Talking with Kyro's New President & CEO

During glasstec last week, Mika Seitovirta, who on January 1 takes over as president and chief executive officer of Kyro Corp., parent company of Glaston Technologies, which includes Tamglass and Bavelloni, spoke with USGlass. We started by asking him about his background.

USG: Where are you from?

MS: I was born in Helsinki. I went to school there. My studies were in Finland. I have a masters degree in business administration. After university I worked for two years in a large hotel company and then I went to work for Volvo at the beginning of 1987. My background was in the automotive industry for 16 years and then beverages.
I wanted to work in sales as well as management not only in Finland but also internationally. After Volvo, I joined Scottish & Newcastle, and I was managing director for Hartwall, S&N's beer, soft drinks and water business in Finland.

USG: Your background basically has been in management?

MS: Yes, and in the most recent years in general management.

USG: What is your family background?

MS: My parents are from Finland.

USG: You speak different languages? How did you learn them all?

MS: Coming from a small country, you have to be flexible and I have learned these languages, partly from luck. Swedish you speak when you are in Finland. I learned French through school. You have to learn the language; otherwise, you cannot speak to your dealers.

USG: You've been around.

MS: No, no not too many other countries. Then we wanted to get our children back to Finland. We wanted them to get a Finnish background.

USG: How did it come about that you took your new position at Kyro?

MS: While I don't know all the details, I know something about it. I was ready for it with my background. Kyro is a very well-managed technology company. There comes a point when the CEO has to retire. Kyro had a situation like that in the very early stages this year. I started to study the company and the industry and I was very impressed with its position. I thought this might be an opportunity not only to use my experience to benefit the company but also for me to learn new things. It's important to always be learning to keep your energy level up. It's a global, highly competitive industry with innovation. It was a good combination.

USG: You've always worked with public companies?

MS: That's true as well. It's a somewhat different situation for me at Kyro but you have your customers. You have your products and your philosophy. It's very much through your people that you succeed. Leadership is important.

USG: I realize that it is early since you do not take over until January, but in terms of your new job, what goals do you have?

MS: Yes, it is early. It's a very well-managed company, financially solid, and perhaps what is most important I think we have the will to grow and to capitalize on the technology leadership and the market position that we have. The company has the resources to make this happen. I am very encouraged

USG: What do you do in your spare time?

MS: Basically, I am a family man although I have traveled a lot in my previous jobs. I swim. You have to do something to keep fit. Then things like nature are very close for me.

USG: How old are your children?

MS: My son is 18 and I have two daughters 16 and 11.

USG: How old are you?

MS: I am 44.

USG: Have you had much chance to see the show? What is your impression of glasstec?

MS: Unfortunately, this is the only day I am going to be here and I have been very busy. So I wouldn't say that I have understood a lot of what I've seen here. However, I feel very lucky to be here as this is clearly a very comprehensive picture of the industry. You can meet your customers here and you see how it all works. How people are tackling the industry-wide questions and actually approaching the industry as a whole.

USG: What did you find most interesting about the press conference which Glass Processing Days held at which the heads of Glaverbel, Nippon Sheet Glass and Guardian spoke?

MS: What I found most interesting was the environmental issues. For me, that was really an eye opener. I think it is very important that we continue to work toward that direction which was described by these gentlemen. I think that's the key: companies have to be responsible. The energy question in the world is one of the most important global issues. Our industry is involved in this and it's an issue we have to find in our values and our agenda as well.

USG: And of course this comes back to your love of nature.

MS: Absolutely. You have to respect nature if you have respect for human beings.

USG: Any other comments in introducing yourself to the industry?

MS: I think you have hit the main points but I just want to say how eagerly I am looking forward to working in this industry and with our customers. I think this is a very good industry with a lot of very good people.

USG: Will you be traveling a lot this next year?

MS: Yes, absolutely. You will see me a lot among our customers to start with. That is very important. I like to manage in a style in which I am among the people, seeing customers. That's the only way to understand how the industry is going.

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