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Right of Way

In Focus
NAME:Florent Herson
COMPANY:Forvia Group
POSITION:Operation VP for ASEAN, Japan, Korea and India
LOCATION:Bangkok, Thailand
Forvia Group’s Operation VP for ASEAN, Japan, Korea and India, Florent Herson has capitalized on a key acquisition in automotive technology to foster global unity, innovation and growth with a vibrant, inclusive culture.

The Forvia Group is all about togetherness. For starters, the Group unites the French Faurecia and the German Hella automotive supplier brands under the one roof, aligning 150,000 staff from more than 40 countries at over 360 industrial sites and R&D centers in the process.

Then there’s Florent Herson, Forvia Group’s Operation VP for ASEAN, Japan, Korea and India, who has built a reputation as a developer of strong and diverse teams across that region.

“We’re living now in a state of permanent uncertainty.”

Having started his career with Faurecia more than 20 years ago, Herson’s blended French and Laotian background exemplifies the kind of unity and inclusivity he’s been able to inspire in his teams.

This has never been more important, he tells The CEO Magazine. “We’re living now in a state of permanent uncertainty,” he says.

“There’s been a big change in the industry as operations have shifted from the west to the east. Europe and the United States are struggling to grow, but the flexibility of Asia has helped the region to prosper, while COVID-19 demonstrated Asia’s resilience.”

A New Playing Field

Now, more than ever, it’s vital for companies to be able to adapt to the sudden changes of the modern world.

“I think Asia is much more adaptable to this new normal,” Herson says.

And he should know. In 2022, Forvia came into being when Faurecia acquired global leader in automotive technology, Hella. Working for the latter at the time, Herson’s landscape changed dramatically overnight, but he says his experience made it easy to adjust.

“It was quite easily done because I’d been working for Faurecia for so long. I knew people everywhere,” he says.

“T.Krungthai Industries has been cooperating with Faurecia Thailand since 2012. For more than a decade, we have provided Faurecia with a wide range of injection-molded plastic parts of the highest quality. We look forward to achieving many new milestones together.” – Vorapong Phonmuangla, Managing Director, T.Krungthai Industries


“When we became Forvia I moved from a operations-heavy role into something more strategic, which required a different way of management. I had to integrate Hella people into the team, some of whom had been with the company for decades.

“The challenge was to make sure everyone understood why things were happening, why we wanted to go a certain way, how we wanted to develop and why Asia was the way to go more so than Europe. We had to turn two businesses into one and unite under a common vision.”

Now, Herson’s focus is putting the power of his unified team behind improving Forvia’s tool business.

“We want to make it stronger and more profitable, determining the best differentiator,” he says. Doing so means utilizing the best local partners, such as notable ally T.Krungthai Industries in the production of Hella and Faurecia parts.

“It’s very strategic because we have to consider which processes to keep and which to not. We’ve learned, for instance, that having many things done in-house is quite valuable. Forvia was no stranger to outsourcing, but Hella took the opposite approach. The conflict has challenged us to be honest about what works,” he adds.

The Power of Togetherness

Unity, Herson believes, has the power to drive profits higher than ever. Forvia has a goal of US$32.6 billion turnover within the next five years.

“In 2019, we were at US$17.4 billion. Post-pandemic, we’re already at US$27.2 billion. Now that we’ve changed gears, the potential is there to almost double that in less than a decade, which is absolutely tremendous growth.”

The acquisition has reduced competition for both companies, allowing Forvia to cover a very wide scope within the automotive industry. Astronomical growth is the result, and Herson says Forvia’s rebalancing towards Asia is another key factor.

“To grow, you have to have the right people and the right financial resources,” he says. “We’re at a point where we have to make sure we can attract or generate the best talent into our company.”

“I think Asia is much more adaptable to this new normal.”

And then there’s the issue of sustainability, which confronts the entirety of the automotive industry. Herson says that embracing sustainable innovation will ensure there’s an environment left in which to grow.

“We are the first automotive company to be recognized as a science-based target company,” he reveals. “Our target is net zero by 2045. To reach this goal, we’ve invested heavily in green energy and solar, but also equipment longevity. If you can reuse or upgrade instead of purchasing new machines, you can improve efficiency massively.”

The automotive industry is at a crossroads as internal combustion engines begin to make way for clean mobility. Herson notes it’s important to keep mobility affordable for everyone in the process.

“Whether it’s EVs or hydrogen, it’s our mission at Forvia to pioneer technology that allows everyone to access mobility. It shouldn’t be a privilege.”

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