Piovesana is leader of the brand
Alessandra Piovesana's stated aim is to drive growth, profitability and productivity through a customer-led approach to business. As north Asia's regional managing director at Nuance-Watson (HK), she has done this by successfully managing marketing strategies, product turnarounds, corporate start-ups, and re-tendering exercises. Her career began in Europe where she handled brand management and marketing for Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and the Revlon Group. To gain broader experience, she then worked for L'Oreal Group Asia between 1985 and 1995, before joining LVMH Group as a regional division general manager. She talks to Jan Chan
What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
My responsibilities include achieving profitability, strategic growth, and enhanced competitiveness for our operations in Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. We have a workforce of more than 800, and I believe the important thing is to be sufficiently clear in segregating business priorities and dealing with them systematically. You must be able to assess and endorse self-generated opportunities, as well as react quickly to situations which emerge spontaneously. It is also necessary to 'inject' trust and passion into your people, while leading development and gaining recognition for the company.
How did you become a better leader?
I think the first priority for a leader is to hold yourself responsible for your own acts and the way you live. That attitude then extends to thinking about the well-being and success of others within a family, a company and other kinds of entities.
To keep improving as a leader, you need to remain inquisitive, interested, passionate, competitive and confident, while always being true to yourself.
What vision do you share with your employees?
There has to be a commitment to enhancing knowledge and an understanding of customers. This is the starting point for our initiatives to drive performance and growth. We are a business built on diversity, operating in various locations, and dealing with customers of numerous nationalities, which conditions choices, perceptions and buying attitudes. Our winning card is to ensure this diversity is the basis of a strong company culture where we are recognised for best practices, teamwork, individuals with a high level of expertise, and a strong will to succeed.
With so many responsibilities, what do you prioritise?
I have learned that planning and visibility of business operations are essential to good strategic leadership, so I focus on this first. Since 'retail is detail', you need a thorough knowledge of the business, which takes sustained interest, self-motivation and enjoying what you do. In our industry, every marginal difference can be important, so you must manage the financials rigorously using the same principles and procedures, whether times are good or more challenging.
What specifically did you learn from your time with LVMH and L'Oreal?
With LVMH, I learned that brands have a distinct culture. This is built around craftsmanship and quintessential values which distinguish their products and satisfy the needs of target customers. At L'Oreal, I saw how it takes entrepreneurship and an understanding of diverse markets to develop brands. Above all, it was there that I really learned about Asia.
How do you handle pressure?
There are times when pressure reaches peaks, and I came to realise that it's not what you do that is most important, but what you have done before to prepare yourself.
Piovesana obtained an MBA in international marketing and finance from the University
Is a member of the advisory board of the business administration faculty at the University of Macau
Was selected as a ?Woman of the Year? in 2003 by the Moodie Report