Interlacing Experiences, Interview with Claudio Romiti

Interview with Claudio Romiti

Perini Journal

The ability to manage companies of international dimensions requires uncommon knowledge and qualities such as an aptitude for the attentive observation of the market, recognizing its most remote dynamics, the ability to identify and exploit resources necessary for the production cycle, to motivate collaborators by making them a responsible part of the company’s activities, to know and often anticipate customer demands.

During his long-standing experience in roles of great managerial responsibility, Claudio Romiti has matured these abilities, showing a strong sensitivity for knowledge and for the development of a corporate culture.

Experiences and knowledge that, by taking on the presidency of the Assindustria association of Lucca, Romiti places at the disposal of the city and its production territory.


On January 1st of this year Claudio Romiti, already President of Lucense1, took on the Presidency of the Assindustria Industrialists’ Association of Lucca. Managing Director of SCA Packaging for over 15 years, Romiti has acquired a wideranging experience in the field, strong managerial capabilities and a good knowledge of the world of associations matured not only in the realm of Assindustria Lucca but also on a national scale as President of Comieco2 and member of the Governing Council of Assocarta3.


Your experience as Managing Director at SCA Packaging has allowedyou to obtain an in-depth knowledge of the industrial fabric of the territory directly on the field, while the charge of President at Lucense gave you the opportunity of working on projects aimed at the development of the territory’s economic system. What have these experiences taught you?

Since a person never stops learning and growing, it becomes difficult to summarize 35 years of company life - where many have been the things learned - in just a few words, and I can surely say the same for the 3 years of presidency of Lucense. But concentrating such experiences in three points, I’d say first of all, the strength to never give up, even in difficult times where everything seems lost. Moments of difficulty have taught me that they must be faced full force and serenely, and that’s when you discover that you can also count on the help of others to overcome the crisis. Breaking the scheme of airtight behaviors helps mature new ideas, new projects and so favors the quest for new solutions and opportunities. And last but certainly not least, the discovery and practice of teamwork. When this can be done and people can be made to work for a common goal, the results arrive sooner or later.

But it must be clear what is meant by teamwork, for this is a conceptthat is all too often abused and sometimes even wrongly interpreted. From my point of view, a good team must have a leader who knows how to place working in common before his or her own ideas, to make room for everyone and give direction to the team, but not limit the personality of others. Also, a leader must assume responsibility for the decisions made in order for the work to progress.


A new professional journey is opening up for you with the appointmentof Director of Assindustria. What are your expectations and new ideas for the future of the Association? How will the Association renew itself? In your new role as Director, what would you like to accomplish?

The Association per se represents a good example of a structure organized on the concept of team, ready to serve the shareholder, who is also its main customer. So no big renewals are planned, but just those changes necessary to adapt its activity to changes in the environment we work in. I would like to see an increase in enterprising opportunities in our territory through growth in corporate culture and training for the young generation so that they can be more prepared for the job market. We must dedicate more attention to training people, but we must also understand aptitudes and make an effort to find solutions to problems in reasonable times. Unfortunately, today we are still witnessing enormous delays for decisions that concern industrial activities and their development programs.It is perhaps an ambitious goal but not a utopian one; we must have high expectations if we want to reach important goals.


Lucca is the home of Tissue, a veritable Tissue Valley that embodies know-how, history and technology. How do you see the field and its potential for the near future? And what about the present and future of cardboard?

Luckily, tissue is still a growing field on a national level, and Lucca hosts production companies as well as suppliers of machines and services that are true excellencies and world leaders in their respective fields, so I am confident and I expect a continued period of growth. But we must be careful: this doesn’t mean that such growth will take place all in our territory. Our major companies work in a European and even a global dimension, so they will grow further, but outside of Italy. And career opportunities will concern mainly those employees willing to go and work abroad. In this field, unfortunately, the territory in and around Lucca will no longer be able to offer substantial development margins.

For cardboard, it’s different because packaging, so connected to consumption goods, is feeling the general crisis. In this field, too, we have excellencies: multinational and local companies capable- with the necessary re-organizations and investments - of overcoming the current negative phase, ready to seize the opportunities of a concrete recovery in the economy that will have to take place, sooner or later. Indeed, we are actually expecting a signal that indicates an inversion of the trend in the latter part of this year.


June will see the first edition of “iT’s tissue: The Italian technology experience”, an event organized by a network of engineering companies working in the field of tissue that has the aim of collectively promoting and growing the excellence of this Italian district worldwide. Your comments on this initiative?

The initiative is an absolute novelty in the world of paper converting machines and it will show potential customers that the quality of Made in Italy is born in a territory that has for centuries focused on a specific activity - in our case, papermaking. Know-how passed down through generations, like it was a part of the DNA of the people born in Lucca and surrounding areas where they learned the art of making paper.


