Portrait of Thierry Wolkiewiez, Sales Director of the Drilling Products division at Vallourec
Aged 41 and born in Lorraine, France, Thierry Wolkiewiez graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique, where he studied Chemistry and Economics, and from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, specializing in Project Management and Innovation. This photography, theater and running enthusiast has worked at Vallourec for 10 years in roles ranging from international, operational and management positions to mergers and acquisitions. Let's take a look at his career.
What were you doing before you joined Vallourec?
Between 1998 and 2004, I completed a wide range of assignments for ExxonMobil, which took me from Fos-sur-Mer for production technical assistance and preparation of the refinery to shut down for maintenance, to Rome for management of the strategy and the marketing of the Italian service station network, and lastly to Rueil, to the headquarters of Esso France, for the trading of oil products.
You started at Vallourec in 2004. Tell us about your career within the Group.
Seeking out new challenges, in 2004 I set my sights on a fast-growing company in the process of structuring, where everything had yet to be created. That's how I began my career at Vallourec in the Corporate Management Control department, where I was asked to take on a wide variety of assignments. These would range from production monitoring to the management of strategic mergers and acquisitions accounts, as well as the validation of some of the Group's major investment projects. Then, from 2008, I was lucky enough to be part of the small pioneering team which built Vallourec & Sumitomo Tubos do Brasil – our new, gigantic integrated industrial tube production site built as part of a joint venture with our partner NSSMC. I thus had a hand in Vallourec's great Brazilian adventure. Back in France, I joined the OCTG division where I took over responsibility for marketing, strategy, business development and services. In doing so, I created a new department, Vallourec Global Solutions, responsible for marketing oil and gas with new offers combining products and services. It was an opportunity to work within a company which is keen to trust you with responsibility and give you the freedom to mold your own role.
Today, you are the Sales Director for the Drilling Products division at Vallourec. What does that involve?
This position, which I've held for a few months now, involves leading the organization of sales and marketing for this division – salespeople, technical sales representatives, key account managers, product managers, sales assistants, etc. It has given me the chance to revive a highly operational position with multiple assignments. In fact, the Drilling Products division deals with the production and distribution of the entire range of drilling equipment designed for the oil and gas exploration and production market all over the world. I am also regularly asked to travel, as we have a presence all around the world, to Beijing, Moscow, Singapore, Dubai, Aberdeen, Houston, and Rio. For Vallourec, international business is a reality!
What in particular do you like about working at Vallourec?
First and foremost, working at Vallourec means working where the steel and energy industries meet, which are both exciting and face multiple challenges. Furthermore, Vallourec is an innovative high‑tech company, always on the lookout for new markets and open to creativity. Lastly, what's special about Vallourec is, I feel, the outstanding quality of relationships between individuals.
What are the qualities needed to be an effective sales director at Vallourec?
Strategic vision, customer orientation, decision-making, a global approach, interpersonal skills and managerial abilities are, in my opinion, vital qualities if you want to succeed in this type of role.