Prof. Bragagni leads Tratos UK’s everyday operations, successfully expanding in the UK market and becoming one of the leaders within the cable industry. His exceptional dedication and tireless endeavours have propelled Tratos UK Ltd to unparalleled growth and resounding success.

Under his dynamic leadership, our organization has significantly expanded its presence across Europe and won the 2019 Queen’s Award for Innovation, a testament to his visionary guidance and strategic acumen.

As a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors (IoD), Prof. Bragagni consistently exemplifies effective leadership and strategic brilliance throughout his tenure as CEO of Tratos UK. His leadership extends far beyond mere management; he charts a visionary course for our organisation, ensuring that every action taken contributes to our relentless pursuit of excellence.

In recognition of the achievements of the senior executives who demonstrate exceptional leadership in manufacturing and act as champions for more broadly sustainable business in their sector, Prof Bragagni won Leader of the Year at the Made in Britain Impact Awards 2023.

We met him and conducted the below interview.

The Pillars of Success

We started the interview by asking, “How do you believe implementing strong governance structures and leadership control, contribute to the success of a global manufacturing organization?”

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “At Tratos we have implemented strong governance structures which ensure that everyone at Tratos believes that ethical business conduct is essential for our company’s success. Implementing strong governance structures and leadership control is crucial for the success of any global manufacturing organisation.

There are many leadership styles, but at Tratos our leaders place special attention to matters related to resilience and perseverance, fully recognizing that true leadership transcends power and authority, finding its strength in overcoming obstacles with grace and determination.

Strong governance structures and leadership control provide the framework for Tratos to operate ethically, manage risks effectively, drive innovation, focus on sustainability, and plan for long-term success. Tratos differentiate itself in the cable-making market by fully embracing these principles. They help in building trust with stakeholders and ultimately achieve our strategic goals.

By fully embracing the highest standards of governance, such as the Code of Conduct for public appointment, Tratos sets a clear expectation for executive and non-executive board members to operate with integrity and professionalism. This commitment to ethical standards enhances the company’s reputation and fosters trust among stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and investors.

Strong governance structures enable effective risk management practices. By defining clear responsibilities and reporting lines, Tratos can identify, assess, and mitigate risks associated with its operations, supply chain, and market dynamics. This proactive approach helps safeguard the organisation against potential disruptions and losses.

At the same time, leadership control and governance frameworks provide the foundation for embedding sustainability into the company’s culture and operations. Tratos’ commitment to sustainability, driven by its board, ensures that environmental and social considerations are integrated into decision-making processes, leading to the development of more sustainable products, practices, and processes.

Finally, governance structures that encourage innovation and maintain high-quality standards are essential for a manufacturing organisation’s success. By empowering senior technical directors to push boundaries with new technologies and processes, Tratos can drive innovation while ensuring the delivery of high-quality products and services to its clients.”

Global Expansion and Sustainability

The Worlds Times:  Considering your role in global expansion and sustainability at Tratos Ltd, what challenges and opportunities do you foresee in managing a multinational manufacturing business, and how would you approach sustainability?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “When it comes to sustainability issues, Tratos doesn’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk when it comes to sustainable development principles. We design and manufacture our cables with an unwavering commitment to minimising our environmental impact through the efficient use of raw materials.

Tratos is not just aligning with the UN Global Goals; it is actively working to achieve them daily. The company has integrated these goals into its values and has incorporated them into its product development, operational practices, corporate social responsibility efforts, and overall corporate strategy.

Tratos believes that ethical business conduct is essential for a company’s success. It continues to work closely with customers and suppliers to identify and implement environmentally friendly solutions, such as greener cable options.

Additionally, the company strives to provide its customers with sustainable options, making it easier for them to make a positive impact as well. It also aims to create products and services that can be reused, repaired, refurbished, or recycled instead of being thrown away.

Managing a multinational manufacturing business like Tratos Ltd comes with various challenges and opportunities, especially concerning sustainability. Operating in multiple countries means dealing with diverse regulatory frameworks related to environmental standards and emissions. As a result, compliance with various regulations can be complex and resource-intensive.

Managing a global supply chain involves coordinating with numerous suppliers, each with its environmental footprint. Ensuring sustainability across the entire supply chain can be challenging.

While Tratos has taken steps to measure its carbon footprint, accurately quantifying emissions associated with manufacturing processes and supply chain activities across different locations can be difficult. Optimising resource use and minimising waste generation in manufacturing processes across diverse locations requires careful planning and investment in technology and infrastructure.

