In October 2022, Dr Adalbert Lechner succeeded Dr Dieter Weisskopf as Group CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli. He focuses on continuity in management and tackles current challenges with enthusiasm and a clear view for new opportunities, while purposefully driving forward the growth strategy.
You have helped shape the corporate history of Lindt & Sprüngli for 30 years and share the passion for the brand, people and markets of your two predecessors. What new approaches would you like to offer?
Management continuity is a guarantee of our success, and I will continue that. Management needs trust. I am grateful to my predecessors for building up and consolidating this trust in the Lindt & Sprüngli Group over the decades. Taking over at this point also means having respect for their work. At the same time, it is a motivating task to systematically focus on developing the Group based on this stable foundation. Over the decades, I have gained experience in the markets and, at the same time, have helped shape the Group strategy as a member of Group Management over the past six years. I have gained international experience as Head of the Global Retail division, which manages our 500 retail shops worldwide. The resulting proximity to the markets, consumers and our local teams characterizes my leadership style. I thus know the countries in the Group from both an operational and a strategic perspective.
What are you looking for in this development?
A strong foundation makes it easier to master challenging times, while at the same time it provides the freedom to anticipate and engage in the new. I took over management at a time of major upheavals on the global stage, which is reflected in the high volatility in our markets. In this uncertain environment, it is my clear goal to maintain the successful course on which Lindt & Sprüngli has found itself for decades, while at the same time taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the current change.
What sets you apart is your proximity to the markets and your long-term experience in the business operations of Lindt & Sprüngli. To what extent does this benefit you in your new role?
Markets are subject to constant change, sometimes more superficial, at other times more profound. Long-term experience of the market is definitely helpful. Only a company that adapts can remain successful in the long term. This is why proximity both to our trading partners as well as our consumers is so important. But also the trust that strong brands such as ours are sustainable over generations if they are cultivated and live up to their claims. I am also convinced that enjoyment and quality are enduring factors, especially in the premium chocolate product sector.
“Together with the Lindt & Sprüngli team, I would like to tackle the challenges of the future with joy and enthusiasm.”
You have driven the expansion of Germany to become the largest and most important market for Lindt & Sprüngli in Europe. At the same time, you have expanded the emerging markets as well as the Global Retail organization. How do the established markets differ from new ones?
In both markets, it is important to consistently focus on the needs of our consumers. While we stand out in established markets through innovations, the diversity of our product range and intensive comprehensive activation measures, our door opener into new markets is a focused range of our core brands, for which we studiously build brand awareness step by step. Particularly in emerging markets, we have learned that entering the market with our own retail shops can be a promising way to reach a solvent group of buyers at premium locations. In addition, our own shops, where the brands are experienced in a unique manner, play a special role in building brand awareness and, in particular, the premium image. In both contexts, however, our success always depends on the fact that we do not make any compromises when it comes to the product quality.
Lindt & Sprüngli has also set itself ambitious growth targets for the coming years. What are the key requirements for this?
The basic requirement is to meet the challenges with pleasure and enthusiasm and to tackle them constructively and with combined forces. Ambitious targets can be achieved if they are clearly formulated, which also applies to the measures to be implemented. For us, this means that we define how we can become even more sustainable under the given conditions and analyze what globality means for us in the future. We develop a concept on how we can successfully adapt quickly to new market conditions, thus ensuring profitable growth in the long term.
Where do you set the focus in implementation?
In the coming years, we will focus on five strategic key areas. Profitable growth is an important requirement for our independence. We want to grow faster than the market and further expand our market share in order to ensure our high valuation and create shareholder value. We will continue to invest in the premium quality of our products, which strengthens our brands and differentiates us clearly from our competitors. At the same time, this means promoting innovation in all areas. We can thus improve processes and products, inspire consumers, and consequently create the basis for future growth. In addition, we will anchor environmental, social and governance standards even more strongly, thus addressing – and rightly so – rising expectations. In all of this, we want to further develop our unique corporate culture, in which the entrepreneurial spirit of our employees plays a key role.