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Israeli manager sows the seeds of success

Updated: 2013-11-21 10:03
By Wang Zhuoqiong ( China Daily)

SOE Agrochemical corp grows in fertile company of foreign merger

They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Why not apply this saying in China and, when there, do as the Chinese do?

That is certainly what Israeli Chen Lichtenstein had in mind as he sat in his Beijing office at the headquarters of one of the country's leading State-owned companies.

That is why Lichtenstein, president and chief executive officer of China National Agrochmical Corp (CNAC), a strategic business division of ChemChina, also known as China National Chemical Corp, seems perfectly comfortable in the almost entirely Chinese environment within which he operates.

Israeli manager sows the seeds of success

China National Agrochemical Corp showcases its products and technology at an industry exhibition.[Photo/China Daily] 

In 2011, CNAC completed a merger transaction with MAI, Israeli-headquartered Makhteshim Agan Industries, the world's seventh largest crop-chemicals company, through which CNAC became MAI's controlling shareholder.

The Stanford University doctoral degree holder of both the Graduate School of Business and the School of Law, said he is inspired by his new mission, which includes the study of CNAC's Chinese subsidiaries, making investment decisions and building up research and development, distribution and manufacturing foundations.

Lichtenstein admitted that 10 or even five years ago, if one were to predict his present position, he would not believe it. Yet now, as his thinking has evolved and his level of understanding and trust increased, alongside the support received from CNAC management and colleagues alike, he said the ability to execute jobs and the vision of what needs to be done motivates him enormously.

"What I am doing is learning, doing one-on-one interviews and interacting a lot with management and other colleagues, which helps me see and understand the SOE (State-owned-enterprise) and better connect with my team," he said.

His understated confidence comes from the orderly integration process that CNAC and MAI ran in the past 18 months - a process that emerged from study to design and execution.

During this period, which resulted in his recent appointment, Lichtenstein led the integration on behalf of MAI, being MAI's deputy CEO. He realized the surprising similarity between the people of China and Israel.

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