As an example to illustrate the impact of sustainable practices on Tratos’ carbon footprint, let’s consider a group of cables produced by Tratos, consisting of both traditional (Standard – made from virgin fossil-origin polymer) and recycled (Recycled – with recycled plastic material) versions. Calculations of the Carbon Footprint (CFP) reveal that for the Standard cables, total emissions amount to 84.35 tons CO₂eq. In contrast, for the Recycled cables, emissions were reduced by approximately 30%, totalling 59.37 tons CO₂eq. Remarkably, in both cases, over 95% of emissions are attributed to upstream processes. This example underscores the significant environmental benefits of incorporating sustainable materials into manufacturing processes, leading to substantial reductions in carbon emissions.

The current “trade wars” and “Read Sea route blockage are forcing many multinational businesses to “think global”, but “act local”. More and more businesses are forced to integrate their supply chain closer to their geographical area of operation. This in turn helps to reduce carbon emissions, too.

Finally, going multinational means that cultural differences among employees, stakeholders, and customers across different regions can pose challenges in implementing consistent sustainability practices and fostering a shared environmental ethos.”

Philanthropy as a strong component of CSR

The Worlds Times: With your commitment to philanthropy, how do you think corporate social responsibility and charitable initiatives align with a company’s business goals, and what role should leaders play in promoting such initiatives?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “Since its establishment in 1966, Tratos has always had a resolute people-centric mission. Purposefully investing in the most economically disadvantaged regions of Italy and the UK, Tratos is unwavering in its commitment to creating jobs and enhancing the well-being of local communities. Demonstrating an enduring dedication to corporate social responsibility (CSR), Tratos has consistently upheld this ethos, offering employment opportunities and contributing to growing local tax revenues for over five decades. In doing so, Tratos has indisputably established itself as a steadfast pillar of sustainable income and a catalyst for regional economic and social advancement.

Corporate social responsibility and charitable initiatives are integral components of Tratos’ business strategy, reflecting its values, vision, and commitment to advancing the common good. Leaders’ active involvement in promoting these initiatives not only aligns with the company’s business goals but also strengthens its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen dedicated to making a meaningful difference in the world.

By steadily generating employment in these underserved areas, Tratos plays an integral role in bolstering local communities and actively contributes to the achievement of Goal 11 of the UN Global Goals: Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Tratos extends an open invitation to all businesses, urging them to follow this exemplary path.

As a vital component of its CSR initiative, Tratos ardently champions the Esharelife Foundation. The Tratos Group has consistently reinvested a portion of its profits into charitable endeavours, with a particular focus on supporting Esharelife in recent years.

Tratos’ philanthropic endeavours are deeply rooted in its founding principles of fairness, respect, and sharing, instilled by its visionary founder, Egidio Capaccini. The company’s mission to innovate for good, from the factory floor to global markets, reflects a holistic approach to business that prioritises social and environmental responsibility alongside economic success.

The values that guide individual behaviour also underpin the ethos of a successful company. As Dr. Ennio Bragagni Capaccini, Deputy Chairman of Tratos, emphasises, continuous learning, embracing best practices, and upholding strong values are essential traits shared by both individuals and outstanding companies. By integrating these values into its operations, Tratos exemplifies a commitment to corporate governance, sustainability, and community engagement that forms the foundation of its success.

Leaders like Albano Bragagni and Ennio Bragagni Capaccini and I play a pivotal role in advancing Tratos’ CSR agenda. Their commitment to leading by example, reinvesting profits for innovation and growth, and supporting local economies underscores the company’s dedication to making a positive impact beyond financial returns. By aligning business goals with philanthropic initiatives, Tratos not only fulfils its moral obligations but also enhances its reputation, attracts top talent, and strengthens stakeholder relationships.

The philosophy behind Esharelife, founded with a clear principle of giving back to society, resonates deeply with Tratos’ ethos. The pandemic highlighted the significance of solidarity and stronger connections among people worldwide, emphasising the urgent need to support those in need. Esharelife’s commitment to supporting people through their ups and downs aligns closely with Tratos’ mission to innovate changes for good and empower communities.

Tratos’ alignment with Esharelife’s principle of giving back to society underscores its dedication to corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. By integrating charitable initiatives into its business strategy, Tratos not only strengthens its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen but also contributes to positive social change and community development.”

Diplomacy in Leadership

The Worlds Times: Prof Maurizio Bragagni ESq OBE serves as Honorary Consul, contributing to diplomatic relations. How can leaders utilise diplomatic skills to benefit both business and international relations, and what role do individuals play in fostering collaborations between different countries?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “Apart from being a successful entrepreneur with strong commercial and business acumen, I have proven my diplomatic skills, too. In 2019, I was appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of San Marino to the UK and Northern Ireland, a duty I am carrying on with great passion and have achieved many essential things, including signing bilateral economic agreements,  in strengthening further friendly bilateral relations between the UK and San Marino.

