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“We Set Our Sight in Costa Rica Because of its Human Talent”

JANUARY 27th 2020

  • Interview from La República to Mathias Kremer, Bayer’s new CEO for Central America, the Caribbean, and Andean countries
  • Costa Rica has become a key player for Bayer´s strategy in the Americas and its medical device plant could expand. 

Originally reported in Spanish by Karla Barquero kbarquero@larepublica.net | Friday, January 17, 2020, La República. Picture Credit: Esteban Monge/La República 

Since Bayer set its sight in Costa Rica, the country has become one of the company’s key operations to support the Americas through its Shared Services Center, which has expanded incredibly from 25 collaborators in 2017 to 500 in 2019.

The German giant plans to diversify its business in the country. LA REPÚBLICA talked about this and other topics with Mathias Kremer, Bayer’s new CEO for Central America, the Caribbean, and Andean countries. 

How do you take on this new challenge? 

We are consolidating a large area from Guatemala to Peru. We have an organization with a lot of experience, people that are comfortable with and adapt to our company´s constant change, in response to the dynamic environment in Central America, the Caribbean, and Andean Countries. This challenge fills me with energy.

Which division calls more your attention?

We are consolidating organizational aspects within the region. 

We also consolidated the Pharma Division, we are working in reorienting our strategy in Andean countries (PACA), we have very good products, especially in oncology, which is one of our core focuses. 

Consumer Health is also a very dynamic business, with a strong presence and a large portfolio of products very well positioned in the market. If we compare countries, Costa Rica is the most dynamic and fastest-growing in the entire region.

Why is it the most dynamic?

In 2017, our Shared Services Center had 25 people and now we have 500. It was a very fast growth and we are planning to grow even more because we need that service and the Ticos’ professionalism, who service all Americas except Brazil (even though there is a small branch of Brazil that reports here).

Meaning that you will continue expanding in Costa Rica? 

Costa Rica’s growth is focused on the medical device plant, where we have 120 people. In addition, we produce devices for radiology and plan a strong growth that we will detail in the upcoming months.

Do you have other plans for Costa Rica? 

Not only have we the production of medical devices and a Shared Services Center operation, but also we are developing a lot of research and development here in Costa Rica and all PACA.

In the food industry, we also have a banana and pineapple farm in Guápiles and a very large plant for cottonseed production in Cañas.

In Guápiles, we not only investigate molecules that will reach the market in two or three years, but it is a key site to develop new molecules globally. The basis of the information we generate here with the experts is used to make decisions globally.

What are other characteristics that make Costa Rica a key player in America?  

The weather, the mentality of the people, it is a country with good education, training, and bilingual. Also, good knowledge of issues that are important in our Shared Services Center such as accounting, controls and finance, key areas that provide services to Canada.

All this makes Costa Rica very attractive; it is not the cheapest, but this doesn’t matter because what counts most is the quality of human talent. 

Is the region part of the employment generation? 

The Andean countries are one of the most diverse regions within Bayer’s cluster that includes 12 countries or key islands. We have 2,300 employees in the region, a number that is growing thanks to Costa Rica’s boost. Production is very important to us, we have agrochemical production plants (one in Colombia and one in Guatemala), one for consumer products (such as Aspirin, Alka-Seltzer, Aleve) and seed, vegetable, tomato production, pepper, cucumber, melon, and watermelon (in Peru and in Guatemala), which export to all Latin America.

Automation is becoming more frequent, how to expand when the Fourth Industrial Revolution is next door?

The medical device plant will generate new jobs. There are certain aspects that will not, but it will bring technology and improve productivity in agriculture. Many think that we bought Monsanto for the glyphosate, which is not the case, we bought it for biotechnology, innovation and digital agriculture that we will bring to Central American and Andean countries. 


BIOGRAPHY

  • Name: Mathias Kremer
  • Position: Bayer’s new CEO for Central America, the Caribbean, and Andean countries
  • Professional background: Agronomist and scientist 
  • He has been working in different positions in Bayer since 1990 in research and development, and strategy and leadership in countries such as Spain, Germany, and Central America.