The desire to contribute, create effective teams fuels sales and marketing veteran.
Neil Fryer believes the success of any company depends upon its people and culture. So, it’s no surprise that the vice president of Delphi Technologies’ Global Product, Marketing & Strategic Planning for the Aftermarket, sees it as his responsibility as a senior leader to cultivate an environment that brings out the best in people, which then leads to growth. At all levels and locations, Fryer is inspired by the “can-do atmosphere” that lives within the company. He’s committed to fostering the strengths and opportunities at Delphi Technologies that will make a difference.
You’re relatively new to Delphi Technologies. What are you discovering about the company?
Overall, it’s a really great team. I’ve learned that if you don’t fit with an organization’s culture, it’s very difficult to do your best work and I certainly feel very at home here. It’s a positive, can-do atmosphere. People want to change things where they see a need, which then ignites a spark that motivates and unites. While we’ve got our challenges, it’s definitely a very stimulating, exciting environment in which to work.
What motivated you to join Delphi Technologies?
I was looking for a different type of challenge. In my last position at TRW Aftermarket, I was charged with merging the TRW and the ZF Aftermarket organizations into one, integrated business. Once complete, I found myself wanting something a bit more entrepreneurial, something established but open to new thinking, new approaches and new avenues of growth. I found that at Delphi Technologies.
Why should others consider a career at the company?
There is a real opportunity here to contribute and shape the future of not only the organization but the aftermarket itself. Do you want to make a difference? Do you want something that’s as equally challenging as it is rewarding? Do you want to work with great people that inspire you? If the answers here are “yes,” then Delphi Technologies is for you.
What are the growth opportunities you see for Delphi Technologies?
When looking forward, I think there’s going to be a rapid expansion of the market in China for our products over the next few years. Our job is to make sure we have the foundation in place to take advantage of that market growth when it happens. Training, tools and diagnostics are also critical to our overall proposition. Product is vital, but we also need to enable our customers to generate revenues through services. We’re in a fantastic position on this front. And, given the focus of our OE business, we’ve got a tremendous edge in the emerging technologies that will enable electric and autonomous vehicles. We’ll be able to offer our customers the products and the technical information they’ll need to service and maintain these vehicles as they enter the aftermarket.
You’ve got a varied background, but most of your career has been spent in the aftermarket. Why?
The aftermarket is a critical automotive segment, valued today at some $1 trillion, globally. From the manufacturers, distributors, retailers, dealers and shop owners to the technicians, it’s an incredible force. One that changes and always challenges. That’s just one of the reasons why I love this business.
You went to university to study English, but then went into business. Was that the plan?
Not exactly … but it couldn’t have worked out better. I went to university to study my favorite subject but never envisioned myself as a teacher. English was the course of study I most enjoyed in school, and I saw value in a degree in English given the training you get in how to analyze and process things. These abilities lead to a deeper understanding of more than just the subject you’re studying. You get a mental framework that allows you to think in certain ways, and in my case, how to construct compelling arguments, which I have found to be very useful in business.
What are some of the key lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?
Where do I start? There have been so many, but the one that stands out is not to be pushed into a certain direction by the prevailing winds. Try to take a step back and see what the issues are and decide if it’s something you should really be pursuing. Make sure you look at all angles and aspects. See the bigger picture. Weigh your options. Then act. Another is always be open to doing business in different ways. Be willing to learn from each person you engage with, their country, their culture and then apply that knowledge as you go. This will not only deepen your understanding of people but perhaps give you a competitive advantage.
You’ve accomplished a lot in your career. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy cycling. I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like to with traveling and work obligations, but it is a hobby of mine. I also had an olive farm in Italy and produce olive oil. It’s not as big of an activity of mine now, but I still have 100-plus trees. You know how they say everything in life teaches you something? Growing olives is one for me. I’ve found there are a lot of parallels between growing and harvesting olives, and driving collaboration. You can have the best equipment available, but you learn quickly, if you don’t have the best team that can collaborate and work together, you won’t succeed.
What’s next for you here at Delphi Technologies?
We launched our “Aftermarket 2020” program in 2018 to strengthen the foundations of the business so that it would support accelerated, profitable growth in the next decade. As we move into 2020, we still have some work to do to complete that initiative. At the same time, we have defined our strategies to deliver growth, and I’m looking forward to launching the activities that will make it happen when the time and market conditions are right.