Oct 07 2020

Combining forces: Franke merges divisions

Franke, the world's leading supplier of solutions and equipment for domestic kitchens, private bathrooms, semi-public and public washrooms, professional system catering and coffee preparation, is repositioning itself. In an interview, Barbara Borra, President/CEO Franke Kitchen Systems, explains the aims of the change.

The merger of the food preparation, cooking and exhaust air cleaning segments for the domestic kitchen is a logical step to further consolidate and expand the leading global market position in the food preparation (sink and tap) and cooking (extractor bonnet and hob) segments for both Franke and Faber brands.  

Mrs Borra, the Franke Group is concentrating its strengths in the food preparation, cooking and exhaust air purification segments for domestic kitchens and is merging its Faber Hoods & Cooking Systems and Franke Kitchen Systems divisions. What do you expect from this organisational adjustment? 

The main focus of this merger is on customer benefit and how we can better serve our customers. Our focus is on building close partnerships with our customers by combining our expertise and making it available to our customers efficiently. 

As part of the realignment, you yourself will assume the role of President/CEO of the Franke Kitchen Systems Division. What are your goals for the new division? 

We aim not only to offer a unique customer service, but also to focus on the future of our product categories. In particular, we will focus on issues such as the connectivity of our bonnets and air quality in general. These are issues that both former divisions are concerned with and which we now want to bring much closer together. 

Everyone is talking about Smart Home and Smart Kitchen. Various apps and gadgets are already available to support the customer's desire for more convenience. How do you position yourself in this area?  

Providing real added value for customers in the smart home sector is not always easy without it being more of a gadget than a real added value. We try to focus on topics that move customers and where we can draw on our expertise. The connectivity between cooker bonnet and hob and all the issues surrounding clean air are of primary importance to us. 

During the Corona crisis we have seen many people rediscovering their homes. The home was beautified and, more importantly, more cooking was done.  How have you as a manufacturer perceived this development in recent months?  

I think that for many companies in our industry it has certainly not been easy in recent months, especially when I think of the months of April and May. However, we are seeing that customers - because they were forced to be at home more - are thinking more about what they really want to have at home and are deciding to invest more in their own homes.

In this respect, we are currently seeing a strong catch-up to what we have experienced in recent months. I think that the importance of what a home of their own or the home itself should be able to achieve has changed permanently. And of course we will try to offer our customers interesting solutions. 

 © FrankeBarbara Borra is with Franke since 2019. Before joining Franke, she was CEO EMEA of the Fontana Group. Prior to that, she spent ten years with Whirlpool, including Vice President of the Global Food Preparation Category and General Manager for the Chinese subsidiaries. She also worked for Rhodia and General Electric, where she held various management positions. Barbara Borra is an independent board member at Brembo and a member of the Randstad supervisory board. She graduated in chemical engineering from the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy. She also holds an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

Author: Bernadette Trepte

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