As the new Executive Vice President of C-MAP, Max Cecchini faced a unique challenge joining Navico just as Italy went into full lockdown.
How were your first few weeks in the role?
It was certainly an interesting time to be joining. I started exactly one week after the Massa site shut as a precautionary measure, and it would be more than 10 weeks before I was able to go to the office.
However, I was very impressed with how quickly Navico adapted to working remotely. It seemed everybody was fluent with Teams and Zoom. In the ‘old world’ I would have had to wait until I could travel, but instead, meetings were immediately scheduled over Teams. In some ways COVID-19 actually accelerated the speed with which I could really get to grips with the business.
There must have been some challenges too?
I think, like most people I speak to, at times it feels like we’re living in a simulation, as everything is over video or phone call. There is something special about the human touch, exchanging ideas and talking face-to-face, so I look forward to more time in the office and with colleagues – but the way that the business has adapted is quite special.
What was your knowledge of the marine industry before joining Navico, and what drew you to this position, leading C-MAP?
I’m a complete outsider in that sense, however I’ve always had a fascination with boats, and admired superyachts. I am a “want to be” boater, and will be getting my licence very soon.
I spent several years in consulting, spending 8-12 weeks learning, analysing, planning and then walking away, onto the next project. I love the logic of it and this experience gave me a great toolkit, but it always felt a little like doing the easy bit and then walking away. I moved from the world of consultancy to a position which let me “get my hands dirty” and into execution mode.
In C-MAP I saw a great team with an extraordinary wealth of knowledge. For me it was unusual to see a team which has so many years’ experience and to have so many members of staff who have been with the company for 10 or even 20 years. There’s a lot of determination there and a passion to make C-MAP the very best in the market.
Have there been any surprises?
The complexity of the product range. Understanding the structure of the product offering, the different technologies and naming conventions – that took some time to fully understand. If I put myself in the shoes of a prospective customer, that complexity can be intimidating and confusing – which is why I’m pushing to simplify and streamline our offering.
What do you think is C-MAP’s greatest strength?
Our people and their resilience. C-MAP has had quite an ownership journey since it was founded in 1985, and I think it’s fair to say it is time for a reawakening. Now that C-MAP is part of Navico, and one of the four key brands, it feels as though C-MAP has found the right home; there is a very positive energy and we have some truly exciting plans for the future.
What does the future hold?
Looking to the future for Navico and our customers, we can have the best hardware in the world – and I think that we do – but a lot of the experience is down to what’s happening on the screen, and cartography is a significant part of that.
We have a significant responsibility, in C-MAP, to ensure that the overall experience for customers is the best it can be. We are working to elevate our cartography, to the point where it becomes an influence on what MFD consumers are choosing to buy, and we’re hearing feedback that, with Reveal and PCHD, this is already happening.
It’s going to be hard work, but it’s going to be exciting!