JUAN JOSE ZARAGOZA

Mexico 2022 | INDUSTRY | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Juan Jose Zaragoza, President Latam of DuPont, about green transition, the Mexican market, and the effects of the pandemic.

What is your vision as the new president of DuPont in Latin America?

DuPont is 219 years old and has been in Mexico for 96 years. Our vision is to make a stand for Latin America and strengthen our position in Mexico. We believe in the opportunities it holds. As a company, we are constantly changing. We have been working on innovation, new products, and transforming ourselves as a company. In 2019, we launched the new DuPont, which is focused on specialties and on advanced materials. We are targeting a niche specialization with added value. Every year, we continue to invest in innovation; it is in our DNA as a company. Safety is also extremely important to us. Throughout the pandemic, our products have been able to protect frontline healthcare workers. The issue of sustainability is part of our 2030 Agenda with the UN.

How is DuPont working on its green transition?

In Mexico, 70% of our Mobility & Materials business is related to the automotive industry, and we have been working on the innovation and materials required for this growing focus. However, our products, by nature, are already sustainable in an overall value chain. One important point is to reduce the weight of vehicles. In order to get these vehicles going, smaller engines are needed, and these new engines emit less pollution into the environment because they consume less fuel. This allows for greater savings for consumers as well as lower emissions. When we talk about electrification, we have many materials that regulate the temperature of devices such as batteries and guarantee safety. Therefore, we are working in three areas: productivity, which means lower energy consumption; temperature management, which allows for comfortable ergonomics; and lastly, long-term sustainability to emit fewer gases into the environment. Almost 38% of our sales come from that advanced mobility. We even have several programs to adapt to the requirement of self-driving vehicles. We are working hand in hand with all our clients along the entire value chain to design new systems during their development as well as in parts creation. We not only provide the materials, but also provide the knowledge and the technology for the best use of these materials. Our other businesses are also working on becoming more sustainable. With our Water & Protection business for example, we are currently innovating and collaborating with the world's best water experts to enable ecosystems of innovation to deploy vital technologies in new, market-shaping ways, we are committed to solve water challenges around the world. DuPont Water Solutions provides water filtration and purification technology to industrial operations, seaside businesses, and drought-stricken communities. Our DuPont Performance Building Solutions & Corian® Design businesses provide productive, sustainable and resilient high performance solutions for residential and commercial buildings worldwide. On our Electronics & Industrial Business, we're pursuing new technologies and performance materials that enable smaller, more complex, more reliable, and more powerful designs. E&I is working together offer customers solutions to meet their strong and fast-growing demand for polymericthermal management solutions for this 5G era. Our range of technologies includes products that are essential to advanced semiconductor packaging such as metallization chemistries, dielectrics, and imageable materials.

Is Mexico still the largest market in Latin America for DuPont, and how can you increase production capacity here?

Currently, Mexico remains our largest country in terms of events, ahead of Brazil. This is because the automotive industry plays a fundamental role in the country. Not only do we have the automotive industry, but we also have the electrical, electronics, consumer industries, and more. However, the automotive industry plays an important role, because Mexico exports heavily to the US. Beyond producing vehicles for Mexico, we also export them to the US and Canada. Brazil is also an important country for the industry. The only difference between Brazil and Mexico is that 90% of Brazil's production is for local consumption—in Mexico, it is the opposite. In terms of investment and business, Mexico has a strong presence in North America. It is extremely important that we maintain a large global presence and not just focus on one region. We have a presence in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. In addition, we provide alternatives to ensure different sources of supply, which is important. For example, currently hurricanes threaten the chemical industry—and its derivatives—in the US. When that happens, it is important to count on other sources that can supply the company.

What major projects are you developing in Mexico for the rest of the year?

As an organization, we are constantly reviewing our own portfolio and business. There are many confidential projects; however, we are consolidating our operations across the different regions depending on our needs. We recently had a company join us, so we are strengthening our portfolio in the field of electronics. This acquisition has greatly reinforced our capacity in this area. Increasingly, we have been acquiring different companies that allow us to broaden our portfolio to provide specific solutions. Another important area is our corporate culture. It is not just about acquiring new companies and making investments, but also about making sure we are performing at the same level in these new acquisitions and that such performance is based on our values, culture, and goals.

How has the pandemic impacted these industries and the company?

The pandemic has challenged us all. DuPont always says that innovation comes in different forms, and not only with our products or investments we have made to change the way we do business. Collaboration is important. We believe strongly in that, and this is the business model we work with. This model has allowed us to adapt to this new virtual reality without having such physical presence. Every company took a hit last year. Despite this, DuPont's recovery was greater than it was before the pandemic. Not only have we recovered what we lost, but we are growing in many of our business units. The models we have put in place across various industries and with our customers demonstrate that we are collaborating well in pursuit of the results we all wish to achieve. Growth prospects for 2022 are extremely encouraging, because the markets continue to grow despite all the challenges, the pandemic, logistics, lack of goods, and so on.

What is your focus for 2022?

Our current motto is “Invent a better now.” We are working on innovation, and we want to invent a better now—not a tomorrow. We focus on productivity, excellence, digitization, and so on, but with the adequate balance of flexibility. We are looking to create value strategies, which in turn make a better today. Communication with the client is highly important. By collaborating, we generate a solution that is not just about the sale of the product; it is also important to be a business partner, seeking the growth of both parties.