Interviews

Bringing Unity – TDV/Klopman CEO Alexandre Desroches

TDV Industries – a major French manufacturer of technical and functional fabrics for work, protective, and industrial clothing – merged with Klopman – Europe’s leading manufacturer in the production of special blends for the protective wear, corporate wear, and workwear markets – merged in 2016. 

Alexandre Desroches serves as the group CEO of TDV/Klopman. He was appointed by the board of directors to lay out and execute an ambitious growth strategy for the group, taking its already established leadership in the textile industry one step beyond. 

Prior to this appointment, he served as the general manager for a family-owned listed personal protection equipment company for a decade and worked in the telecommunication industry in New York, Brazil, and Poland for 15 years.

Alexandre spoke to Milestone about the merger, his role as CEO, and the future of TDV/Klopman. 

Milestone: What are TDV/Klopman’s overall goals for the rest of this year?

Alexandre: The integration of TDV and Klopman Industries is a great challenge and we are working hard to develop a global development plan for the short- and medium-term. The group has an ambitious expansion strategy that includes new acquisitions in order to both maintain our leading position in the European market and also to further develop our presence in new markets. 

What areas is TDV/Klopman focusing on improving?

Workers’ protection and outstanding quality have always been priorities for both of our companies. As the market becomes more complex and demanding, clients and regulations require more sustainable products and higher safety standards, all without compromising on comfort and durability. Our answer to these challenges is increasing investment in R&D and making sure we continue to be a dynamic organisation with the capacity to respond quickly to market needs.

"I’m lucky because I have a fantastic team behind me"

Where do you see TDV/Klopman in five years?

Our aim is to reinforce our leadership in the workwear sector and reach new businesses and markets. We are also heavily investing in circular economy projects – this is the real challenge for the future, a future where recycling and the reuse of raw materials is the standard alongside clean energy sources. We want to set an example for others to follow.

Our workforce is one of our greatest assets, which is why we continually invest in training our staff while employing new talent to make sure the group is ready to meet market expectations.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted TDV/Klopman?

Despite the difficulties faced due to the pandemic, both companies – TDV and Klopman – have performed very well. The main drivers of this achievement are the increased volumes of fabric manufactured for the healthcare sector and the production of fabric face masks respectively for the two companies.

The results once again show the solidity of our group, which is boosted by the commitment of our dedicated partners who have worked tirelessly during the crisis.

What do you enjoy best about your role as CEO?

I was appointed by the board of directors to lay out and execute an ambitious growth strategy for the group, taking its already established leadership in the textile industry one step further – this is a very exciting goal for me. I’m lucky because I
have a fantastic team behind me.

 How do you feel you best maintain a good relationship with your target audience?

Customer care is a pillar of our success. TDV is based in France and has a historical relationship with its national and international audience, while Klopman is headquartered in Italy with commercial branch offices in Düsseldorf, Lyon, Moscow, Sweden, Dubai, and Bangkok. Our logistics guarantee a rapid answer to our customers’ needs and a continuous production cycle. And last but not least, from our Jakarta plant in Indonesia we serve the Far Eastern markets, which are strategic for our expansion in Asia. 

"We continue to be a dynamic organisation with the capacity to respond quickly to market needs"

 What is the most important asset for TDV/Klopman?

Klopman and TDV Industries are now part of the same international group with a global development strategy based on a strong commonality of objectives, respect of diversity, and historical background of the two companies. Our products are the result of expertise, experience, and passion for our work together with a strong commitment to innovation, quality, and sustainability. The people who work with us are key for reaching these goals.

 What has been the toughest decision TDV/Klopman has had to make over the past 18 months?

Every decision taken during the last year and a half was very tough. The pandemic has been a great challenge for all of us and since the beginning of this demanding period we have adopted every possible measure to protect our employees. We adopted smart-working for all eligible employees and our plants were controlled to avoid any risk of infection.

On top of that we are in the middle of a transformation plan that is one of the main challenges in both companies’ history; the group has a strong willingness to expand in the sector thanks to new acquisitions.

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