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Wed 24 Aug 2016 03:38 PM

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Flying high with Bombadier's Khader Mattar

For Khader Mattar Vice President of Sales for the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and China at Bombardier, leadership is about balancing company success with flawless execution

Flying high with Bombadier's Khader Mattar

For Khader Mattar Vice President of Sales for the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and China at Bombardier, leadership is about balancing company success with flawless execution

Where does the story of Bombardier begin?

We've had over fifty years of revolutionary achievement, in style, performance and reliability, and it's in our family of aircraft that all that innovation and luxury meets. Our heritage brings together more than 100 years of aviation history. The acquisition of Canadair Inc. in 1986 was the first of many moves that would see Bombardier consolidate leading talent and manufacturing experience from around the world. Over the ensuing six years, Bombardier grew in both strength and stature, and acquired the world's first aircraft production company, Northern Ireland's Short Brothers plc in 1989, then US-based Learject Inc. in 1990 and de Havilland Canada in 1992. Today, we have a comprehensive line of business jets that is the largest of any original equipment manufacturer, with three leading aircraft families: Learjet, Challenger and Global jets.

If all goes well, where do you see the company going in future?

Our plan sees us playing a part in turning business aircraft into a higher-performing organisation in terms of operations, quality and financial performance. Our sales team is well-equipped to increase our position in the marketplace, and we expect our current industry-leading backlog to become even stronger as we activate these channels more fully.

What's the biggest challenge facing your industry at the moment?

The market is undoubtedly competitive, and we don't expect that to change in the short-term. Having the right capacity will strengthen the brand and ensure our success for the long term.

What do you think is Bombardier's greatest strength?

Bombardier is a company with a phenomenal history of achievement and a bright future. The road we are on is the right one to make Bombardier strong again – to be a great employer, a consistent generator of shareholder value, a champion of our communities and the leading maker of business jets. I also look forward to continue to work with more talented people to ensure Bombardier is once again all it can be – strong, healthy and a thriving business.

How does the company make decisions?

Our goal is to solve the world's ever-growing need for mobility through innovation. That strategy governs how we run our business, and is designed to create both financial and non-financial value for our stakeholders. While it is an ambitious strategy and not without challenges – operational, technological and cultural – it is the right roadmap that answers some of society's most pressing mobility challenges (that of urban congestion, unpredictable fuel prices and environmental uncertainty). All our decisions come from that message, to either invest in leading mobility solutions, grow local roots in key markets, and to achieve flawless execution every step of the way.

What do you think is Bombardier's best quality?

We have three families of business jets spanning from light to large, which means that Bombardier Business Aircraft repeatedly sets new standards with advanced designs, superior cabin comfort and consistently best-in-class attributes. Plus, having a 24/7 customer services commitment and a network of worldwide facilities doesn't hurt, either.

 

How would you explain what you do to an 8-year-old?

I would say that we create very nice planes that take people all around the world. We have three different sizes of planes, small, medium and large. But most importantly, when you fly in one of our planes it feels like you're in your own home, seeing the world from above.

How would you explain the culture of Bombardier to a new employee?

It is the actions and contributions from employees that build the future of this company. Customers are at the centre of everything we do, so without satisfied customers we'd have no business. So we must never waver on our focus of providing the best service to our customers. Finally, employees should also keep in mind that our products are innovations that they should be proud of.

What are three characteristics that every leader should possess?

First, communication. Knowing what you want to accomplish may seem clear in your head, but if you try and explain it to someone else they may find it difficult. Training new members and creating a productive work environment all depends on healthy lines of communication. Second is commitment. If you expect your team to work hard, then you need to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing a leader down in the trenches, working alongside everyone else, showing that the hard work is being done on every level. The third quality is confidence. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain team morale. You need to be confident to put everyone at ease, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural.

Is there any advice you would give to someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Inspiring your team or your employees as to your vision of success is vital. If you can make your team feel invested in the accomplishments of the company, you will succeed.

What's your biggest fear in business?

Working in all different directions. I believe it's important for leaders to have a coherent direction for their business.

How do you prepare for uncertainty?

I think it's important to keep your confidence levels up in times of uncertainty. You need to assure everyone that the company is moving in the right direction, and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal rather than day-to-day.

 

What's one thing most people don't know about you?

I never forget the people and decisions in my past.

If you were to give someone just starting out in business one piece of advice, what would it be?

To never take no as an answer.

What's your most prized possession?

Sharing special moments with my family.

Would you say they are the greatest luxury in your life?

I would say yes, especially when I'm with them in the comfort of my own home, after a good day of work.

What motivated you to get out of bed each day?

I am always ready for the fray. I can't wait to get started and see what the day has in store for me.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

I would tell myself that I must seize the day when I'm young, so as to not miss out when I'm older.

If you could give an old boss a piece of advice, what would it be?

I would be inclined to remind him that he should show more appreciation to those who work for him, by praising them a lot more.

What do you work toward in your free time?

In my free time I don't really work. I prefer to relax and chill out. Of course, there are times when my mind will ponder new ways of tackling problems that might arise.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Exactly where I am today, in fact: running a successful business.

Finish this sentence, "the world would be a better place if only…"

it would be a better place if only more time and love was given to young people in every country for them to build a brighter future.