Italy’s Leonardo will open 30 new marketing offices around the world in the next three to five years as it shifts its focus from internal reorganization to export sales, a senior official has said.
From its current 30 overseas sales offices, the firm aims to double the number, with Pakistan and Chile getting new offices in the coming months, while Leonardo’s existing presence in the Gulf and Australia will be beefed up, said Chief Commercial Officer Lorenzo Mariani.
The firm is also planning the launch of five or six logistics hubs around the world within three years that can offer customer support to the entire Leonardo range of products, from aircraft to radar to helicopters, Mariani told Defense News.
“We need a network of regional hubs that can handle all products and involve local companies,” said Mariani. Regions likely to host hubs are the Far East, Middle East — with possibly more than one hub — Africa and Europe.
The European hub might be in Eastern Europe, Mariani said.
Details of the hubs and new offices will likely be formalized in a new five year industrial plan to be unveiled by Leonardo in January.
Leonardo currently employs 47,000 staff, of which 30,000 are in Italy, 7,000 in the UK, 6,000 in the US, 3,000 in Poland and 900 in the rest of world.
Mariani was appointed as Chief Commercial Officer in September, a new position created by CEO Alessandro Profumo to tackle Leonardo’s weaknesses in both export marketing and after sales support.
Profumo took over at the state controlled firm in March, replacing Mauro Moretti, who transformed the group structure of the firm into a unified company, while changing its name from Finmeccanica to Leonardo while he was at it.
Moretti is credited with getting rid of the wasteful overlaps incurred by having units like AgustaWestland, Selex, Alenia and Oto Melara run semi-autonomous operations.
But he was criticized for not focusing on overseas bids and releasing experienced export managers.
“In recent years our challenges were on the one hand industrial efficiencies, cost control and punctuality, and on the other hand export marketing,” said Mariani. “We focused more on the first, now
it’s time for additional focus on the second. The big advantage of what we have done is that you need to be efficient at home before you can effectively sell abroad.”
By bringing the units under one roof, Leonardo is now also able to set up one-stop customer support hubs abroad.
Mariani is running both the marketing operation and after sales support, and said he wanted to link the two operations closely overseas. “That is based on the idea that a satisfied customer will return to order more products. Put another way, if you are not happy with your helicopter, you won’t buy a radar from us,” he said.
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.