5 February 2021

Incoming CEO Richard Marchant pinpoints digital transformation,
standardisation and IP infringement issues

Afera Secretary General Astrid Lejeune has announced that Novacel S.A.S. will participate in Afera’s Steering Committee (SC) as a tape manufacturer representing Active Members, pending confirmation at our next General Assembly in October.

On behalf of Novacel, delegate Richard Marchant will join the SC at its upcoming Meeting on 10 February. As incoming CEO of Novacel (a subsidiary of Chargeurs Group), he brings nearly 4 years in the tape business and an additional 15 years in international B2B senior management in pipe, stainless steel and cosmetics manufacturing to Afera’s leadership. At the beginning of 2021, Mr. Marchant took over the reins of Novacel, a leader in manufacturing surface protection tapes, technical tapes and machinery headquartered in Rouen, France, from Laurent Derolez, who has led the company since 1999. Mr. Derolez was also an active participant in Afera’s SC for many years, serving as President between 2013 and 2015.

“We aim to continue to support actively the initiatives organised by Afera, most recently in the areas of sustainability, test methods and technical events,” commented Mr. Marchant, who also informed us that Novacel’s Innovation, Marketing and Digital Director and Senior Vice President Jean-Loup Masson will join Afera’s Technical Committee. “Additionally, we have our own topics that we would like to bring to the Association table: digital transformation, standardisation and IP infringement.”

Digital transformation and CSR
Linked to corporate social responsibility initiatives, digital transformation can play a part in cutting down on CO2 emissions by digitising more of the design and prototyping processes and creating production efficiencies. And the many ways that bring tape-related companies closer to perfectly circular business models are important to communicate effectively to partners and end users. “By avoiding manufacturing rework, scrap and waste with our protection tape, thereby reducing CO₂ emissions, we are bringing added value to customers,” Mr. Marchant explained.

Next-level test methods
There is an increasing focus on rheological and DMA measurements in the tape development process. Mr. Masson is looking forward to adding input from “internal debates on what works and doesn’t work” within Novacel, which derives “85-90% of its sales from protection tapes”: “Sometimes these debates we’ve had could be beneficial to Industry discussion.” Nitto, its largest competitor in this market, also represents Active Afera Members on Afera’s SC through General Sales Manager of EMEA Dirk Pittoors. “It’s a matter of building a common understanding with our customers by aligning the chemistry and physics of tapes,” Mr. Marchant affirmed. “We are the experts on tapes—our customers less so—so our job is to explain clearly how test methods are meaningful to all of us in determining levels of quality. I know from Afera meetings that this is a useful and challenging topic of discussion.”

IP infringement
Intellectual property infringement is also an issue Novacel is increasingly facing, with its products being counterfeited and sold into the market by entities in China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. “This results in product liability exposures related to products we have not produced ourselves,” said Mr. Marchant, who suspects that other Afera Members might be experiencing the same and would benefit from a well-prepared Industry approach.

His experience
“What I can bring into the SC is almost 2 decades of experience as CEO and managing director of large business units in international B2B companies, having also lived in the U.A.E., U.S., Italy and Germany,” related Mr. Marchant. “So I hope to enrich conversations with an ‘outside-in point of view’.”

After obtaining 2 engineering degrees from notable French schools and an MBA from INSEAD, Mr. Marchant worked for stainless steel manufacturer Ugine & Alz (now Aperam), cosmetics company L’Oréal and worldwide tube and pipe manufacturer Vallourec, developing a strong expertise in company transformation and turnaround based on client satisfaction and innovation. He joined Chargeurs in 2017, leading the new business unit he built around specialty application machines and also the Novacel facility in Deville les Rouen. Mr. Marchant was appointed managing director of Novacel and COO of Chargeurs Protective Films in early 2020 before taking over as CEO a year later.

“Preparing to take over from Mr. Derolez for the last 3+ years has been necessary, as he is the key to the company’s history, culture and success today,” Mr. Marchant shared. “During the COVID-19 crisis, it has been tough, but we have been resilient, and this is obviously thanks to Mr. Derolez’ vision and strategy for Novacel.”

For more information, visit www.novacel.world.