An engineer by training, Alireza Danai began his career at the LVMH Group with the purchasing department of Maison Parfums Christian Dior. He acquired a range of skills that allowed him to take up positions as Production Manager and then Commercial Manager before being promoted to his current position as Regional Manager Middle East & Africa at Benefit Cosmetics.
“After graduating from the Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble engineering school I decided to focus on the first steps of the value chain in a business. For four years I was a Packaging Logistics Manager in the consumer goods industry, giving me a chance to learn about procurement processes and costs. This has given me a solid understanding of the importance of an effective purchasing strategy.
In 2001 I joined Parfums Christian Dior Maison as Purchasing Manager. I had two main responsibilities, starting with in-sourcing of product manufacturing. Internally, I worked with our marketing team to identify the products concerned, as well as with the production teams to adapt our workshops. And externally, I worked with our former suppliers to better understand the production processes and the cost structure to anticipate the impact on our workshops. The project proved successful and we were able to optimize the availability of our product ranges while at the same time achieving significant cost reductions. This was followed by a second assignment aiming at optimizing the procurement cost of our subsidiaries and distributors. This in turn required an in-depth analysis of the value chain, covering actions on different elements such as customs duties, types of transport, packaging options…
These two projects really show the diversity of the purchasing function, which goes way beyond simply negotiating prices with suppliers. To achieve the desired value creation you have to take into account the entire ecosystem of partners and our global organization. This has led me to cultivate good skills in terms of listening, understanding needs and mediating, all indispensable to the management responsibilities I would soon be taking up.
Building on this experience I continued my career in areas related to purchasing, as Head of Customer Service and then Head of Production, and finally working in commercial positions outside France. In 2018 I joined Benefit Cosmetics as Regional Manager Middle East & Africa. The objective of this position is to develop the brand. This means building effective teams in every area and creating special relationships with distributors and retailers. The listening skills needed to understand our partners’ objectives are very similar to those needed when I was working with suppliers when I was in purchasing.
The assets I’ve acquired and my entrepreneurial drive help me every day. There’s no doubt that purchasing is great training for future responsibilities.”