"MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION IS THE CUSTOMER".- JOÃO ARAÚJO, COUNTRY DIRECTOR, THALES
Railways has been my constant obsession in the last 30 years, after I assumed the role of developing the Railway business in Portugal.
As a fresh Engineer from IST, I started my career at Alcatel as telecoms engineer. Soon my commercial attitude and aptitude drove me to new challenges with an important stop over in Marconi before joining again Alcatel to launch the Railways activities, continuing this assignment after the integration of former Alcatel Transportation activities in Thales Group.
I’m proud to have played a significant role along the whole modernization and transformation of the Portuguese Railways Network and proud to have created and developed a strong Thales unit, Portuguese based, now present in more than 25 countries and well recognized within the huge Thales Group.
30 years of journey supported by two main pillars, “Customer 24 hours a day in my mind” and “Increase local added value to faster and better respond and satisfy Customers”.
Railways industry is special and since the end of the 80’s we had the chance to have room to challenge our brains and strengths to adapt Thales signaling products to the Portuguese Railways and to develop the Integration concept and skills to the Railways Communications, creating strong and unique local capabilities and skilled jobs to Portuguese experts.
The growth and consolidation of Thales Portugal in the Transportation domain, allowed me to drive the Group to new Challenges and in 2013 I managed to successfully lead the Group to reinforce the shareholding position in Edisoft. A company dedicated to the Defence and Aerospace activities, created in the scope of the acquisition in 1988 of the Meko Frigates for the Portuguese Navy.
Looking back, I remember two particular moments in my career that are significant milestones:
First export contract in India for Integrated Communication Systems in 2010. This was the moment of recognition of the Group regarding our technical competencies, our ability to negotiate and set-up a project organization in a far and difficult country.
This project was awarded in a very difficult business year and launched our export activities, giving us the tools to, later, survive to the reduction of the Railways investments in Portugal, that lasted until recently.
Edisoft Recovery. Thales decision to reinforce the shareholding position in Edisoft was based on my commitment to recover the company and develop the business.
Eight years after, Edisoft was relaunched with a new organization, activities are expanded and new markets are open.
The recent successful delivery of the new Ocean Patrol Vessels and the successes in the award, development and deployment of ATM systems in Portugal and worldwide are the evidences of this success.
My biggest inspiration is the Customer and my constant challenge is to put Thales in Portugal in the frontline of Thales Group based on our competences and performance.
Energy, dedication to the Customers and dedication to the Team is all I have to lead Thales in Portugal.
And when things get tough, I always remember Mandela: “I never lose, either I win or I learn”.