Marcela Romero, General Manager for Electrolux Group in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, aims to strengthen our two main brands in the region — Electrolux and Gafa — while delivering the best consumer experience. Here she tells her plans for 2023 and beyond.
Hi Marcela. Tell us which brands you currently have in the market, and is there a popular, stand-out product?
We have three brands. Electrolux is our premium brand and represents around one-third of our net sales. Gafa is a local mass brand that represents about two-thirds of our net sales. Continental is sold in Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.
The product that stands out in the market is the Gafa-branded chest freezer. It is a robust, durable and highly recognized product in Argentina. In this category, we have a significant market share.
Our manufacturing site, located in the Argentinean city of Rosario, makes both Electrolux and Gafa products. For Electrolux, we are currently producing “no frost” refrigerators, top-load washers and cookers. For Gafa, we produce cycle defrost refrigerators, top-load washers and cookers, as well as the chest freezer I just mentioned.
What are the growth opportunities in your market?
We have an opportunity to continue to build Electrolux as the premium brand in all four countries. We also need to strengthen the positioning of Gafa in Argentina and continue to deploy the brand in Paraguay and Uruguay.
To achieve these goals, it is essential to develop a high-performing team committed to providing better experiences for our consumers. We need to listen to them to understand how we can transform their lives for the better and build long-term relationships with them.
Every day I put a lot of focus into strengthening our Consumer Care team and reinforcing our direct-to-consumer team to do just that.
Last year, we closed a very good year and we plan to grow more this year.
Tell us about the consumer trends in your market.
Consumers are making more intentional and smarter choices — waiting for the right moment to find the best price. Special promotional dates such as Black Friday are becoming more important than ever before.
They are also becoming more interested in sustainability and protecting the environment, searching for solutions that minimize energy and water consumption and reduce associated costs.
Looking ahead to our 2030 sustainability goals — what progress is being made?
Our commitment is to become a sustainable company with climate neutral operations, reducing our own emissions in plants and offices to zero. In line with this, Electrolux Group invested more than USD 5.8 million in the Rosario plant to launch an energy-efficiency project, for which it is migrating its cooling system to the use of a less polluting gas.
In 2022, we launched a new line of refrigerators and freezers with R600 gas — a more sustainable gas with lower environmental impact — and added energy-saving inverter technology to our entire line of horizontal freezers. During 2023, we will continue with the deployment of “no frost” and inverter technology to our locally produced portfolio, democratizing technologies and developing more energy and water efficient products.
The manufacturing plant in Rosario also has the lowest carbon emissions of our plants in Latin America, and we seek to reduce waste through the Zero Waste to Landfill program. We have a target of sending less than 1% of our waste to landfill, through waste reduction, selective collection and recycling, among other actions.
You have a background in engineering. How does that help in your role?
Engineering helps me think in a more organized way, to compartmentalize problems and solve them more simply. As the general manager of a group of small yet complex countries, I have a daily agenda with all sorts of subjects. I jump from one topic to another within minutes. It is important to have a mind that simplifies problems to solve them quickly and with little data available.
Things to know about Marcela:
Based: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Background: I’m an industrial engineer by profession, with a master’s degree in business from Di Tella University, where I am now a mentor for the “Women in Business” program. I have broad experience working for industrial companies.
What drives me:
- My two children Emma and Nico give me the energy to start each day. I want to teach them the right values and leave them a better world.
- My team. They are my driving force. My mentors.
- I admit that I enjoy being a spearhead, someone who is encouraged to help others or at least to make their way a little easier.
My favorite thing about my job: You never get bored. Just when you think everything is under control, the game changes again. It’s something similar to Jumanji.