TALES OF THE MONGREL
by Ralph Arata
I work for a large company. A company that always thought of itself as "global". In some ways this was correct as from a manufacturing point it did have operations in quite a few places other than the US.
Then came an acquisition (what else is new these days) where the company bought another one of about equal size and also with global manufacturing. This company had something mine didn't i.e. a truly global marketing-technical support organization.
I ended up in this group of 60 some odd individuals only 4 of which are Yanks! All the others are in-country nationals. Needless to say, the last year has been quite an experience in different cultures from around the world. These experiences were not just with people in my company but with our (now) global customers such as CAT, Volvo, Daimler-Mercedes, Scania, Renault, Komatsu, etc..
One of these customers, Volvo AB, I have been personally involved with. Volvo, of course, is a Swedish company based in Goteberg, Sweden and is primarily made up of Volvo Truck, Mack Trucks, Renault Trucks, Volvo Construction Equipement and a bus company. I am working with all of these in a global supply agreement. Of course, within the Volvo group, there are also many countries and cultures involved such as the French, Brazilian, Korean, Chinese, Russian...you name it!
We are working with Volvo to implement a global agreement but although this is a scheme being pushed by their senior mgt. cultural differences must be accounted for. So much so, that the everyday corporate politics are actually the easy part of the job.
Well, now for the rest of story.
I found two things that many people seem to have in common. The first is the fact that English is the generally accepted business language and regardless of where you are people generally speak it.
The second fact was pretty astounding. This was how many of these people actually owned MGs!
It was just too many MGs to ignore!
A management meeting in NYC
Hakan Wibrink (Sweden) - 1956 TD
Dick Keifer - (US) 1960 MGA
Jaime Plentz - (Brazil) 1965 MGB
Mike Jennings (UK) - 1966 Healey 3000
A presentation made in Curitiba, Brazil.
Antonia Annes Lima (Brazil) 1961 MGA