We will develop an even stronger global brand, supplemented by a portfolio of product brands that are based in local markets.
And our management team will become increasingly flexible, increasingly capable, and increasingly diverse.
I believe this vision of CEMEX's future is achievable. But I also believe that we will succeed only if we sustain and develop our culture in ways that preserve our values—even as we become larger, more global, and more successful. That is the greatest challenge I face as a CEO of a globalizing company.
Because of globalization, we are at a turning point in how our companies work, how they interact, and the benefits they can produce for all of our countries. Because of globalization, we have the opportunity to produce better returns for our shareholders, better value for our customers, and better lives for our employees.
And, because of globalization, we have the chance to produce a world that is richer and more inclusive.
At least in my business career, I have never seen a better opportunity to build successful, profitable global businesses than today. Of course, there are great challenges. But for every challenge there is a solution that can create enormous value. This is what we are doing at CEMEX.
CEMEX operates twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, across four continents, in an industry that is undergoing an intense and rapid process of global consolidation.
Our production platform incorporates 33 countries and our trading network encompasses more than 60 countries. Every day, CEMEX produces, markets, and distributes products to thousands of customers around the world.
If anyone in the manufacturing business is global, we are global.
For me, globalization has two dimensions:
• First, the impact on my company of increasingly globalized markets, for capital, for technology, for people, for information, and for products;
• Second, the impact on the countries in which we operate—and, hence, on my company—of increasingly globalized political, economic, regulatory, and social forces.
In a sense, one is micro and one is macro.
We have to cope with markets that are every day deeper, broader, and more connected. Strategies that were highly successful in local, isolated markets can, almost overnight, be bankrupted by unexpected new linkages to other markets. Projects or acquisitions
But so, too, was the European Commission's rejection of the GE/Honeywell merger, which surprised at least the GE management.
• The fracturing of countries like the former Yugoslavia, and the new populism in Argentina.
• Growing protectionism in the United States in favor of failing industries like steel and sugar.
None of these developments are consistent with the supposed inevitable integration of economies, countries, societies, and cultures.
Managing a global business in such a world means having to understand that most people and most politicians in most countries have not embraced globalization. Quite the contrary.
They seem to fear the frantic pace of change that most of us in this room take for granted.
They reject the challenges to long familiar ways of doing things that emerge almost daily from the innovations being generated ...