Five Minutes with… Ashraf Khairallah, Regional MD, De’Longhi Group

The luxury Italian coffee machine maker is looking to reach out to discerning customers in the Middle East.

What is your company focusing on this year?

De’Longhi Group is continuously trying to offer consumers innovative solutions in the home appliance segment. This year, we are focusing on helping our Middle East consumers get more familiarised with the De’Longhi brand, its values, its Italian origin and its core product line of fully automatic coffee machines. By using any of our fully automatic coffee machines like Prima Donna S Deluxe, consumers can simply design the cup of coffee they look for, from espresso to Cappuccino to even chocolate drinks.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

Our industry is currently being led by growth of the premium segment as more and more consumers are starting to appreciate the value of having stylish premium products in their homes.

Are you launching any new products or services this year? Also, are you looking at expansion?

This year we have decided to focus on the introduction of some of De’Longhi’s fully automatic coffee machines as well as its Iconic Breakfast set “Icona” which is inspired by the 1950s Italian design, and comes in different colors to suit various tastes.

However, from a De’Longhi Group point of view, the major expansion comes from managing, for the first time this year, three major global leading brands in the household market under the De’Longhi corporate umbrella, by including Braun Household to our existing portfolio of both Kenwood and De’Longhi brands.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

One of the big external challenges in the Middle East region is about factoring in uncertainties and being ready with plan “B” most of the time. However, I believe that as far as our marketing team is concerned, the biggest challenge is to always make the right choices when it comes to selecting where and how we would like to play in the household market and specifically in the small domestic appliances segment. In order to maintain our leadership position, we need to innovate in everything we do not only on the product side but also on all other areas of the business.

What’s your leadership style?

My leadership style depends on my understanding of my team members’ personalities, aspirations, concerns and dreams while realising the complexity and importance of a specific task(s) on hand to achieve. Thus, my style would vary from challenging my team members to enhance their outcome, while providing them with the needed support and direction, to sometimes acting as a member of the team.

What makes the perfect employee?

I am convinced that every individual or employee has something to offer to the team or to the company. However, generally speaking I would say, ‘highly engaged’ employees with a sense of ownership and a passion to win, is what makes the difference at the end of the day.

Define success in five words…

Overachieving one’s expectations and dreams

Three tips for becoming the boss…

1. Be Yourself/Be Honest
2. Be forward looking and committed to success
3. Enable others to perform and win

When I’m not at work I like to…

Spend time with my family while trying to keep a window to do some sports or outdoor activities.