Michèle Sioen is 'Manager of the Year'

Author: BenCham Shanghai

Trends manager of the year

CEO of Sioen Industries, Michèle Sioen, was elected "Manager of the Year". A jury of experts chose, together with the readers of the magazine Trends the Manager of the Year 2017.

The shortlist of ten finalists for the 2017 edition were selected by a jury of former winners, captains of industry, independent top specialists and editors of Trends, under the supervision of jury chairman Luc Vandewalle. Michèle Sioen was the winner with the most preferred votes.

Michèle Sioen is at the head of the textile group Sioen Industries since 2005. She was chosen for the sustainable growth of Sioen Industries, her broad commitment which was translated into the chairmanship of the FEB and her role in the textile sector federation Fedustria. She dedicates her victory to all employees of her company. "I consider this a price for the entire company, for all employees," says the new Manager of the year.

Portret of Michèle Sioen

Michèle Sioen is CEO of the Sioen Industries group since 2005. She is the driving force behind innovation and profitable growth of the group. During her presidency, she has taken many decisions for the better of the group and for society. Since the existence of the company, long before the word “CSR” even existed, the founders (her parents) have taken care of their personnel and of the environment. A solid Corporate Social Responsibility policy resulted from that. In this interview she highlights some items of her policy.

Michèle Sioen was born on the 24th of May 1965 (Roeselare). She has 3 children: Jean-Charles (°’91); Audrey (°’93) and Antoine (°’97). She is married to Marnix Galle. After working at other companies for some years, Michèle Sioen started her career at Sioen Industries in 1990. She worked in different divisions of the company and became General Manager of one of the three divisions (Coating division). In 2005, she was appointed CEO of the group. In 2010, Michèle Sioen became president of Fedustria (Belgian federation of the textile, wood and furniture industries).

She was a member of the Board of Directors of Belgacom from 2007 until 2013. She is also a director in several other companies a.o. D’Ieteren and is member of the Commission Corporate Governance and director at Guberna. She was the president of VBO/FEB (Federation of Belgian enterprises) from 2015 to 2017. Michèle Sioen holds a degree in economics and mastered several courses (post-university and Vlerick Management School). She speaks 5 languages: Dutch, French, English, German and Spanish.

She received the honorable title of “Barones” in 2017 and she was awarded “Manager of the year”. 

MicheleSioen

An interview with Michèle Sioen

Q: Respect and following universal principles of (correct) business conduct have been in your family traditions since the very beginning of Sioen. What makes your policy today so different?

Michèle Sioen: My parents laid the fundamental basis of our business conduct. You could say that it was part of my education. Conducting good business, always respecting core values such as integrity, fairness, honesty and respect in all aspects of our business. At Sioen, we recognize all different cultures and embrace a variety of values within our global organization. We respect all cultures and the diverse nature of our workforce and customers.

Sioen is committed to the conduct of an ethical business on all levels by acting fairly and honestly in all our dealings and by observing the highest standards of integrity. To achieve these, Sioen utilizes the shareholders’ investments in a sensitive manner while delivering safe and quality products to our clients. We comply with both the spirit and the letter of legislation and submit all our actions to an external audit.

The main difference between today and say 50 years ago, is that we now communicate about our CSR actions. The actions, the efforts and the attitude hasn’t fundamentally changed. Even though we are stock quoted, we are a family business at the heart, with family values.

Q: How does the company protect itself? And how do you decide with which suppliers/partners you want to collaborate? Here we really want to know about your insurances and supplier selection.

Michèle Sioen: We aim to offer our customers products that provide not only a quality guarantee but that ensure fair and ethical business.

Sioen is insured – as per the terms and conditions of the insurance policy - for Public and Product Liability, Bodily Injury and Property damage combined (third party liability).

We deem certain principles to be universal: we expect all our manufacturing plants both in Europe and overseas to adhere the Sioen CSR principles and we demand the same from suppliers and subcontractors.

We ask them for a declaration that their companies know, support and have taken all necessary measures in order to be compliant with their legal obligations and they have to commit to having verified the same with their own suppliers. We also ask them to declare that all actual and future products and deliveries are in full compliance with all the restrictions of the (European) Directives/ Legislation/ Standards.

All our selected suppliers are subject to a strict Vendor Rating System. The signing of a declaration regarding the respect and implementation of our business principles is part of the vendor selection and evaluation process.

Q: In many of your interviews you stated: “People make the difference”. Can you elaborate more on that please?

Michèle Sioen: We have impressive factories and state-of-the art machinery and we strive for operational excellence. We have to have the right people to accomplish this, because it is indeed our deepest belief that people make the difference. With and for them we do things just that little bit differently. An example is the Coolbox, a communications hub in the midst of our weaving looms. We hold many meetings where our employees are involved as much as possible.

At Sioen we value people. Not as numbers or part of the radar that makes our business turn, but as real human beings. Part of one family, part of Sioen. I believe that a close personal contact with our workers, makes them stand out. I make it my business to be on the work floor as much as I possibly can and to talk with people. For me it is the best way to “feel” the business and to monitor things. For them it reassures and values them in what they are doing.

In this document we have dedicated an entire chapter dedicated to our people and occupational hazards.

Q: Any final thoughts?

Michèle Sioen: We have impressive factories and state-of-the art machinery and we strive for operational excellence. We have to have the right people to accomplish this, because it is indeed our deepest belief that people make the difference. With and for them we do things just that little bit differently. An example is the Coolbox, a communications hub in the midst of our weaving looms. We hold many meetings where our employees are involved as much as possible. In addition, we organize events and workshops for our personnel.

At Sioen we value people. Not as numbers or part of the radar that makes our business turn, but as real human beings. Part of one family, part of Sioen. I believe that a close personal contact with our workers, makes them stand out. I make it my business to be on the work floor as much as I possibly can and to talk with people. For me it is the best way to “feel” the business and to monitor things. For them it reassures and values them in what they are doing.

Source: Sioen Industries