Employee Testimonial

Meet Stephen Read, Global Technical Manager for Vehicle Refinishes

In Formula 1, every second counts. Thanks to our innovative coatings technology, the new McLaren team car is lighter and faster than ever. Meet the person who made it possible: Stephen Read.

  • Global Technical Manager for Vehicle Refinishes
  • At Business Area Vehicle Refinishes & Specialty Coatings
  • Works in Coatings Manufacturing Excellence in Sassenheim

""McLaren were blown away by what our team was able to deliver.""

Stephen Read, our Global Technical Manager for Vehicle Refinishes, connects teams across AkzoNobel to grow our color and technical excellence in the vehicle refinishes market. Based in Sassenheim, the Netherlands, he works with some of our key global customers – one of which is McLaren.

How have we helped McLaren race faster?

AkzoNobel has been working with McLaren Racing since 2008. The McLaren team relies on our cutting-edge coatings technology to provide eye-catching colors for their livery, as well as unrivalled protection and performance on the racetrack.

Stephen explains: "McLaren is constantly looking for ways to improve the performance of their cars. They’ve set some very ambitious targets for us."

Any extra weight slows the car down, meaning that every single component of the vehicle needs to be as efficient and light as possible without sacrificing on performance. That includes even things you might not expect, like the paint and coatings. Thanks to our cutting-edge technology, the new coating we provided for the car in 2018 weighs much less than it has in the past, which makes the vehicle lighter and faster.

Improvements we implemented in the McLaren paint shop include using the latest UV curing primer technology and super-fast clear coat. These have resulted in reduced emissions, and also much faster processing times. The result is that the McLaren team can be more sustainable and save valuable time when they need to get the car back on the track.



Achieving it together

Stephen believes the success of the project came down to strong team work across AkzoNobel and McLaren. He said: "We work very closely with research, development and innovation (RD&I), marketing and field-based sales and technical teams in the regions to support their activities and provide direction. This means we can offer world class solutions to our body shop customers and other industry stakeholders."

With our great products and processes, the team was able to make the customer happy, and that’s what makes the work worthwhile to Stephen. "Knowing that McLaren has been extremely pleased with the results makes me very proud to work with such a great team at AkzoNobel. It was exciting to see the F1 car finally revealed, and know that our team contributed so much," says Stephen.

What's next?

Our collaboration and mutual drive for continuous improvement doesn't stop here, says Stephen, pictured here with his Global Technical Service Team. "AkzoNobel scientists and technicians continue to work alongside McLaren engineers and technicians searching for new and novel innovations to incrementally improve the performance of the coatings system throughout the 2018 season."

The lessons we’ve learned from Formula 1 will help us innovate for customers in other industries too. It’s a great example of working together with our customers to help them achieve their goals, and in turn make progress on our own target of 15% return on sales by 2020.

Why AkzoNobel?

Stephen has come to see AkzoNobel as a partner in building his career: "AkzoNobel has always supported my career," says Stephen. "The company gave me the chance to relocate from Australia to the Netherlands, and has also supported me in my studies. I've been given opportunities and freedoms that allowed me to follow my passion for solving color and technical problems - and tell some great stories too."

We're on our way to becoming the best paints and coatings company in the world, thanks to the efforts of our people and their winning mindset. Our experts and colleagues from across the company are sharing their stories about our innovative products to show how we're delighting our customers.