The largest food and beverage company globally—with revenues of CHF91.6 billion in 2014, and sitting at number 11 on the Financial Times Global 500 list­—Nestlé is a force to be reckoned with. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t consumed a Nestlé product at some point in their life, with their reach spanning the globe.

CEO of Nestlé Russia and Eurasia, Maurizio Patarnello has worked for the food giant for more than 20 years. Originally graduating with a degree in business from the University of Bologna, Maurizio worked his way through a number of senior positions at Nestlé before being appointed to his current role. Maurizio spoke to The CEO Magazine about how he has grown Nestlé in the Russia and Eurasia region, Nestlé’s focus on training and developing its staff, and why it’s essential for the company to have good relationships with local suppliers.

The CEO Magazine: Having joined Nestlé in 1993, how do you feel your positions within the company prepared you to fulfil your mandate as CEO of Nestlé Russia and Eurasia?

Maurizio: I always say that your career is a journey. During my journey, I was lucky enough to have several postings in quite interesting countries that were totally different from one another. I was in Western Europe, the Middle East managing Africa and Asia, and then Eastern Europe. I didn’t think that one day I would be the CEO of Nestlé Russia and Eurasia, but of course the company gave me the opportunity to be exposed to so many different environments which helped me get to where I am.

The key to thriving in different environments is your capacity or ability to identify partners. I was lucky enough to have seen so many different partners, in different parts of the world, in different categories.

That gave me a background to allow me to identify different situations and patterns and then decide on the appropriate measures to address different situations. In this sense, my previous roles were a good preparation for my current role.