After becoming a publicly traded company in 2009, U.S.-based infant food company Mead Johnson Nutrition decided to move its European headquarters from Paris (home of its former parent company) to Amsterdam.
“These days, the bar on the international orientation of organizations is set extremely high,” explained Catherine Fitzsimons, Mead Johnson’s European General Manager. “For a coordination center like this one, which directs all marketing and distribution activities throughout Europe and the Middle East and does all financial planning for the other European offices, flexibility is key.”
The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area delivers this, plus a talented pool of international and multilingual employees. “Effective management of such a large and diverse area requires that you have multilingual people who are sensitive to the idiosyncrasies of introducing what is undeniably an extremely loaded product in different regions so as to have the best chance of success,” said Fitzsimons.
An important consideration in the move to Amsterdam was the production and development facility that Mead Johnson built in Nijmegen in the 1980’s. “There we have a 230-strong production team situated in the heart of the Dutch dairy cluster,” said Fitzsimons. “The Netherlands has a rich dairy history, and that has contributed to the development of a strong knowledge infrastructure.”
Further tipping the balance was the fact that access to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol means that the rest of Europe and the world are only a few hours away. Plus, housing and accommodation costs are low compared to the international average.
“For me personally, it was the degree of transparency that clinched it,” said Fitzsimons. “Here, you have a cosmopolitan metropolitan region that nevertheless has compassable networks. And if you’re an enthusiastic theatre-goer and love the countryside like I do, this is an ideal place to be. Even more so than Paris!”