R&D Project Manager, Global Exterior Wall Expertise and Research Group in Singapore
34-year old Cedric Bruel has only had one employer – AkzoNobel – in his career, but that doesn’t mean it’s been a dull. Cedric, who grew up near Paris, completed his studies in chemistry and chemical engineering in 2004 with a Master’s degree and joined AkzoNobel shortly afterward.
From 2005 until 2013, he worked at AkzoNobel’s Product Development Center Wall Paint for Europe in Montataire, France, beginning as a Chemical Engineer and gradually taking on more and more managerial responsibility.
Then in 2013, life changed quite dramatically for Cedric when he was transferred to Singapore as R&D Project Manager for the company’s Global Exterior Wall Expertise and Research Group. “I was hoping to get an assignment abroad, mainly to face new challenges,” Cedric explains. He let his managers know he was open to a transfer, and they suggested he apply for a position in Singapore.
“I’m still in charge of exterior wall paints in this job,” says Cedric, “but now I have a global role, and I’m more involved in research and innovation. Our challenge is to develop a new platform of technologies that we can then transfer and implement in the different regions. The main focus is on improving the durability of the products, but we are also looking to add new and innovative functionalities like the energy efficiency that we delivered with our ‘Keep Cool’ products. What I really find rewarding is that, while we are confronted with challenges every day, if we do our job properly, we can feel the satisfaction of succeeding in finding solutions and solving challenging technical issues.”
AkzoNobel, says Cedric, has given him the opportunity to be a part of big global projects. “I really enjoy working with so many different people from so many different countries. It’s truly a learning environment. Before I started working for AkzoNobel, I only knew a few people outside of France, and now I think I know someone from practically every country in the world! My experience in Singapore widened my vision on the various possibilities and opportunities, both at work and as an individual. The Asian experience has helped me gain insight into different cultures, ways of working, and styles of living. This has helped me mature as a person, and I have become more confident and even more excited to contribute to this global organization.”
Cedric says that Singapore is a great place to live and work. He lives there with his wife, a five-year-old daughter who speaks French at home and learns English and Chinese at school, and an eight-month old son. From the base in Singapore, he’s been able to satisfy his travel bug with trips to quite a few easily accessible destinations. At home in Singapore, he loves sampling the exotic foods and trying to replicate them at home – or to improvise with local ingredients to produce French classics. And in his spare time, he’s active in a French language theater company.