On the paradigm shift and on accelerating towards an agile organization

How our new Global Vice President Automotive Fernando De Campos sees the future of the automotive industry — and how Freudenberg Filtration Technologies wants to shape it.

The automotive industry is undergoing a major transformation and Freudenberg Filtration Technologies’ Automotive Division wants to contribute to shape it, under the leadership of new Global Vice President Fernando De Campos.

He was appointed in 2022 and has ushered in a new era with visionary spirit.

Fernando De Campos radiates a confidence and a joy one rarely encounters.

“The automotive industry has always been a challenging one,” he says. “And that’s why I can’t imagine working in another industry.” It is obvious he wants to push things forward both at Freudenberg Filtration Technologies and in the sector in general.

“I am passionate about leading people and organizations to realize their full potential, achieving extraordinary sustainable results.” De Campos has a proven track record in the industry and a solid experience, starting out in engineering, moving to operations, then sales and finally developing into general management.

“I’ve always been a competitive person,” he says. “I like to compete and to boldly go where no-one has gone before.” This is reflected in the way he spends his free time: sailing, adventure motorbiking, and skiing.

Dynamic times in the automotive industry

De Campos has a clear vision for the Automotive Division. His perspective on the challenging and dynamic industry is both candid and realistic.

“The automotive industry is at a tipping point — comparable to when it started,”
says De Campos. “Megatrends are reshaping business models. Our competitive landscape is changing. Companies with novel strategic approaches are active in the market. Sustainability is now a big issue, forcing us to rethink processes and products. Furthermore, the way we work is also changing, affecting our workflows and the way we manage our know-how, making it broadly accessible.”

Agility and adaptability are the two key concepts that are necessary to stand out from the crowd. Those who embrace agile working can react flexibly to the needs of customers and a changing market. They can do it faster and more efficiently than others, and they can do it on both a local and a global scale. The fact that Freudenberg Filtration Technologies is no longer just a product supplier but wants to be regarded as a valuable partner for the automotive industry — a partner with whom clients can face challenges and develop solutions together — is the result of this transformation process. “A customer-centric approach is the logical consequence of working together in a collaborative and open way where there is a genuine interest in identifying pain points and addressing them on a daily basis,” says De Campos.

Employees: a company’s most important asset

In recent years, De Campos has lived and worked in South America, North America, and Europe. During this time, he has had the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of people and cultures. He considers it essential to meet as many of the people behind Freudenberg Filtration Technologies around the world as possible. He wants to hear their views on the company and the industry.

“We fundamentally depend on the people that work for Freudenberg — they matter,” De Campos says. “Machines can be substituted, people can’t. That’s why I took the time to meet my team in person and got to know them individually. It’s astonishing to see all the potential and talent we have in our ranks.” He is convinced that the team is the cornerstone for Freudenberg Filtration Technologies to continue to be the preferred partner for its customers and to provide them with valuable solutions and services.

Exciting prospects

It is not certain how the market for filtration solutions in the automotive industry will develop. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies is working with different scenarios in order to prepare for possible developments.

“The scenarios will help us to quickly adapt to dynamically changing market situations,” says De Campos. “The industry will witness a strong push for customization. Specific products tailored to local market needs will become increasingly important.” Regionalization is also associated with reliable, resilient supply chains. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies is already well equipped in this respect. It has production sites in numerous regions worldwide. It also has engineering expertise spread across a wide geographical area.

This too demonstrates the importance of good employees. A diverse team makes it possible to understand and anticipate the market. This allows Freudenberg Filtration Technologies to adapt to changes in the environment. Outstanding ideas and market-oriented solutions are the result of learning from one another, adopting new perspectives, and negotiating different points of view. De Campo’s task is to initiate and manage the constructive conflicts that drive development.

He is in no doubt that Freudenberg Filtration Technologies will transition from being a filter expert into an air quality management system partner and thus provide customers with bespoke solutions. “Cabin air filters have always had an influence on indoor air quality. Digitalization and the shift to electrically powered vehicles are opening up new opportunities for more efficient filter elements, air quality monitoring, and much more,” highlights De Campos He is confident that Freudenberg Filtration Technologies is already on the right track in this regard.