LDC

Our people

5 mins with…Paula, IT Head of Trading, Operations & Customer Services

“The goal of every business transformation strategy is to add value to the company,” says Paula Freire, Global IT Head of Trading, Operations and Customer Services at Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC). “But we must never forget the company’s employees, and about adding value for them.”

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While Paula leads a team of IT specialists and business managers from around the world, her main role is to create a vision and direction that will facilitate and improve LDC’s core business. “The IT tools which we develop have to follow that vision, not the other way around.”

Paula is not an IT person, but makes sure that solutions are: “efficient, accessible, and offer the best service to people in the company. I focus on people, not machines.”

Paula grew up in Northern Spain, where she began her studies in Business Administration and Economics. While at university, she had the opportunity to join a program in Denmark.

“Up until then, I had only left the country two or three times,” she says. “But studying in Copenhagen opened up the whole world to me.”

In addition to the experience of meeting people from various backgrounds and cultures, the approach to education was also much more collaborative than what she had previously experienced. From then on, there was no going back: Paula went on to work in France, England and, most recently, Switzerland.

Messenger of the Gods

Today, the idea of learning by collaborating remains one of the most enjoyable parts of Paula’s job. And a legacy of her first overseas experience in Copenhagen.

“If you ask me what I would choose, going to the field and being in close contact with the people or to have a formal, classroom style learning experience, I will always choose the first option.”

At LDC, Paula joined the operations team, which handles, tracks and coordinates financial transactions by LDC’s Platforms, such as coffee and grains. This is where she learned a great deal about the business too. In her typically hands-on way.

“I visited assets, warehouses, and ports to see how and where our products are processed, stored and shipped. These visits connected all the dots I had only seen on paper.”

And it is “the connected dots” that inspired her to introduce IRIS. Named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the Gods, the system automated all communications and exchanges and consolidated shipments into a single database.

A product Paula talks about with a smile: “We managed to reduce encashment times by 2-4 days and pretty much eliminated any manual information exchange.”

And again, Paula repeats her mantra: “This system will save the company money, of course.”

“But you know, it really makes life simpler for the people involved. That’s very important.”


© 2018 Louis Dreyfus Company

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