Mario Della Casa is the Chief Operating Officer at Medartis in Basel, Switzerland. He started his career in Italy, before moving to Switzerland in 2007. Mario has since worked for Johnson & Johnson, Stryker, and Invacare Europe.
How would you define the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Medartis?
As COO at Medartis, I am responsible for the end-to-end supply chain activities, from strategic sourcing to manufacturing, supply chain management, and global quality.
Medartis is a growth-focused company, so the main objective of my role is to ensure that our supply chain can cope with double-digit growth, while achieving effective management of costs and capital.
What is a memorable moment from your career and why?
I have many, and I had the privilege to have many experiences in several companies. I still remember many achievements, but also big mistakes. However, looking back now, both achievements and mistakes allowed me to grow and learn.
If I need to pick one single event, I will never forget the call that I got from one of my former CEOs years ago when I decided to leave the company for another opportunity. It was the greatest possible recognition of my work, but also a big lesson in leadership.
What excites you about working for Medartis?
Working in the medical devices industry is a privilege, as your work is connected with the purpose of improving the lives of other people. In addition, Medartis is a very innovative and dynamic company.
I like the speed in decision making and the focus on making sure that the supply chain supports the double-digit growth of the company. The combination of high dynamic, speed, and growth creates a highly engaged environment and committed teams.
What sustainability challenges does your organisation face?
Similar to many manufacturers, we are asked to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the waste of the packaging of our products. Medartis is well set up in this regard, as we already have a very low carbon footprint in our manufacturing, thanks especially to the utilisation of fully renewable energy.
How can leaders create diverse teams?
There are many ways to create diversity, and education, gender, and age are important differentiators. When setting up a team, I rely on the Gallup StrengthsFinder to assess the diversity of my team in terms of strengths and create the so-called team blend.
This allows us to quickly assess the 34 traits and classify them into four main dimensions: strategy, execution, influence, and relation.
I then make sure that my team knows the characteristics of the group and, most importantly, I select new hires based on the traits that are missing to create more diversity in the team. Currently, for example, I am focusing on increasing the execution and relation skills through new hires.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders?
Be clear about your personal objectives, including your professional ones. This will help you to set the course of your journey. A lot of the people I ask this question cannot answer it properly.
But, if you can’t, how can you decide the next steps in terms of career and development?
I had the privilege of having clarity on my target since the beginning of my career. I have wanted to become a Plant Manager since I started working. This helped me a lot to make the right choices and make the journey I needed through different experiences in lean, materials management, and production management.
At the age of 38, I took over a 600-employee plant. At 45, I had multi-plant responsibility, which I never thought I could achieve.
Also, choose your boss - I learnt leadership from my best managers, not from books. Especially in the early stages of your career, this is an important key to your success. Nevertheless, keep your authenticity - do not try to be someone else other than yourself.
Furthermore, manage yourself with high discipline, especially for time management. You need to master this skill; you will profit from high efficiency and effective execution. You cannot manage others if you cannot manage yourself first.
Finally, know yourself - the strengths that you should further improve and will make you successful, but also the blind spots that you need to mitigate.
Switzerland offers a high quality of life and has a lot to offer. Many people who come to Switzerland never want to leave again. If you come from abroad, I suggest you live close to one of the bigger towns, as life in the country doesn’t offer a lot of entertainment.
What is your favourite motto/quote and why?
“Make it happen” – I like me and my team to be focused on changes and improvement. I value focus, speed, and perseverance as important skills to execute successfully and to make a difference.
Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment.