Interview with Andreas Beckers - tkIS Egypt CEO
Andreas, you took over from Thore Lohmann as Country CEO tkIS Egypt on 1st February this year. What have your first few weeks in Cairo, Egypt been like and did you get off to a good start?
I received a very warm welcome and I am glad that I had the chance to introduce myself beforehand at the end of December in a tkIS team video call. Thore, who I have known for quite some time through my many Uhde years, facilitated my start a lot. The colleagues who couldn’t join that call received my video message later. My wife and I arrived in Cairo on 17th January and launched ourselves into our new life and working environment the very next day. That is how it has been for the first 21 days and we haven’t regretted a single minute. I had already been to Egypt a number of times on business trips to Alexandria (Abu Qir Fertilizer Company), Air Soukhna (Egyptian Fertilizer Company), Damietta (Mopco ...) and Port Said (EPPC), but this was almost 15 – 20 years ago. The development since then has been enormous. When we built the first ammonia & urea plant for EFC in Ain Soukhna, approx. 120 km south of Cairo, there was a single-lane road to and from the site. But now, after visiting the nearby NCIC site in my first week, I see there is a five-lane motorway (in both directions) with many new huge residential compounds as well as all kinds of industrial facilities. This shows how much the infrastructure, the various industries and the overall economy have grown in the past two decades.
What is your impression of our office here at the Sheraton Heliopolis?
The hospitable Egyptian culture was palpable from the start. They made it so easy to settle in, giving us all the necessary advice and recommendations. Well-situated not far from the airport, the prestigious sixth-floor officebuilding surrounded by a good infrastructure of neighboring companies, banks and academic centers (colleges & universities) allows an easy commute for staff, partners and customers. I have followed Uhde Egypt’s development from its early establishment as a branch office in 2004, and know the former CEOs (Gernod Wagner, Erich Szonn, Georg Schulz and of course, for the past 7 ½ years, Thore Lohmann) who have influenced this transition from a branch office to a local EPC partner for small to medium-sized projects, with the added provision of important local support for our large EPC projects executed under the lead of our German headquarters. tkIS Egypt has evolved significantly over the past 17 years.
What is your vision for tkIS Egypt for the coming years?
I took up this post with the clear intention to further develop the company together with my management team and our staff. All the prerequisites are there: A very good base of operations, a dedicated team, a market with good opportunities, accomplishments which prove the capabilities, leading technologies that serve future needs. A good comparison is the conductor of an orchestra. Outstanding individual musicians together, under the lead of a pioneering conductor, are capable of playing great symphonies. I believe that my predecessor has already put together a fine orchestra and I am looking forward to contributing my experience and to providing clear leadership in writing the next chapters in the UHDE success story.