At age 70, Manfred Gingl could be off enjoying his retirement after a high-flying 50-plus-year career in the auto business.
Instead, Gingl is about to shake up the Luxembourg-headquartered International Automotive Components, an interior parts company with 50 factories around the world and 2018 sales of about $4bn (€3.5bn). In the coming days, Gingl, who was named CEO last summer, is expected to announce an overhaul of IAC intended to set it on a new path.
It's not a corporate restructuring, he clarifies. It's more of a "step one" in a plan to change the way IAC thinks, getting it ready for bigger changes in the years ahead. IAC is the largest injection moulder in North America, according to Plastics News research, with $1.6bn (€1.4bn) worth of sales in 2017. Magna currently ranks at No. 32 in Plastics News' ranking of top injection moulders in the region, with $277m (€240m) in sales. Magna's plastics operations dropped dramatically when it sold its interior operations to Groupo Antolin.
The long-range thinking for IAC comes from a man who has been making business strategy since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House.
"Maybe I don't have the youth, but I still have the strength to build another company," Gingl told Automotive News, a US sister publication of Plastics News Europe.
The plan is this: He wants to convert IAC's culture from a corporate mentality to an entrepreneurial one. Starting immediately, he says, IAC's factories will loosely operate as independent businesses.
Local management teams will establish profit goals. They will make decisions about their own costs, make themselves competitive as standalone enterprises and structure themselves however they see fit. They will even, Gingl says, have the authority to pursue new business when an opportunity presents itself.
"This company is going to refocus on where the action is — and that's at the factories," he said. "If your management teams don't feel like they have the power and authority to make improvements, then you've got a problem.
"We want the factories to earn money; otherwise, you're not going to be in business."