9Sensient Technologies Corp.
Milwaukee/Hoffman Estates, Illinois
2013 sales: ~$643.3 million
Estimated market share: 2.7%
Chairman and CEO: Paul Manning
It was another busy year for Sensient Technologies Corp. The
company appointed Paul Manning as CEO in February 2014,
named Sam Lteif as its new flavors president in April 2014,
settled into its new flavors and fragrances group headquarters
in Chicago, approved a plan to initiate a further restructuring
program (it follows the one conducted last year), and continues
to focus on transforming its flavors and fragrances group by
shifting from basic ingredients to more value-added products.
P&F spoke with Paul Manning, who succeeds Kenneth
Manning, who retired in February 2014, about the company’s
future, as well as growth prospects for the F&F industry.
P&F: What opportunities/challenges have you faced since you
began as CEO?
Manning: As CEO, one of my initial areas of focus has been
fundamentals, including new product development, sales
management, product safety and capital investment. We have
excellent opportunities to become more targeted and efficient,
grow our revenue and margins, and deliver value and innovation
to our customers. Beyond these areas, I have also been focused
on our recruiting efforts and our employee development programs. I want to ensure that we have “A” players in the company,
and I have created a number of programs to identify, retain and
promote these employees. Since becoming CEO, I have also
taken the opportunity to meet with many of our shareholders,
share the strategy for the business and discuss the fundamentals
I want to drive. I view this as an important part of my job, and
I plan to continue this program of shareholder engagement.
P&F: How has the relocation of the company’s flavor and fragrance group from Indiana to the Chicago area impacted the
Manning: The move of our flavors and fragrances headquarters
from Indianapolis to Chicago has gone extremely well. From
announcement to completion, the move was accomplished in
less than nine months. We have taken advantage of a much
deeper talent pool in Chicago to upgrade our management and
technical teams and to add market leading talent to the business.
We have also seen a dramatic uptick in customer visits to our
new facility, which is critical to getting projects and generating
new wins. The move has transformed our business, our culture
and the way we are viewed by customers. It serves as an important component of our overall strategy to reposition Sensient
Flavors as a value-added solutions provider and partner.
P&F: How do you plan to grow the business in the coming
Manning: Sensient will continue to focus on providing unique
value-added solutions to customers as defined by consumer
tastes and preferences. A strong new product development
and sales pipeline driven by our industry-leading applications
and flavor development talent will ensure our growth. Some
flavor companies are both developing products and working
on branding, as well as market positioning for their clients.
Basically, food and beverage companies are asking for these
services from their suppliers.
P&F: Do you see this as the future way of doing business for
most F&F suppliers?
Manning: We believe food and beverage companies have, and
will continue to rely on their flavor and fragrance suppliers to
act as an extension of their marketing, research and development function. This allows them to efficiently focus on the
areas where they can add value, and it ensures quicker and
more robust outcomes. However, I do not see CPG [consumer
packaged goods] companies outsourcing their core competence
of marketing. They may look to their suppliers to provide trend
analysis and other market perspectives and insights, but this will
continue to be a highly collaborative process.
P&F: How has your company dealt with the impact of raw
material costs? Do you expect prices to stabilize this year?
We believe food and beverage companies
have, and will continue to rely, on their flavor
and fragrance suppliers to act as an extension
of their marketing, research and development