A move from the fast-paced world of automotive manufacturing to kitchens may not seem a logical step for some, but Antonio Recinella believes he has made the perfect transition. “We tend to say that the kitchen world follows the automotive industry in terms of technology, in terms of trend, in terms of engineering in general. At first glance, they might seem like completely different industries, but these two worlds are not very different at all,” he explains.

Antonio Recinella had his sights set on a career in automotive

Antonio took on the role of CEO at Elica in November 2016, having spent 22 years in the automotive industry in a variety of senior roles across the globe. He believes the career change is not as unusual as it may first appear.

“Although the automotive industry can be at times more demanding, I didn’t see major differences between the two,” he adds. After completing university, Antonio had a short stint in a specialised branch of the Italian Army before turning his sights to a job in the automotive sector.

“I love cars. I love technology. I love whatever is a world-directed trend. The challenge, the fashion, the design and the technology are all represented in there. I do feel very fortunate that I’ve had 22 years in automotive,” he says. 

Antonio Recinella, CEO of Elica

What really makes the difference is the most important asset: people.

Antonio started his automotive career as a cost accountant with AlliedSignal, working his way up to a manufacturing precision manager role in Brussels. He moved to Switzerland and went on to work for Honeywell, gaining an MBA along the way, before accepting an opportunity with parts manufacturer Magneti Marelli and returning to Italy to work.

Elica entices Antonio into the kitchen

Progression through the company meant moving to Shanghai in 2011, before returning to Italy as the CEO of the market subdivision. Impressive results in this area saw Antonio enjoying this challenging role until a chance meeting with Elica’s president, Francesco Casoli, took him in an entirely new direction.

“I had the pleasure of meeting him. His passion, his energy and his vision for Elica was so contagious, I fell in love immediately,” laughs Antonio. Within the week, he had joined the Elica team, and he says he’s never looked back. “To be honest, after seven months in this position, I have no regrets. In fact, quite the opposite; I feel really fortunate to have this experience. It’s been very exciting so far.” 

Antonio says the first few months on the job were spent setting up a plan for the future of the company and getting the best people on board. “Because at the end of the day, what really makes the difference is the most important asset that we have: people. I brought new people in – mainly in operations and IT – and they’re really making a significant difference to where we’re heading,” he comments.

A strong strategy for greater success

Antonio believes it is a testament to Elica’s strong position that the company has more than weathered the struggles of the Italian economy for the past nine years. His approach to ensure greater success has been centred on, in his words, “A stronger strategy, a stronger execution plan, a stronger operations plan, and also a stronger control and rewards system.”

This includes rewarding merit and removing people who fail to perform. Antonio says this worldwide market leader is constantly evolving, with the current emphasis on booking systems and creating connectivity among domestic appliances with devices like smartphones. Elica is determined to be at the very forefront of this market. In addition, the company is also concentrating on air pollution, making this a top priority.

Top-edge technology and design will underpin all innovation at Elica, Antonio says, and he is like a proud father watching his family of products grow. With eight Elica factories around the world, three in Italy, and a 4,000-strong workforce – a quarter of whom are based in Italy – the family is large and diverse, and plans to keep building on its stellar reputation as it continues to evolve in the fast-changing technological environment.