Head of Global Business Development & Strategy
By Shereen Shabnam
Luca Cappuccitti is in an enviable position. His behind the scenes work as Business Development and Strategy for Design International takes him around the globe and he has become well known in the industry for successfully identifying and developing key partnerships with developers and leveraging strong relationships with existing clients.
In the past, referrals, repeat business and responding to RFPs used to be enough to sustain a firm’s growth but Luca is first to admit that business development is fundamentally changing. No industry has experienced more change than architecture and great skill is required in presenting the case why your firm should win engagements.
Luca however, is an ace in building his case and selling the value of the services of Design International in the face of steep competition leading to successful project implementations and repeat business. We meet with Luca to get some insights into his life and career.
Tell us a bit about what your role at Design International?
I am in charge of the Business Development department at executive level. “Global” means that I literally travel around the globe developing new relationships and maintaining existing ones with major clients. In terms of strategy, I study, define and manage medium and long term action plans analyzing markets trends and potential clients based on constantly changing geo-political scenarios, including strategic corporate partnerships. Since I also represent Design International in terms of international organizations, associations, institutions, local governments, exhibitions and conferences, I act like an ambassador for the firm.
Who are your current clients and what projects are you working on most?
We have many clients in different areas of the world. We are working extensively with Lulu Group in GCC and in India, delivering eight relevant state of the art projects. The first one will be completed is Silicon Oasis Mall in Dubai. Other major projects are in China with Ikea Centre Group, in Thailand with CPN, in South Korea with Taubman Asia and in Europe with Klepierre. Travel retail projects related to major airports and train stations are becoming more and more relevant in our current portfolio.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
After many years of being in this job, traveling still represents the most exciting part. Thanks to “local” friends all over the world I never feel like a stranger, a visitor or a tourist. Traveling and meeting different cultures translates into a never-ending learning/growing curve of experiences for life. This allows me to obtain news from the territory first hand from the local people and not from filtered media is priceless.
As you meet clients globally, what are some of the things you keep in mind culturally?
A common part is to develop the same level of respect, trust and, if possible, friendship with my peers and clients in the Middle East, Thailand, UK and Europe. Luckily all the countries we have a presence in have the same level of worth ethics and similar cultural sensitivities.
What type of strategies do you come up with for the firm?
I focus on new business for the company, Internal and external communications and client relations.
You travel extensively for your job – how do you balance your career and personal life?
I am blessed since often I end up working with true, genuine and respectful Friends, of course always maintaining highest professional levels. When you reach that stage where you do not feel you are working anymore and work is fully part of your life than I believe you have reached the highest level of achievement. And this is the main reason why my family always supported me. Of course, they love to travel and meeting family around the globe is something special.
What would be your advise to the fresh graduates looking to work in your field?
Passion and engagement are the keys. When you are really fully committed and most of all you love what you do, you respect and you are proud of your company and you have passion for your industry then you are successful. There is nothing more sad and frustrating than waking up in the morning, feeling tired or frustrated for what you are doing and waiting for your money at the end of the year. Very easy: “if you don’t like it, do not do it”.