Good afternoon to you all.
I’d like to extend warm thanks to Prime Minister the Honorable Paolo Gentiloni, the President of Region Lombardy Roberto Maroni, the Mayor of Pero Maria Rosa Belotti, and with them all the other honorable guests who kindly accepted our invitation to celebrate the inauguration of our new Headquarters for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
My own personal thanks also go to Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer, for being with us on a day we will remember for many years to come.
I’d like to express my special gratitude to all our people because they make this building a center where we can all meet and grow together. A veritable winning workplace hosting over 600 people from 28 countries and where 21 different languages are spoken.
A workplace massively geared to collaboration, communication, experimentation and creativity thanks to our offices’ modern layout and avant-garde technologies.
Not to mention its strategic location in terms of the territory’s infrastructure, which enables us to be even closer to our partners and even more attractive to top-flight talents, both Italian and international, which will further enrich the local community.
Italy is now one of the hubs of our Company’s industrial and commercial strategies in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. From here we manage over 30 countries, 15 industrial sites and over 24,000 employees.
Our trust in Italy goes back a long way, to when Whirlpool came to Europe for the first time, 28 years ago, right here in Lombardia.
Our decision to keep our EMEA headquarters in Italy, here in Lombardy, following our acquisition of Indesit Company endorses the central role that Whirlpool has assigned to this country. Because here we can rely on exceptional talents, formidable expertise and know-how in the home appliance sector, powerful advanced technology capabilities and an abundance of creativity that is admired all over the world.
It’s in Italy in fact that we’re concentrating our Research and Development efforts, attracting over 75% of the investments, worth over 350 million euros, that the Group has allocated to the EMEA region by the end of 2018.
It’s here that we decided, in our Italy Plan, to invest over 500 million euros in four years to make our industrial footprint highly competitive and sustainable in the long term in the 6 industrial sites we have in the country.
In our new headquarters we also have our flagship showroom, The World of Whirlpool, which will showcase the most advanced new developments in our home appliance technology and design. Here we will give our guests an experiential tour of our brands and most innovative products.
In this prestigious new HQ we have inherited the intangible legacy of the Expo Milano 2015, enabling us to celebrate the social and economic values of diversity and inclusion on a daily basis.
I sincerely hope that many other national and international enterprises decide in the near future to follow our example and choose this area, which will become increasingly dynamic and desirable.
My heartfelt thanks once again to all of you who have participated today, and I wish a great job to the whole of the Whirlpool family.