Hugo Luik, General Manager, Philips Vietnam
With a career spanning more than four countries across regions, Hugo Luik has earned his stripes and a wealth of experience through various roles and functions at Philips. The General Manager of Philips in Vietnam attributes success to a solid work ethic and attitude, and advises those potential talent considering a career with Philips to make “a conscious decision, because you're in it for the long-haul." And having been with the company for 13 years, starting out at Lighting to his current role in Healthcare, Hugo certainly walks the talk.
New places, new adventures
As a fresh graduate in The Netherlands, Hugo considered himself fortunate to be selected for an early career programme with such a reputable company as Philips. Barely three weeks into the job, Hugo's winning streak continued when he was offered a posting with Philips in Poland.
"Philips is a company that cares about you, and offers you the opportunity to grow your skills and move either up the hierarchy or to different functions."
"Would you believe that in my first three weeks at Philips Holland, I was asked if I wanted to take on a job in Poland? I said 'Wow', but did not feel I was ready, so decided not to move yet."
During his career so far, he has worked in Shanghai, Singapore, Myanmar and now Vietnam. The move to Shanghai was unexpected and was a nice surprise. His spouse was offered a job in Shanghai and he did not wish to leave Philips for another job in Shanghai. So he was pleasantly surprised that he was offered a position with Philips in Shanghai.
Staying humble, pushing oneself forward
After the Shanghai stint, Hugo moved to Singapore then Myanmar, where he was tasked with starting operations as the Country Manager. He recalls his team in Myanmar with the fondness of a proud father.
"I left behind a highly motivated, capable team with leading market share. The Myanmar team has a level of pride - rightly so, considering all their achievements – but they are also humble and possess a hunger for more business; always trying to understand our customers’ needs. I am proud of building a performance-driven, customer-first culture and a team that cares about the business we are in and our customers.”
Next stop - Vietnam
Hugo's next posting was to his current one, in Vietnam, and while the roles of his team are diverse, they are united in the common goal of success in the new market.
"A vital attribute, which I see in the team in Vietnam, is the eagerness to push the envelope in terms of change, and do what is needed to be successful in this rapidly developing market. From engineers to marketers, we work together as one family towards a single goal.”
Different experiences, same employer
Change is inevitable, and instead of regarding this constant with hostility, Hugo embraces the shifts over the years that have transformed Philips' lighting business from analogue to digital, its focus from electronics to health and healthcare, and indeed Hugo's own career from the small production factory in The Netherlands to his current position.
"The privilege of working for Philips is that it's continuously changing while anchored by a strong brand and legacy built over more than 127 years of the company’s existence. We saw it in the lighting business, going from analogue to digital, to Software and Solutions. In Healthcare, we are transforming from a supplier of advanced medical and consumer products, to a provider of innovative Health Technology solutions and services to address healthcare challenges and improve the lives of people globally."
"I could not imagine 13 years ago - working in a small production factory back in The Netherlands that I would be here today. That's the beauty of working in a place that evolves over time and adapts to changes in the market. You remain challenged and get offered different experiences, all under the roof of the same employer."
While a young Hugo back in The Netherlands could not have imagined the heights his career would soar to, he muses that even in the early stages of his professional life, he was allowed to go against the grain by challenging himself and his colleagues.
“I like to challenge the status quo and not accept something because of the past. For example, in my first job in procurement buying components for Philips Lighting, the norm was 3-4% of savings annually. I shocked the people there by asking why we could not do more, but guess what, we managed to achieve 20% year-over-year. That was the first highlight in my career, making us achieve something people thought was not possible.”
The Freedom to “Go for it”
"What can I say? Philips is a great company to work for. A leader in the industry, a company that takes care of its people, a company that gives you opportunities to grow. It's a good environment with great colleagues, and a healthy balance of work and play.