Employee Testimonial

Meet Jelena Arsic van Os, Director Performance Coatings South America

Business leader for Performance Coatings division in South America. Responsible for 200Million Euro in regional revenues. 4 production locations and around 1000 employees in LATAM.

  • Director Performance Coatings South America
  • At Business Area Performance Coatings
  • Works in Brazil

"After all these years I still get inspired every day"

Jelena's story

My career in AkzoNobel started in the company research and technology center as graduated Doctor in Chemistry. I had a unique opportunity to see different business units of the company and get acquainted with the amazing world of paint, chemicals and, at that time, pharmaceuticals of AkzoNobel.

The entrepreneurial spirit didn’t let me rest in my comfort R&D zone. I wanted to grow, explore and build on the new realized strengths. I noticed excitement by the customer proximity, agility in the commercial world and restless wish to win in the market place. It was not a surprise that my next job in the company was in Marketing and Sales functional area. I was supporting global marketing manager in the chemicals division (MCA) and got my first commercial responsibility for the Eastern Europe. Customers, agents, sales team management, travels across the Europe and India became my business reality.

Diversity of business cultures, customers, sales teams and the market behavior was very exciting. I realized the world was flat, fast and very connected. As a part of marketing responsibility I started to be involved in Strategic assessment of emerging markets.

AkzoNobel was creating corporate emerging markets strategy and I was blessed to be part of the assessment. Amazing journey through the world of business intelligence, strategy and thorough business analysis. During the project I moved to Industrial Chemicals and continue to grow in the Business development role searching for growth outside of our traditional western European markets.

Industrial Chemicals learned me to deep dive into the chemicals up- and-downstream of chlorine and its derivate’s and connect dots I dint know they existed before. I was exposed to the opportunity to contribute to the management team and learn about complexity of business management.

After Industrial Chemical I moved to the Performance Coatings business area, first, shortly assuming the global market segment role in Functional Powder Coatings, as a part of onboarding to my first general management role as an SBU director for Functional Powder Coatings. Resicoat business is global, sophisticated, specialized, highly respected among customers and the competition powder coatings brand,lead the team of fantastic professionals, Business performance was benchmark in terms of value added. Our challenge was growth.

China and USA offered opportunity and we started to successfully build.

A few years later the great wind of change came through the Performance coatings organization reforming it from its fundament. The change was big and relatively fast. I was offered the newly formed regional SMU Western Europe director role in Powder Coatings.

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills”

The Powder Coatings management team engaged to the transformation journey that changed the way of working in Performance Coatings and delivered record performance across the business. After Powder Europe West role I was offered to lead the new regional Performance Coatings organization consisting of 7 different Performance coatings business in South America.

In Brazil, I am rebuilding the business foundations with my team again. One thing that amazes me in AkzoNobel is the fact that after all of these years I still get inspired, every day, by great people who are creating the heartbeat of our company, creativity and innovation around us, demanding customers, beautiful technology and exciting markets we operate.

It is a true privilege to be a part of this team.