SERGIO VILLALÓN

Mexico 2021 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

In the last few years, Signify has made successful inroads not only in terms of energy efficiency projects, but also sustainability efforts.

Sergio Villalón
BIOGRAPHY

Sergio Villalón is responsible for strategic planning and new business development for Signify Latin American markets. With more than 20 years of experience in the lighting and energy sector, he has occupied executive positions in leading global companies in the industry. He holds an MBA from the EGADE Business School, an engineering degree in electronics and communications from ITESM, and a business management program diploma from Kellogg School of Management. Before joining Signify, he collaborated for Schneider Electric, Aleris International, and General Electric.

What do you consider to be some of Signify's biggest achievements in Mexico in 2020?

Globally, 2020 was a difficult year for many industries; however, Signify had extraordinary results, making it possible to surpass its expectations for 2020. We have over 38,000 employees around the world in more than 70 countries. We were able to achieve EUR6.5 billion in sales with an improved profitability and EBITA results as well as cash for the company. Signify made successful inroads not only in terms of energy efficiency projects but also many of the sustainability efforts it has made in the last few years. Mexico is one of the most important countries across the Americas considering our footprint. We have eight facilities in Mexico and more than 5,000 employees directly in our plants that serve not only Mexico but also North America in general terms. In 2020, Mexico had the best performance across Latin America, so we were fortunate that we did not have to lay off our employees. We were able to maintain our strength, continue our operations, and serve our customers across the region. We took the opportunity during the year to also provide a new generation of lighting products and solutions into the market. Through Signify, we have migrated not only to LED but also our connected products. In the connected space, we serve many markets including residential. Most of our popular products like Philips Hue and WiZ, two of our main brands, had significant growth from previous years because people now spend much more time at home as a result of COVID-19. Hue and WiZ products have been growing significantly in usage in Mexico and across the entire region.

What factors helped Mexico to achieve the best performance in Latam?

Some of our projects, such as facades on an important building in Paseo de la Reforma and similar city beautification projects, played a major role in achieving our commitments. On the city beautification side, we were able to implement many important projects with several municipalities across Mexico to switch all lighting to new LED products with energy savings that can also be controlled automatically. One of our main advantages is the ability to provide greater added value. For example, during COVID-19, we have special lighting applications like ultraviolet lighting for disinfecting. There was a big boom in opportunities and requests for special UV-C lighting applications.

What cities are you prioritizing in 2021 when it comes to creating emblematic projects, and what projects are in the pipeline?

There have been many projects across the region, and we have been in many of the main cities around the world. For example, we did the lighting for the Empire State building in New York and the London Eye. In Mexico City, most of Paseo de la Reforma was lit by Philips lighting; now, it is done by Signify. There are also cities like Guadalajara, in which we did the lighting for Teatro Degollado with lighting application systems. In Mérida, as well, we lit the cathedral with interconnected products. In the future, we will continue to use such types of lighting in emblematic areas in the main cities in Mexico. Mexico City will always be the focus because it has the largest population, but we are also looking at the interior of the country.

What services will you prioritize?

2021 will be more focused on the public space because the infrastructure has been neglected for a long time and needs to be changed. We will look into not only street lighting but also city beautification. Public spaces will definitely be one of the priorities in 2021 implementing future-proof technology and embracing open standards and collaborative technology development to accelerate the introduction of connected products into systems.