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Transparent yet strong, glass ushers the light and warmth of the sun into our dwellings while protecting us from the elements. Glass lenses help scientists find cures for diseases, and astronomers understand the universe. The list goes on. Glass is ubiquitous, so much so that you might hardly notice it.
Krzysztof Granicki knows this better than most. He is President of the Board of Pilkington Polska and Managing Director of East & North Europe for parent company NSG Group, one of the world’s largest glass producers.
Granicki believes the omnipresent role of glass in the global economy gives it the potential to be a change driver, especially regarding sustainability goals.
“I’m excited about the evolution of our brand so that our customers know that Pilkington is not just glass, but glass plus the innovative services,” he says.
Pilkington traces its roots back to 1826 and is known for inventing float glass, a method for manufacturing glass that radically changed the industry. It is one of many innovations across NSG Group, which has been in business for more than 100 years and employs more than 25,000 people around the world.
Granicki oversees the company’s operations in Poland, which employs approximately 2,000 people in the region and, together with automotive business Pilkington Automotive Poland, also part of the NSG Group, is among the 100 largest companies in Poland by market cap.
NSG Group manufactures glass for architectural, automotive and transport, and creative technology.
Beyond technical prowess, Granicki says corporate social responsibility is an important marker for the Pilkington brand in Poland.
“We need to live in harmony with our society,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “Across all our locations, we support local programs, hospitals, sports activities and charities.”
Granicki joined the company in a finance role in 1999. Over time, he took on more management responsibilities and was appointed Managing Director in 2010.
“The biggest motivation for me was to work with the people directly and to become a leader and inspire others,” he says. “I saw the potential for business to grow and strengthen our brand in our people.”
Granicki says he has a democratic management style, recognizing that the team has a variety of perspectives and skills, and it’s his job as a leader to create space for everyone to succeed.
“My philosophy is to attract and develop managers who work together to make the decisions,” he says. “Because the world is changing, and we need a good team always ready to make changes.”
Like many organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic tested Granicki and the entire Pilkington team to rapidly adapt and develop new ways of working.
“Of course, we are a manufacturing company, so we cannot produce glass working from home,” he says. “We learned that we need not just focus on what was good 10 years ago, and that even if a process is efficient, we cannot assume it’s working for our customers now.
“As a leader, I learned that I have to change, but the company also has to change. The way we work is changing.”
Granicki believes NSG Group can evolve and play an essential role in the fight against climate change. Doing so is a natural extension of the company’s commitment to its customers, he says.
“I think our reputation is that we give our customers something more than a basic product,” he says. “For NSG Group, we want to demonstrate that together with our customers, we can change the world.”
Granicki notes that many of the company’s glass products already boost energy efficiency, reducing the use of fossil fuels. He says the company is working on new sustainability-focused products, such as low-carbon glass and glass that minimizes the impact of solar radiation.
Granicki says that if Pilkington augments its customers’ climate change commitment through its glass, it’s a win–win. That’s true for the company’s partners, like Technoform Edge Bond Solutions Poland, Nijman/Zeetank, CIECH and LiSEC as well.
“Our long-term relationship with our customers and partners depends on Pilkington being responsive to the market, but also help our customers react to changes in the market,” he says.