talk to Dídac about the intricacies of Montana Colors and the jump to a brand new role at the Briolf Group.
Until recently, Montana Air and Montana Colors were two different entities, right? Can you explain why that was the case, and what the current set up is?
We decided to establish two different companies a few years after the creation of Montana and the unfair competition we went through at the hands of the German company that use our name.
Montana Air, S.L. would handle product development (R&D), manufacturing and marketing of private label products for other brands. Meanwhile, Montana Colors, S.L. would be in charge of everything connected to the Montana/MTN brand: marketing, distribution and sales.
20 years have passed and both companies have grown a lot. In the end, running two different companies made some internal processes very difficult and that’s why we decided to simplify the structure, keeping only the founding company: Montana Colors, S.L.
What is the Briolf Group and how is Montana Colors connected to it?
Briolf was born from the merger of the Roberlo Group of companies – a Girona company specializing in putties and paints for the motoring sector – and the Montana Colors group.
In recent years, the chemical sector has been undergoing many movements, and medium-sized companies are disappearing: you’re either a small fish or a big one, and you know what happens to the small ones…
Large multinationals are absorbing midsize companies on a daily basis, and Montana wanted to avoid being absorbed by a multinational in the future. Joining forces with another local, family company like Roberlo, that we share values and culture with, enables us to remain independent from large multinationals in the sector.
There were some rumors going round about the incorporation of Montana Colors into Briolf, and some people we saying that the company had been sold. Can you clear that up for us?
In the year 2021, companies belong to the people who strive every day to carry out their responsibilities in the best possible way. We all earn our salaries though our work, every day.
It doesn’t matter much who owns the company shares, and even less in the artistic sector that Montana forms a part of.
The important thing is that Montana's values and culture remain intact, as well as its whole team, which continues to lead the project. Starting with Jordi Rubio, founder of Montana and “soul” of the brand.
Was it a drastic change to go from Director of Montana Air to Chief Operating Officer of Briolf?
It is a major change, yes.
At Montana Air I was taking care of operations, so it's not a new world for me. All the group companies are in the paint and coatings sector; sharing processes, machines, suppliers and raw materials.
The mission of my new position is to make sure that productive and logistical capacities are never an obstacle for the growth of the group whilst remaining competitive. In my new position, I’ll focus more on long term strategy rather than the short to medium term.
On an emotional level is there a difference?
I'm not going to lie, of course there is. Although I am 100% an engineer, I also have my emotional side and after 22 years, a change like this is not easy. In fact, what I miss the most is sharing the day-to-day with the human team that I created at Montana Air. Although we continue to see each other and I haven’t lost touch, it’s obviously not the same.
Being in your position must involve great responsibilities and sacrifices.
At the moment we are working, we all have responsibilities. The big difference is that the higher you are on the organizational pyramid, the more serious the consequences are if you make a mistake.
I am a great fan of climbing and I’m not afraid of risk and challenges, which always helps in certain moments of crisis, although I never turn my engineer brain off that works with 0’s and 1’s…
For 22 years, as you know, we’ve experienced very good times but also extreme crises: the fires in our production plants and the attack of unfair competition against our brand.
I haven’t had to make sacrifices, but I’ve had opportunities to learn and to build projects. At the end of the day, we’ve always known how to get the positives out of any negative experiences.
Myself and Jordi have always been very comfortable working together since he has the same philosophy.
Take us on a quick trip from your first day at Montana Colors til you became the director of Montana Air.
I joined Montana in 1999 as an intern in my last year of Chemical Engineering and over 22 years I’ve had a few different positions in different departments: Quality, R&D, Purchasing, Operations the Private Label Commercial Department. Finally in 2015, I became the Managing Director of Montana Air.
At the same time, I’ve been developing management responsibilities. With the creation of the Briolf Group and the merger of Montana Air and Montana Colors, we believed that my experience and skills could contribute positive things to the structure of Briolf as the Group COO.
Can you recall a particularly tough time for you, personally?
Yes. The tragic fires: although as I said before, luckily we only suffered material damage that can always be repaired with time and resources.
What do you remember most fondly?
Walking through the door every day to share an exciting project with a great team who ended up being friends too.
How about graffiti, street art and art in general? Do you consider yourself a fan?
Well, the truth is that although my father does have great artistic gifts, drawing and painting using different techniques, unfortunately I didn’t inherit that ability.
I’ve always been more fond of music, especially the piano, although I have neglected it for years.
So my creative and artistic side is more musical.
Name some artists that you really like and tell us why.
Piano - Chopin, my favorite pianist.
Musical group - Coldplay. I prefer the Beatles to the Stones.
Graffiti - Os Gemeos, for what they do, how they do it and also because I’ve had the opportunity to meet them.
Check out more interviews from the We Are Montana Colors series right here, including a recent chat with Managing Director Olga Fuentes.ShareOctober 07, 2021