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Leading a Specialised Team with Passion

In focus / Jul 10, 2018

Patrick Westhovens, Factory Director at Scandinavian Tobacco Group Eersel, attributes passion to his high-performing workforce and the quality cigars they create.

Westhovens began his career in production and logistics in 2001 leading Verellen, the Belgian family-owned cigar company that was eventually acquired by our Group in 2014.

“I was at Verellen for 15 years in charge of everything from managing the production floor, buying tobacco, communication, financials … I understood the full circle of the business. And I learned all about the blends, the passion around tobacco and the philosophy behind the enjoyment of our products.”

To sustain the business and ensure that it remains competitive in the marketplace, the Group decided to divest and close its Verellen facility in Wuustwezel in the fall of 2016. Westhovens was instrumental in managing the outplacement of affected employees into new positions across Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s neighbouring entities:

“I had a good feeling about the culture of the company when I was running the plant in Wuustwezel because we were focused on how we treat people and finding them new jobs. We were the first organisation that started placing people in other jobs before the factory closed. The government praised the way we handled the factory closing and wanted to share these best practices with other factories. There’s a human aspect that I really appreciate.”

When he was promoted to take the helm of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group Eersel in November 2017, Westhovens saw an opportunity to leverage his previous successes to lead a lean and agile manufacturing facility:

“I’m a facilitator. Joining Scandinavian Tobacco Group in Eersel meant that I would be part of a global company that produces and sells the majority of my native country’s cigars. I now work with larger volumes, a team of specialists with different levels of experiences and a broader spectrum of products. I’m sharing the passion I learned to motivate people to do better at their job. Because my mission is to make quality cigars more efficiently and by helping my team members improve, then their team can do better.”

Learn more about our company vision and strategy here: https://www.st-group.com/en/our-company