Glaston Acting CEO Sasu Koivumäki Discusses Leadership Amid a Pandemic

Sasu Koivumäki

Sasu Koivumäki is now the acting CEO at Glaston amid a global pandemic that halted much of the worldwide economy for months. He has taken over from Arto Metsänen, who stepped down from the position on June 1, 2020. With 18 years of experience at the company, including three as deputy to the CEO, Koivumäki feels more comfortable than nervous in taking on this responsibility. USGNN™ spoke with him on June 3.

Q: How will the transition process work?

A: Our board of directors will go through a search process, hopefully a short one, for the new CEO, which is required for public companies. Arto Metsänen will be in a senior advisor role for the rest of the year to help me with the transition. We’ve been working together for the past ten years, so we know each other really well. He’s been more active in the Middle East and some parts of Asia as well as in the emerging technologies area so he will step back but be there when I need him.

Q: How does it feel taking on the acting CEO role during a global pandemic?

A: I feel proud of being able to take on this role after 18 years. I’m been getting to know colleagues at our different facilities. We have around 800 people in our organization. Even though I have 18 years of experience, the organization as a whole has thousands of years of experience. Being able to lead that group of people makes me feel proud. It’s a big responsibility but it’s something I’ve been preparing for during the past year. It’s not as big of a change in that respect.

When it comes to COVID-19, Europe is starting to open up. Our locations in China were closed for some weeks when the crisis started but our European factories remained open. Coronavirus has impacted travel over the past two or three months but, at the same time, it’s accelerated the development of our remote support capabilities … We weren’t able to have customers visiting our facilities but now we’re slowing starting to do that again as well.

Q: What are some of the company’s short-term goals in relation to COVID-19?

A: One thing everyone in Europe is expecting to see, and I’m sure it’s the same in North America as well, is that their government will have a stimulus package to speed up recovery so we will not be stuck in a period of low growth. Hopefully that would have a positive impact on our customers. If our customers are succeeding, then it will have a positive impact on us as well.

Q: What are some of Glaston’s long-term goals?

A: We’re focusing on the continued integration of Glaston and Bystronic. That’s something I’ve been responsible for and will continue to be responsible for. Another key development area is automation, this applies to all of our insulating glass and automotive products … Digitalization is another thing. We want to be able to provide more information to our customers to help them run their production lines. One thing the crisis allowed us to do was to accelerate the development of our digitalization technologies.

I also strongly believe that understanding customers’ needs and addressing those needs in our products is something we should continue to focus on doing. We have a strong organization and we can become even stronger in the future.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: I’ve been extremely happy to see the reaction from the market and the congratulations I’ve received. I want to thank everyone for that. It’s an interesting time to lead a group of professionals and I hope to see everyone soon once we’re able to travel again.

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