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Meet Francois Marechal, The Engineering Maestro Behind Mondelēz's Largest Chocolate Factory

"At Mondelēz, we turn engineering challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation."

Meet Francois Marechal, Cross-category Engineering Projects Director

Wednesday, June 18, 2024

Please explain your role in Engineering, highlighting key responsibilities and how you contribute to MDLZ's purpose and mission.

As a member of the AMEA MSC Engineering & Transformation team, my primary responsibility is to assist our Business Units in advancing their CAPEX projects to support growth, innovation, productivity, safety, and quality of work. This involves conducting engineering design reviews, creating plans for affordable equipment and services, and offering guidance throughout the project implementation. My role encompasses both engineering and technical leadership, covering a wide range of areas such as greenfields, brownfields, mergers and acquisitions, plant master plans, productivity, onboarding, and capability development.

What is most special about your role?

Over the years, through collaborating with numerous engineers and experiencing the rich blend of cultures and businesses in Europe and then in AMEA, I have gained the ability to provide valuable engineering solutions that balance strength and adaptability. This has made me a pivotal role model within the AMEA community.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

It has been a great satisfaction for me to serve as Project Director and Chief Engineer, leading the team that designed and built our world’s largest chocolate factory in Sri City, India. This project has been a valuable professional and human experience of a lifetime. I can only thank our senior management and all the great talents who entrusted me with leading the Nilgiri project.

What projects have significantly contributed to your professional growth?

Projects that have significantly contributed to my professional growth include developing new acetylene cracking technology for the glass industry, creating new production capacities for the Mondelēz-Glico joint venture, establishing new production capacities in Central Europe and AMEA, and enhancing AMEA’s engineering and project management capabilities.

If you think about the supply chain in 10 years' time, what do you see? (i.e., digital, AI)?

As new leaders emerge, I can envision a fully integrated supply chain driven by lean teams and built on solid foundations of digitalization and control. We see how our operations in China have evolved over the last decade in terms of supply chain end-to-end thinking, agile digitization, and strong engagement of core teams in continuous improvement.

What’s your favorite MDLZ product, and can you share any memorable moments or experiences connected to it?

Although I try to reduce my sugar consumption, I am a fan of our iconic Barni (Ourson in France) and Petit Ecolier (chocolate bakery). These products are unique and best in class, and I am proud to have contributed to them as an engineer.

In what ways has your career grown since joining the company, and what opportunities for development are available?

Joining the company through the acquisition of Danone's biscuits business provided greater career opportunities in terms of geographies, categories, and roles. I have fulfilled my dream of working in Asia. This also applies to anyone who wants to pursue an exciting international career with Mondelēz.

Describe a typical day at MDLZ.

Today, we work much faster and collaborate more frequently via computers. I start my day by emptying my email inbox. Then, when I’m not visiting or meeting in person, I begin with online meetings to discuss various projects, coordinate equipment procurement plans, select suppliers, review mass balances, P&IDs, and layouts, and provide advice and training. Multiple chats and calls with teams, colleagues, and suppliers from all over the world make my days exciting and engaging.

What advice would you give to someone considering a role with MDLZ, based on your own experiences and journey?

Our company is a great place to work. We are committed to providing food and snacks that bring joy and sweet moments to our customers. This might sound trivial, but it is true. Although we do not work in high-tech or heavy industry, we face interesting and challenging tasks as engineers. There is room for innovation and creativity, as well as preserving ancient knowledge. We have colleagues from different cultures and with all abilities. The roles and geographical opportunities are great.


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