“The Nova Paint Club, like the stars after which it’s named, exploded onto the international paint scene in 1983 – bringing together nine independent companies who were inspired to share new ideas and give themselves a bigger footprint in the global market,” said Stephen Falder, secretary general of the Nova Paint Club. “Its original president, the late Michel Brasse of Ripolin-Duco, saw the huge potential benefits of working in collaboration with other companies who weren’t competing in the same countries and so could freely share their technical knowledge and experience. “
Although the group, which is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Switzerland, has evolved significantly in the past 31 years, its core principles remain the same. The Nova Paint Club is entering a new era under secretary general Stephen Falder, who has replaced Peter Lovell in the role after over 20 years.
Lovell’s time at the helm saw a major transformation in the group – expanding its membership around the globe and becoming more ambitious in the kind of alliances that were forged. Raw material suppliers and other key vendors were involved for the first time. And the group began investigating joint research programs, benchmarking exercises, marketing initiatives and other projects to help the members compete more efficiently and profitably on the world stage.
There’s a certain serendipity to Falder’s arrival as secretary general of Nova. Ever since, aged seven, he donned a resin sack to protect his school uniform and ventured into the family paint factory, he’s been fascinated by the industry and its potential. That family firm, HMG Paints, under the stewardship of Stephen and his brother John, has grown to be UK’s largest private industrial paint company. The Falders also founded the Little Greene high-end decorative paint brand to broaden the company’s reach.
Although the heritage is undeniable, it would be wrong to categorize Falder as a pure paint man. He also founded Byotrol PLC, a small biotech company, which floated on AIM in 2005. And he spent eight years as chairman of Proskills – a skills funding body for eclectic process industries. Alongside his new role at Nova, he still chairs the family companies and advises fast-growing technology companies as a non-executive director.
Falder’s expertise isn’t simply in running innovative companies. He’s learned over many years the value of cooperation – working with groups of businesses to devise new and better ways of providing training and ensuring safety. And here lies his central theme for Nova in the future. The group is based on principles of openness, cooperation and sharing and Falder is committed to using the latest technology to make this process simpler and more rewarding for all members of the group.
At the heart of this drive for better cooperation is the Nova Clubhouse – a virtual environment where members can share ideas and new initiatives. Introduced by Lovell, the Clubhouse is Nova’s key tool for improving information sharing, taking full advantage of the opportunities offered through network connectivity. With members as far afield as Israel, India and Argentina, the ability to build virtual teams and create a real collective impact for suppliers means the Nova Paint Club of 2014 has become a genuine global presence. Perhaps even Michel Brasse would have struggled to imagine quite how bright his original star would be shining in the 21st century.
Throughout its history, Nova members have been recognized for their commitment to innovation and sustainability. Falder is determined to make ecological and environmental responsibility a major priority of his tenure. From sharing best practice in energy and water savings within over 70 Nova member plants worldwide, to developing coatings that can cut pollution, energy use and waste, the Nova Paint Club is marking itself out as a beacon for responsible industry.
So, as the Nova Paint Club looks to a new future, Falder is focusing on sustaining the original vision of the group – enthusiasm, commitment and passion for smarter, more advanced and successful cooperation. As he says, “In Nova, the human chemistry is more important than the paint chemistry!”
For more information on the Noval Paint Club go to www.novapaint.org.