From October 2023, I hold the position of Alternate Governor of San Marino to the European Bank for Development and Reconstruction (EBRD), working closely with the EBRD to align with San Marino’s policy objectives and enhance the bank’s operations.

As an Honorary Consul, I adeptly utilise my skills to intertwine the interests of both business and international relations. Diplomatic skills and activities have greatly enhanced my capabilities to navigate the intricate web of international relations, facilitating synergy between business objectives and global cooperation.  For example, I was involved in events like COP26 to underscore the need to reform the carbon tax for the sake of “greening the economy” and achieving the net zero target emissions.”

Upholding Ethical Pillars

The Worlds Times: How do Tratos’ governance practices align with the values of fairness, respect, and sharing established by its founder over 50 years ago?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “At the heart of Tratos’ governance approach lies the principle of leading by example. From the boardroom to the factory floor, leaders within Tratos demonstrate a strong commitment to upholding these core values in every aspect of the company’s operations.

Tratos’ leadership team ensures that fairness is upheld in all decisions and actions, promoting equity and justice within the organisation. Whether it’s in hiring practices, employee treatment, or a supplier relationship, Tratos prioritises fairness to create an inclusive and supportive environment for all stakeholders.

Respect is another cornerstone of Tratos’ governance practices. Leaders within the company demonstrate respect for diversity, opinions, and perspectives, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration. By valuing the contributions of every individual, Tratos creates a workplace where mutual respect is paramount, driving innovation and excellence.

Furthermore, Tratos’ governance practices reflect a genuine commitment to the UN Global Goals, aligning the company’s mission and actions with broader efforts to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. By integrating these goals into its culture and operations, Tratos demonstrates its dedication to making a positive impact on society and the environment.”

Preserving the Values

The Worlds Times: In what ways does Tratos maintain and incorporate the initial vision, values, and mission of its founder into its current governance structure and decision-making processes?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “Tratos maintains and incorporates the initial vision, values, and mission of its founder into its current governance structure and decision-making processes by following tradition while implementing innovation. At the core of Tratos’ governance approach is the principle of honouring the legacy established by its founder while embracing innovation to adapt to evolving challenges and opportunities.

Following the tradition, Tratos upholds the timeless values of fairness, respect, and sharing that were instilled by its founder over 50 years ago. These values serve as guiding principles in the company’s governance structure, shaping decision-making processes to ensure alignment with its founding ethos. By staying true to its roots, Tratos fosters a culture of integrity, accountability, and ethical conduct across all levels of the organisation.

However, Tratos also recognizes the importance of innovation in driving progress and growth. The company leverages innovative practices and technologies to enhance its governance structure and decision-making processes, ensuring they remain agile, efficient, and responsive to changing market dynamics.

In essence, Tratos’ governance structure and decision-making processes strike a delicate balance between tradition and innovation. By following the tradition and implementing innovation, Tratos maintains the spirit of its founder’s vision, values, and mission while continuously adapting to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving business landscape.”

Strategic Integration Across Borders

The Worlds Times: How does Tratos ensure effective global coordination and technological integration across its diverse production plants, and what role does governance play in this process?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “Very interesting question. We are living at the times of a digital revolution in the making. While many are harnessing the advantages of the new technologies, some others a lacking the capacities to do so, and the so-called “digital divide” is expanding.

Tratos ensures effective global coordination and technological integration across its diverse production plants through strong vertical integration and a steadfast commitment to the Tratos culture. The company prioritises its innovation-driven culture as its main value, recognizing that this is integral to its success in fostering collaboration and innovation across its global operations.

Vertical integration within Tratos enables seamless coordination and integration of technology across its production plants worldwide. By maintaining control over various stages of the production process, from research and development to manufacturing and distribution, Tratos ensures consistency in quality and standards across its diverse facilities. This vertical integration facilitates the sharing of best practices, knowledge transfer, and efficient resource allocation, contributing to effective global coordination.

Moreover, Tratos’ governance plays a crucial role in this process by providing a framework for decision-making and accountability. The company’s governance structure emphasises the importance of aligning actions with the core values of fairness, respect, and sharing, as established by its founder. Through clear policies, procedures, and communication channels, governance ensures that all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities in driving global coordination and technological integration.”

Strategic Innovation

The Worlds Times: Balancing innovation and product diversification is crucial. How does Tratos achieve this balance while upholding a strong governance framework?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “Tratos is more than a manufacturer; we are a proven powerhouse of technical expertise, engineering prowess, and deep industry knowledge. For over half a century, we’ve been at the forefront of cable innovation, actively shaping the landscape in network rail, energy, renewables, and subsea cable technologies for decades.

