2006 - 2007
At the end of 2005, a major personnel decision would have a direct impact on the company’s activities in Asia: Martin Brudermüller was appointed to the BASF Board of Executive Directors to take over the responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region.
The new head of the Asia division had a great desire to learn even more about Asia, its history and culture. He was counting on community experiences to strengthen the team’s cohesion. In Hong Kong, for example, employee teams participated in dragon boat races against each other. Brudermüller, a sports enthusiast, often participated.
Another crucial personnel decision was made in mid-July 2006. In the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Jürgen Hambrecht assumed the chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA).
When Angela Merkel made her first state visit to China from May 21 to 23, 2006 as the new German Chancellor, no less than 19 German-Chinese cooperations were signed off on in Beijing.
At the end of November 2007, Brudermüller invited BASF’s management team from South and East Asia to the Regional Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. Hambrecht and Brudermüller had presented the promising future prospects of BASF in Asia with inspiring speeches. Later the Europeans and Chinese, Indians and Vietnamese, colleagues from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka sat together for a while, listening to the gentle tones of an airharp float above their heads – an experience that many would consider unforgettable.
Even before the Stronger Asia strategy had been completely worked out, Brudermüller had initiated a broad project in the spring of 2007: Under the acronym SOPAP – for “Site Optimization Project Asia Pacific” – signiifcant improvement and savings potentials were to be explored and suggestions made for the realization of these potentials by the end of 2009. The precision work resulted in improvements with a value of 80 million euros annually. By the time the project was completed in late 2009, other annual optimization potentials in the amount of 56 million euros per year were identified.