For Stefan Rosina, the President of Matador Group, innovation is the key to success. “Innovation is our life at Matador,” he states. “It is the main thing we are constantly focusing on. Over the next 2 years our target is to grow our R&D department considerably so that we can keep supplying parts to the world’s top automobile manufacturers. This in turn will add value to our production line and deliver more to our customers.”

Matador Group has been around for more than 111 years and throughout its existence it has experienced considerable change, triggered by both internal and external factors. Its origins, in the early 1900s, were in the manufacture of rubber products, but it wasn’t until the 50s that people really began to sit up and take notice of what the business was doing. Operating from a tyre production plant in Púchov, Slovak Republic, Matador steadily grew to become one of the largest and most innovative tyre companies in central and eastern Europe. An important milestone occurred in 2007 when the rubber division was sold off to Continental AG, thus closing a door on Matador’s most important and successful chapter.

But this meant that it could start to write a new story in its history and this ultimately led to the decision to transform the former rubber manufacturer into a top Tier 1 supplier for the automotive industry. Matador had already been running an automotive division for a couple of years, so it decided to hone in on this area as its core focus. The company teamed up with Aufeer Design to enrich its competencies and portfolio of design and development, and over the next decade worked its way up to become the largest privately owned Tier 1 supplier in Slovakia. Today, it has diversified its product and service portfolio considerably and prides itself on having a strong focus on innovative engineering services, design of automotive components, design and assembly of automation lines, stamping tool production, and serial production for the leading European original equipment manufacturers.

Throughout much of Matador’s long history Stefan Rosina has been involved, and he has played an instrumental role in many of the changes that have taken place. He first joined the company in the 80s working his way up the ranks to become General Manager, and then President, which is the position he holds today.

Stefan recalls that another big change for Matador came in 1989 when the ‘Velvet Revolution’ took place. This was when the Communist rule of what was then-Czechoslovakia was overturned after 41 years.