REMONDIS: A Global Lead in Recycling and Water Management

    Remondis partnership with BMES

    The REMONDIS Group has, and continues, to set the course for recycling, services and water management on a global scale. The company was established in 1934 in Selm, Germany, and has since expanded their business across four continents, with a workforce of over 41,000 people. This consistent expansion solidifies their international impact in the water and circular industry and symbolizes the impressive growth of the family-run business to an international service provider.

    REMONDIS has a wide-reaching global presence and has been operating in India—headquartered in Mumbai—for 15 years. When the company found themselves expanding their workforce in India, they partnered with Boyd & Moore Executive Search (BMES) India to benefit from valuable market insights and talent solutions.

    We recently spoke with Keno Strömer, the Managing Director of REMONDIS Aqua, India, to discuss the journey of REMONDIS, the goals for the company, and its partnership with BMES India.

    Remondis partnership with BMES
    BMES: Outside of REMONDIS’ goals and professional aims, tell us a bit about yourself.

    KS: I’ve always been an avid reader. I love to read biographies as it always gives you new perspectives on different things—which you also get if you travel to other countries—which is why I enjoy it so much. Reading gives you inspiration and shows you different types of experiences and journeys—particularly biographies and historical novels.

    BMES: Tell us a little bit about REMONDIS. What, for example, is the mission of your organization?

    KS: We are one of the world’s largest recycling water service companies. If you only look at family-owned companies, we are the largest worldwide. Nowadays we have more than 41,000 employees, with a turnover of around €12.6 billion.

    In terms of our mission, it’s important to note that we are not a shareholder driven organization, meaning we can take a long-term view on things. We have more flexibility in terms of investing and building up market opportunities. Even if we can see that the market is not looking great currently, but it will develop quite extensively in the future, we are able to invest since we are focused on the long term. REMONDIS always thinks in generations—what could the new targets and developments be for the next generation of the family?

    Global Leadership
    BMES: And what was your personal mission, specifically regarding the expansion of the office in India?

    KS: I have been to India many times for research projects in the past, and I was very happy to have the opportunity to go back. I was really looking for a role with more responsibility, and of course India was a big, big jump. From doing research and being responsible for one or two employees, to being responsible for more than 70, it was a lot of fun. They give you a lot of freedom to find and define your role. While leadership at the company remain involved in operations, they place a lot of trust in their employees.

    BMES: What values and principles define the working culture of REMONDIS?

    KS: Through the generations at REMONDIS, REMONDIS always value trust, reliability, loyalty. A very positive aspect of that culture is that since the trust is there, business decisions can be made very swiftly which helps REMONDIS to seize great opportunities.

    And As I mentioned earlier, new hires often get a lot of responsibility fast, but at the same time you get a lot of support from your colleagues and superiors. . At times you even get invited to meetings with Mr. Rethmann (Chairman of the Board) himself in which he, for example, discusses and analyses the history and development of the company itself and/or in different regions of the world.

    So, you get direct insight from the Chairman of the Board which is very inspiring. This really gives you a great perspective, because he’s seen everything over the past few decades and always has a bird’s eye view on what is happening in the market. I think this really helps build and maintain a connection to the organization’s journey and is wonderful for the employees.

    BMES: How did the REMONDIS story begin? Can you tell us a little bit more about the milestones of the company over the years?

    KS: The founding of the family run business was in 1934, in 1959 we were awarded the first public sector contract, which was huge for Remondis, especially because it was from the city in which the company was founded.

    We always strive to have long lasting partnerships, not only with industrial and private clients, but also with municipalities. It’s always satisfying to see that our partners also value the collaboration and see the benefits. The construction of our first industrial water processing plant was in 1977. We chose Australia as the first international market, as it was basically the other side of the world.

    Also, we have significant track record of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) projects. Our first M&A acquisition was the waste management division of an energy company, and that also propelled us upwards in terms of turnover and capabilities. That was a large acquisition that was very critical for the development of the company.

    Global Leadership
    BMES: What are the next steps for REMONDIS?

    KS: Closing the loop and making raw materials usable again and again is what drives us.

    REMONDIS is internationally recognized for its innovative recycling, service and water activities. By investing in future-oriented research and development, technology and training, the company group is securing its positive development worldwide. This benefits not only our customers and employees but also the environment. For example, by working every day to recycle valuable raw materials and return them to the material cycle, we contribute to the conservation of valuable natural resources.

    ZLD (Zero Liquid Discharge), for example, is an innovative technology for sustainable water management. It allows process water to be recirculated over and over again, thus enabling almost wastewater-free recirculation.

    The integration of innovative technologies and solutions enables our customers to improve product quality, minimize their water footprint, reduce operational costs and comply with all environmental regulations. With our many years of experience and know-how, we can support in the planning, construction, operations and financing of plants.

    The REMONDIS Group’s strategic goal is to create supply chains that cover each and every service that may be required. The Group’s global presence is continuously being extended.

    BMES: Please could you tell us a little more about the collaboration between BMES and REMONDIS?

    KS: It was an excellent collaboration. What we were looking for initially was a jack of all trades, someone that has a sturdy, general set of skills and responsibilities. This can be tricky in India, as workers tend to have more specialized skill sets and specialties. Collaborating with BMES India helped us to understand this, as their first-hand knowledge of the market was very refined.

    BMES: What was the outcome of the project?

    KS: BMES presented us with a very comprehensive list of candidates from the Indian market, and relatively soon after I joined, we found a candidate that fit very well with the company’s needs. The whole process was very smooth from our side, and everything worked out excellently.

    I also acquired some valuable knowledge about Indian management and their requirements, which I was very grateful for.

    best candidate
    BMES: Thank you, Keno. So, Nandhitha, what were the hiring challenges presented in this search?

    ND: In India, it is hard to find candidates who have a rounded, all-in-one skill set. People are generally much more specialized in their experiences and expertise. Additionally, in India, it is uncommon for people to stay at companies long-term—in Germany, where REMONDIS is headquartered, people tend to give 20 or 30 years to a company. In India, it is more common to change roles and companies after 8–10.

    Also, India is a very candidate-heavy market, which was important to keep in mind during the search.

    BMES: And how did you approach the search?

    ND: So, the briefing was a multi-domain experienced person—operations, project management, technical, business development… all of it. However, as I just mentioned, it’s difficult to find such people in India. REMONDIS gave us the green light to look beyond people with only recycling experience, as long as the candidates were from the Industrial sector. That’s where the brief started.

    We did a lot of research, and we presented a strong set of candidates and explained that some were specialized in the technical side, and others were strong in project management. I think they then went back to the drawing board to think about what sort of candidate they were looking for.

    Keno came into the picture around this time. He said that they could drive the technology side of things and that we could start looking at candidates who were strong in project management and operations. He said that they could develop the business together, so that’s where we pivoted!

    So, the second part of the project we were focusing on finding someone with strengths in project management and operations. However, this time around, we focused on the water management industry, as that kind of knowledge was an important factor to REMONIDS. The great thing about REMONDIS is that they don’t just see qualifications or schooling, they look at the bigger picture—what needs to be done, and how it can be accomplished. It may have taken us a little bit longer to arrive at the conclusion of the search, but they ended up with a very solid candidate.

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