We don’t just talk about sustainability; we act on it. Tratos has transitioned from pure copper cables to superconductor cables, making significant strides in green cable technology. Our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our products goes hand in hand with our mission to inspire a more eco-friendly approach within our network of clients, partners, and followers.

Tratos leads initiatives like the Alternative Power Marine system and the Approved Cables Initiative while championing the Safer Structures campaign. Our dedication has earned us accolades such as the Queen’s Enterprise Award for Innovation. We’ve campaigned tirelessly for a super-fast fibre broadband network in the UK, one that can revitalise the country’s economy and secure its place on the world stage.

Tratos achieves the balance between innovation and product diversification while upholding a strong governance framework by strategically segmenting its markets and investing in innovation, while also maintaining stability in its existing markets, akin to the principles outlined by Machiavelli in chapters 16 and 17 of “The Prince.”

Firstly, Tratos carefully segmented its markets, identifying opportunities for growth and expansion into new areas while also safeguarding its presence in established markets. This segmentation allowed the company to allocate resources effectively, focusing innovation efforts where they will have the greatest impact while ensuring that existing product lines remain competitive and profitable.

Secondly, Tratos has in the past and continues to invest significantly in innovation within new market segments, leveraging research and development to create cutting-edge products tailored to the specific needs of these markets. By staying ahead of technological advancements and consumer trends, Tratos can capture market share and establish itself as a leader in emerging sectors.

At the same time, Tratos understands the importance of stability and consistency in its core markets. Rather than neglecting these established areas in pursuit of innovation, the company maintains a balanced approach, ensuring that existing products continue to meet customer needs and generate revenue.”

Preserving Legacy

The Worlds Times: Tratos has experienced multi-generational leadership transitions. How does the company manage these transitions, ensuring the continuity of its founder’s vision, and how is governance involved in succession planning within the organisation?

Maurizio Bragagni replied, “Tratos is a family-owned business and  effectively manages multi-generational leadership transitions by adhering to a meticulous succession planning process deeply rooted in the founder’s vision and values, as outlined in my book, Chapter Seven of “Family Business: Making the Possible Impossible.” This principle underscores the importance of selecting leaders who embody the company’s core values of fairness, respect, and integrity.

The company ensures the continuity of the business by placing trust in individuals who demonstrate a commitment to upholding these values and fostering a culture of innovation and excellence. By prioritising the selection of leaders who align with the company’s ethos, Tratos ensures that each transition maintains a seamless continuation of its core principles.

Moreover, Tratos recognizes the significance of incorporating fresh talent into its leadership ranks, as evidenced by its willingness to appoint individuals from outside the family to top positions. This approach reflects a pragmatic acknowledgement of the need for diverse perspectives and expertise to drive the company’s growth and evolution.

Governance plays a pivotal role in this process by providing oversight and guidance throughout succession planning efforts. The governance framework ensures that leadership transitions are conducted transparently, fairly, and by internally established protocols. By adhering to rigorous governance standards, Tratos maintains accountability and integrity in its succession processes, safeguarding the continuity of its founder’s vision while embracing opportunities for innovation and growth.”

Wise Counsel for Emerging Entrepreneurs

Lastly we asked, “Do you have a piece of advice that you would like to say to people just starting on their business journey?”

Certainly! I am pleased to introduce my motto“Nihil difficile volenti,” which translates to “Nothing is difficult for the willing,” encapsulates a powerful mindset for those embarking on their business journey. This motto holds particular significance as it is the guiding principle of me and my family. I am providing some hints on how you can apply this motto:

First of all, establish a clear understanding that challenges are inevitable in the business world, but with determination and a willingness to face them head-on, you can overcome any obstacle. Approach challenges as opportunities for growth and learning rather than insurmountable barriers.

Stay committed to your goals and vision, even when faced with setbacks or failures. Remember that every successful entrepreneur has encountered obstacles along the way. Your willingness to persist in the face of adversity will ultimately determine your success.

Take calculated risks. Being willing to take risks is essential for entrepreneurial success. However, it’s important to approach risk-taking strategically. Conduct thorough research, weigh the potential rewards against the risks, and be prepared to adapt your strategy based on feedback and outcomes.

I cannot stress enough the need to embrace innovation. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and pursue unconventional ideas. Innovation often arises from a willingness to challenge the status quo and explore new possibilities. Be open to experimentation and continuously seek ways to improve and differentiate your business.

Finally, it is important to remain humble. While ambition and confidence are essential traits for entrepreneurs, humility is equally important. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers and be open to seeking advice and learning from others. Stay humble in your successes and gracious in your interactions with colleagues, customers, and partners.” Maurizio Bragagni conclued

Connect Maurizio Bragagni on LinkedIn

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