With more than 20 years at Covestro, our new President of Covestro China, Holly Lei, talks about pushing the boundaries of sustainability and collaboration, and the importance of listening.
How have your first few months been?
It has been exciting and meaningful. I have been talking to our key customers and business partners about their needs and vision for the future, all with the aim of strengthening long term partnerships with us. I also spoke to employees in every department at Covestro to find out about the challenges they’re facing. It’s truly worth taking the time to listen – whether as a partner or employer – to show we are always ready to give support.
What are your top three priorities?
My first is to sustain our continuous success in the China market, aligning our business goals with our customers’ and partners’ needs. We are facing an increasingly challenging environment in China, but I firmly believe we can keep up the momentum by offering great products, applications, technologies, and digital solutions to our customers.
My second priority is to push the boundaries of industry collaboration. By working together to develop innovative and sustainable materials, we can help to improve people’s lives and generate added value for our customers.
Last but not least, a focus on a positive culture at work has always been important to me. As a member of the Covestro Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Council, I am dedicated to fostering an environment that allows our people to flourish and develop their full potential.
During your time at Covestro, how has the company developed and where do you see us heading in the future?
I am so proud to have worked for Covestro for more than two decades and to have seen us grow and thrive in my home country. It has been a remarkable journey. When I first joined as a technical representative, Chinese customers focused mostly on price and margin. Nowadays, they’re not just looking for suppliers but innovative, agile partners, with a strong commitment to sustainability.
China has become the growth engine of our global business. In an era of revolution and challenges, we are seizing new opportunities brought about by digitalization and sustainability, while setting new standards and finding fresh ways to collaborate with customers. As we come up with innovative and digital solutions in various fields – the internet of things, renewable energy, electric vehicles, smart homes – we will continue to lead the way in addressing society’s biggest challenges.
What trends are you seeing in China right now and how is Covestro set to address them?
Climate change, increasing mobility, urbanization, and a growing middle class are all high on the agenda. While green development and industry upgrade are also priorities for the Chinese government, I would love to see our innovative products and technologies play an important role in all these areas. For instance, wind blades made with our polyurethane resin are lighter, allowing manufacturers to build longer, stronger blades without sacrificing mechanical performance.
What sets us apart from our competitors?
Innovation and sustainability are the main pillars of our success, and they are intertwined. Innovation is in our DNA, and it fosters collaboration both across Covestro and with our entire value chains.
We’re helping to reduce environmental impacts by developing technologies and products that benefit society, while returning a profit. We have also set ambitious sustainability goals for 2025, aiming to further reduce our emissions, pass on our sustainability standards to our suppliers, and align our research with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Curiosity and responsibility. I always look forward to taking on challenges and solving problems with an open mind. In the meantime, our customers and employees are my greatest source of motivation. I love to help them tap into development opportunities and achieve long-term success.