Natanael W. Sugianto: Leading IFF Indonesia Towards Innovation & Growth

Natanael W. Sugianto: Leading IFF Indonesia Towards Innovation & Growth

Natanael W.Sugianto,  VP Operations, Asia Pacific – Flavors

Natanael W.Sugianto

VP Operations, Asia Pacific – Flavors

Leadership assumes a central role in shaping the trajectory of a business, and one individual who exemplifies this role is Natanael W. Sugianto. Presently serving as the Country Manager and President Director of IFF Indonesia, Natanael boasts an impressive 18-year journey within the company. His diverse roles, including VP Operations, Asia Pacific – Flavors, where he oversees a team of over 1000 professionals, underscore his commitment to operational excellence. Natanael's trajectory within IFF is a testament to his expertise, having started as a compounder in IFF Australia and progressing to lead various functions across Australia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A graduate in Chemical Engineering from The University of Melbourne, his leadership has played a pivotal role in IFF's recent accolades, including being recognized as a Great Place To Work, EDGE Move certified, and achieving significant sustainability milestones.

Stationed in Jakarta, Indonesia, Natanael is more than just a leader; he is a driving force behind IFF's success. His profound understanding of the industry, coupled with a keen focus on operational efficiency and sustainability, has positioned IFF as a key player in the market.

In this exclusive interaction, Natanael W. Sugianto shares insights into his leadership philosophy and the strategies that have propelled IFF to new heights. Let’s read.

How do you characterize IFF as a company, and what is its current standing in the market?

We’ve solidified our position as a global leader specializing in high-value ingredients and innovative solutions. We extend our influence across dynamic global markets, including but not limited to food and beverages, home and personal care, and health and wellness.

IFF emerges not just as a leader but as a trailblazer in the realms of food, beverage, health, biosciences, and sensorial experiences. We are at the forefront of transformative industries, where the intersection of science and creativity becomes the nexus of our endeavors. Our commitment is to create essential solutions that contribute to a better world, and in this pursuit, our international team of creative visionaries collaborates closely with clients. Together, we craft scents, tastes, experiences, and ingredients that not only meet but exceed the world's cravings, setting a new standard for excellence in the market.

Share insights into your approach to leadership. What principles or methodologies guide your leadership style?

In my conviction as a leader, I firmly uphold that our responsibilities extend beyond merely steering the team toward our vision and achieving goals; they encompass unlocking the full potential of every team member. This entails not only developing the capabilities of our team but also creating an environment that nurtures authenticity and individual growth. I have always believed what Steve Jobs used to say - 'We hire smart people so that they can tell us what to do'. Recognizing the unique strengths inherent in each individual, a leader's pivotal task is to strategically assign roles where these strengths can be optimally utilized.

Furthermore, as leaders, it is imperative to acknowledge our own limitations and understand that we don't possess all the answers. Constructing a team with diverse strengths creates a synergistic blend that complements each other, thereby maximizing our collective potential. Assuming a leadership role is not merely about acquiring a prestigious title; it comes with the profound responsibility of bringing out the best in our people. This collaborative approach not only cultivates an environment of innovation and adaptability but also ensures sustained success as the team collectively navigates challenges and strives for excellence.

IFF stands out as a leader in the realms of food, beverage, health, biosciences, & sensorial experiences

What methods do you employ to stay informed about current industry trends, ensuring your ability to guide your organization towards the future?

Consistent interaction with individuals in analogous and disparate industries is pivotal. Maintaining strong connections with our clients is paramount, and this includes fostering relationships with individuals and leaders across a spectrum of sectors. This entails actively participating in communities and associations of local and regional leaders, ensuring a comprehensive network that transcends industry boundaries. At IFF, we use PANOPTIC, our proprietary Trend & Foresight capability that studies and identifies the most impactful shifts and dynamics shaping the short-, mid-and long-term future of our industry. It unites synergetic disciplines of trends-, consumers-and market experts across the entire IFF organization, generating intelligence and insights to inspire and drive future-proof creation and innovation for growth.

What is the ultimate destination you are aiming for in the future?

Our current strategic focus revolves around the encompassing framework of 'Do What Matters Most,' underscoring our deliberate consideration of actions that impact not only our customers but also the broader world. Within this framework, we have delineated three key priorities to guide our path forward.

First and foremost, our primary objective is to establish ourselves as the premier partner to our customers. This entails positioning IFF as a pioneering force at the forefront of the industry, delivering innovative solutions that resonate with the latest consumer trends. By aligning ourselves closely with the evolving needs of our customers, we aim to solidify our leadership position and contribute meaningfully to their success.

In tandem with our customer-centric focus, our second priority is dedicated to building our future. This involves a concentrated effort towards fostering strong, profitable growth, facilitating strategic reinvestment in technology, innovation, and commercial capabilities. Our emphasis extends beyond present endeavors, aiming to construct a robust foundation for the future that aligns with our collective aspirations as a company.

Lastly, our commitment extends towards evolving into a unified entity, embodied by the vision of One IFF. This multifaceted approach involves not only a collective focus on winning in the marketplace alongside our customers but also prioritizes the cultivation of a collaborative culture. This includes nurturing talent, ensuring accountability, and embracing a unified perspective across our organization. By adopting this holistic approach, we define our commitment to success in the present while actively working towards the realization of a shared future vision that transcends individual achievements.

Considering your extensive experience in the industry, what guidance would you offer to emerging leaders in the field?

Navigating this terrain lacks rigid guidelines, my conviction rests in a profound comprehension of your customers. It involves discerning their essentials for flourishing and pinpointing ways to add substantial value to their requirements. The linchpin, undoubtedly, is your team- possessing the right team emerges as the fundamental catalyst for your triumph. A team finely tuned to the pulse of your customers and adept at aligning your offerings with their evolving needs becomes the cornerstone of sustainable success. In essence, the dynamic interplay between customer understanding and assembling a proficient team charts the course for enduring prosperity in any endeavor.

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