Italy as a country and system is feeling the effects of a period of all-round crisis in values that reverberates also in the industrial realm. Surely we are experiencing difficult times but there is a feeling of submission and tiredness inthe air that does not spur to react. How and through which energiesis it possible to do so?

Luckily, in Lucca companies have managed to hold out and the paper production and engineering companies in particular have weathered the crisis well, reacting with innovation and intensifying their presence and penetration in international markets. They may perhaps look tired, but this is due more to the strings and bindings that bureaucracy imposes on them,to the delays in the adaptation of infrastructures and to costs -certainly not comparable to those of European competitors. I intentionally say European and not World competitors because the greatest competition comes from the disparity in costswith the rest of Europe. Energy is just one example. How can we react? Perhaps by activating that teamwork I always refer to,involving leaders endowed with the gift of farsightedness that can make the appropriate decisions.


Let’s speak about the young generation and the future: how importantis it to invest in the young and how can we do this?

It is important to invest in the young generation, and all the more so today with unemployment reaching 30%. And we can do this in two ways: through updating their educational training and placing students even more in contact with the labor world. The Association is committed in this direction through various initiatives. A perfect example is the “Orientagiovani” project that each year sees hundreds of youngsters from primary and secondary schools involved in meetings with experts, managers and owners of the most important companies of our Province.

Also, the major engineering companies in the territory have given the spur for the start-up of a project aimed at primary schools to sensitize families on the importance that a technical-professional education has in finding a job. This has been rather neglected in recent times and companies are having difficulty finding technical personnel and industrial technicians.


Sustainability and the future: how can the industry (tissue/paper/cardboard) be sustainable and look to the future?

Differently from other fields, the paper industry bases its production on a renewable and recyclable raw material, and this fact alone allows us to say that it is in-line with the principles of sustainability. In addition to this, I’d like to underscore that our paper industry has for years been attentive to reducing the consumption of resources such as water and energy, and it has developed several activities in this sense, such as the “Paperbref” project that has allowed the Distretto Cartario di Capannori (Paper District of the town of Capannori) to present itself as a best practice on several vanguard positions on a global level.


For you, what does innovation represent and how can we continue speaking about innovation and ingenuity in the field of paper/cardboard?

Innovation can concern many different aspects: if it is referred to the production process, for example, it can go from the simple improved application to the patent that can really revolutionize the process itself or the production machinery. The paper field is very active on this front and each year small and large process or product modifications are made on the systems within our facilities that make our products more competitive on the market. These ameliorations are of course more frequent in the field of tissue that in other types of paper.


Can you give us a global overview on our industrial fabric?

Even in this phase of very serious recession that began at the end of 2008 and that has had an even more acute stage starting at the end of the first semester of 2011, the industrial activity of the Province and its economy with it, have experienced a trend that - although not exempt from difficulties - was less devastating compared to the rest of Tuscany.

And this is because our territory possesses a rather articulated industrial fabric, in large part oriented towards international exchange and this - as took place also during the recession phases of the recent past - allows the economy of the Province - second in regional ranking - to benefit from compensations and thus not experience moments of acutecrisis that can instead be experienced by territories having a strong, if not exclusive, sectorial concentration.

As is well known, side by side with industrial processes that have for the most part roots dating a long way back, activities have developed that have with time grown into modern production units. From engineering for the field of paper, to the nautical field, to plastics, to foodstuffs: all activities that contribute to making the name of Lucca renowned the world over.


The figure of the woman in industry today: how has it changed and how is it evolving?

There are many different fields in our Province where female professionals are the architects of the development of companies or of economic enterprises, from the field of paper to services to the nautical industry to marble, fashion and culture, to almost all the production environments of our Province, not to mention foreign support and consultancy activities that have traditionally been performed by women such as accountants and lawyers.

In every field, we are witnessing a progressive increment of the presence of women at different levels, with key figures such as managers or consultants in the companies of our Province which, as we all know, is characterized by a diffused presence of small and medium-sized firms generally managed on a family tradition basis.


Looking ahead, always keeping in mind where we have started from, allows us to know and learn something new, always. •


1. Lucense is a non-profit Consortium Joint-Stock company born in Lucca in 1984 through the participation of partner public agencies, bank institutions and foundations and trade associations. The activity is aimed at the development of its territorial and national economic system but in the course of the years, LUCENSE’s reference market has progressively broadened up to today’s national dimensions, and it is a Research organism pursuant to community regulation GU EU n.2006/C323/01, involved in the realm of industrial research, experimental development, technology transfer and dissemination also for some international activities.

2. Comieco is the Italian National Consortium for the Recovery and Recycling of Cellulose-based Packaging.

3. Assocarta is the Italian trade organization that groups together, represents and safeguards the interests of pulp, paper and board manufacturing companies..

  • Assindustria Lucca
  • Claudio Romiti
  • Claudio Romiti
  • Assindustria Lucca
  • Assindustria Lucca
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