Roy Jakobs learned a lot from working in China for a few years. He noticed that Chinese leaders are both calm and aggressive. “That’s because they take the time to pause and reflect, but then move forward at 1,000 kilometers per hour,” Jakobs said in 2018 against management website MT/Sprout. It taught him to act faster himself, Jakobs said.
As the new CEO of Philips, Jakobs (48) can now indeed act quickly. It is up to the native of Kerkrade, with German and Dutch nationality, to resolve the apnea affair as quickly as possible. This has plunged the healthcare group into a deep crisis. Jakobs has recently been responsible for the recall of the harmful devices.
Little known and hardly ever interviewed, Jakobs studied business economics in Nijmegen and Bologna, and obtained a master’s degree in marketing. With these diplomas in his pocket, he made a career in recent decades at a handful of listed companies: he held management positions at Shell between 2000 and 2005, then moved to Reed Elsevier and joined Philips in 2010.
There he went through all kinds of departments of the company, from the strategy department at the lamp branch (now split off) to head of the Middle East and Turkey department. In that part of the world he became convinced of the growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia for Philips. He asked the entire board of directors to come and visit the country, to clear their last doubts. „Seeing is believing”, said Jakobs – who is not averse to management expressions – about this against MT/Sprout.
Between 2015 and 2018, Jakobs led a Philips consumer electronics division in Shanghai. He wanted to get to know China better and therefore consciously started working there. “It’s a huge market,” he told MT again. “They have an ecosystem there to build things for the whole world and everything that comes on the market is copied at lightning speed.”
Now Jakobs can help Philips at the head office in Amsterdam. The fact that he has experience with the current problems due to the recall he led is an important advantage, said chairman of the supervisory board Feike Sijbesma on Tuesday.
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