I confess that when I met Ian Genuis, CEO of The Danish Bakery, I was very surprised by his array of qualifications and varied work experience. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and an Executive MBA from Henley Business School, whilst his work experience in different industries varies from aviation and pharmaceuticals to property development, engineering services, and food manufacturing. How’s that for a solid foundation?
“I’ve been fortunate to work with premium brands and be involved in projects that promote continuous improvement in high-tech industrial environments. This experience has underscored the importance of staying ahead of the competition through innovation, contributing to generating new business values.”
Two years ago, Ian was appointed CEO of The Danish Bakery, which is owned by CPHCL, part of the wider Corinthia group.
When we chatted about his personal life, his face shone when he mentioned Daphne, his wife and “best friend for the past 18 years.” I could see a glint in his eyes when he mentioned his 4-year-old daughter, Sophie, “the love of our life.’
But Ian also surprised me with another piece of information. When speaking of his relaxation sources, he mentioned travelling to new destinations, reading, spending quality time with the family…and then came the unexpected. “ I also love boxing training.” Was that a way to vent his tension? “I seek enjoyment in all my activities, which contribute to mental clarity, strategic thinking, and overall well-being.” After a few seconds, he added: “I do not participate in competitive matches, and I think ‘cardio boxing training’ is an excellent way to convey the fitness-oriented nature of my training. ”
How did Corinthia enter the bakery scenario? “Originally, it was a chance investment which did not go the desired way. Then Corinthia partnered with Jesper Nielsen, a Danish master baker in Qawra, Malta, and that was it. The Danish Bakery was born; that was 2001. Unfortunately, Jesper died suddenly and fairly young, but we still carry his name in many of our products.”
I was very surprised when I queried the range of The Danish Bakery products. “We have over 230 different products, something to suit every taste. From 14 different types of slice loaves to morning fresh packed bread, like buns, ciabattas, rolls, and artisan bread. We also provide partly baked/frozen bread, as well as a delightful assortment of confectionery items, such as brioche, hot cross buns, fruit buns, croissants, teacakes, muffins, pasta frolla, rock cakes, and a wide selection of cakes. It’s quite the culinary journey!”
That led me to my following query. How was a new product conceived? Was it a joint exercise? “Deciding on new products is a collaborative effort. We proactively anticipate market dynamics and re-engineer our business processes when necessary. This leads to improvements in both financial and non-financial aspects of our performance. As for upcoming product launches, we are thrilled to share that in the coming weeks, we shall introduce a vast range of new healthy products.” That is something well worth waiting for! Not just a new product but a vast range of new healthy products. I tried to squeeze some information from Ian, but he kept his mouth tight.
“All I can say is that Danish Bakery will come out with a splash. Forming part of the Corinthia Group, we are deeply committed to its culture. This commitment strengthens our organisation and is engrained in all our systems and procedures, ensuring that we continue to thrive and offer the best to our valued customers.”
The Danish Bakery publicly states that it strives to make its products the tastiest and most healthy. How does it achieve this? Ian was assertive on this point. “This mission drives our focus on product development and training. We utilise innovative techniques and a dedication to quality to ensure our products stand out. From the training we provide to our team to the strict adherence to food safety standards, quality is at the core of what we do.”
Two essential points have been mentioned: training and product development. I asked Ian to expand on this. “Training is fundamental to our success. We ensure all our employees are well-trained to maintain seamless operations. We take food safety seriously and adhere strictly to Hazard Analysis Critical Control Procedures (HACCP) and Food Safety Management Systems. Additionally, we integrate Total Quality Management (TQM) with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to ensure consistent and high-quality standards.
We also take great care in sourcing our raw materials. It’s a critical aspect of ensuring the highest standards of freshness and taste in our products. We believe that quality starts at the source.”
The Danish Bakery currently operates with a team of 65 Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) and a dedicated group of 21 distribution agents. These agents reach out to retail and HORECA (Hotel, Restaurant, and Café) customers daily across Malta and Gozo.
Ian Genuis speaks of the bakery as if it were his own property. He takes personal pride in his mission. A quick thinker, an optimist, and a multi-tasker, his management style is in the form of leadership without a title. “My approach is guided by five personal values: trust, transparency, respect, integrity, and family. These values are my compass, and I aim to lead by example in everything I do. I know I don’t possess all the answers, but I’m humble in the presence of the unknown and the unfamiliar, and am always eager to learn and grow.”
What better concluding remark could I expect from this genial character, Ian Genuis?