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August 17, 2022

Rauno Kakko, COO Pehart Group: Because there are no more schools in Romania to prepare specialists for the paper industry, we need to train them

 The COO of Pehart Group, Rauno Kakko, joined the management of the Romanian company three years ago and since then he has been “commuting” between Romania and Denmark, the country where he settled, although he is originally from Finland.

He specialized in technology and paper production at the Helsinki University of Technology and also hold an MBA in Finance. He came to Romania for the first time in 2017, at Pehart’s invitation, he remained here as a consultant for a year and a half, and later became the COO of the company. His role is to “implement best practices in the production process” and thus help transform Pehart into one of the most powerful players in the European paper industry. Rauno Kakko confesses that he likes to work with the people in Pehart team, although in Romania he sometimes has to overcome bigger challenges than in the western countries where he has worked before. One of these is the lack of schools preparing professionals in the paper industry.

The largest producer of paper products for household and industrial use in Romania and one of the main producers of industrial paper rolls in South-Eastern Europe, the Romanian company Pehart Group has had a Finn in its management team for three years now. I visited Romania for the first time in 2017, when I was invited by Pehart to analyse the production process and to identify potential ways to optimize it. I joined the management team at the beginning of 2019, and before that I was a consultant for a year and a half. However, it was difficult to make changes in the production process from this position, so the management of the company asked me to join as a permanent member of the management of the business. I still live in Denmark, but I spend most of my time with Pehart”, says Rauno Kakko.

With an impressive experience in the field gained through collaboration with multinational companies in his native Finland, Russia, Denmark, or France, the Pehart COO confesses that interactions with people are one of the most valuable aspects of his career, and from this point of view, Romania is no exception: I like working with people from the Pehart team”, says Rauno Kakko. They are very dedicated to their work, and they want to constantly learn, to improve. I feel that the information I provide is really assimilated”, says the company’s COO. However, Rauno Kakko emphasizes that the Romanian experience has certain particularities, and, in some respects, it is very different from that of the western countries where he worked. I have mostly worked in western companies, and I have been spoiled with some resources as a commodity. In Romania, I have learned how to manage with sometimes limited resources”, admits the Pehart COO. Rauno Kakko observes that in the Romanian industry the operational services do not always work at the ideal standards: “As a result, you have to do many things alone. For this reason, our operational and maintenance staff is forced to think and solve problems with rather limited resources”.

Another challenge that the Finnish-born COO at Pehart had to overcome was the lack of schools to prepare pulp and paper production specialists. It’s not easy at all”, he says. It’s very difficult to find experienced people. Because in Romania there are no more schools to train specialists in the paper industry, we have to train them ourselves, to teach them from the basics to the best practices in the field. In the end, I am very happy that our production engineers are very loyal to the company, so we limit the problems with the specialized workforce”, Rauno adds. In fact, the company is actively involved in community, developing partnerships for the promotion of technical vocational education in Alba County, where Pehart’s story began, and is awarded for its employer policy.

The COO of Pehart Group said that at the beginning of his collaboration with the Romanian team, his role was more to think about the future of the company”, so that it would grow and become an important players on the tissue paper market. The efficient use of raw materials and resources, even renewable ones, and the identification of new sources of energy and alternative fibres are among the sustainability policies at Pehart. And these are concrete things, not elements of public discourse”, Rauno Kakko points.

Pehart Group annually produces 100,000 tons of tissue paper in its two factories in Sebeș, Alba County and Dej, Cluj County and has a finished products processing capacity of over 75,000 tons. 70% of the entire quantity of household and industrial products is sold in Romania, and the company ensures the production for a large part of the big retail chains own brands. Pehart Group is present with household and industrial products in 18 countries in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and owns the Pufina, Alint and Altessa brands, but also produces jumbo rolls, large paper rolls for industrial customers and for its own consumption.


About Pehart Group


With almost 185-year tradition, Pehart Group is one of the largest paper producers in Southeast Europe. The company that started as an entrepreneurial business is present with its household and industrial products in 18 central, eastern, and southern European countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Ukraine, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Moldavia Republic, Germany).

Pufina, one of the most popular brand, Alint and Alttesa are part of Pehart portfolio. The company also produces jumbo rolls, huge paper rolls used in the process of conversion into paper products for household and industrial use.


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