Leadership Interview with Paul De Cock - President of MFNA

Preview of Focus On Leadership article in February issue of Floor Focus magazine

Chattanooga, TN, January 22, 2019--Forty-five-year-old Belgium native Paul De Cock was named president of Mohawk Flooring North America in November. Kemp Harr interviewed De Cock to gather insight on leadership style and business philosophy. The full interview will appear in the February issue of Floor Focus. Below is a brief excerpt.

Q: How has your career prepared you for your new role as president of the Mohawk Flooring North American (MFNA) segment?

A: I worked in finance; I built manufacturing plants, oversaw big capital projects and ran sales and marketing for different divisions of the company. I’ve run different business units. I have been involved in acquiring companies and integrating those companies. If you look collectively at those accomplishments, I think they are good preparation for this role because I’m going to do similar things here. 

Q: Belgium flooring companies have always had an entrepreneurial flair. How do you intend to put that mindset to work in a MFNA with over $4 billion in sales and 18,000 employees? 

A: I believe in getting things done, keeping it simple and delivering on the customer promise. I value efficiency, effectiveness, clear organization and clear accountability. And, I like to have fun while doing it. These are business principles that I live by and want to implement in the Mohawk Flooring North America business.    

Q: The American flooring business has been heavily influenced by leaders with Belgium roots: Carl Bouckaert, founder of Beaulieu of America; Filip Balcaen, former CEO of Balta and founder of IVC; Piet Dossche, founder of U.S. Floors; and now you. What is it about the Flemish heritage that has driven these men to make such a difference from a leadership perspective?

A: My family’s background was in the flax business in the ‘50s and ‘60s in Flanders, a region of Belgium. Flax was used in particle board, and so a lot of the flax entrepreneurs ultimately became flooring entrepreneurs. You could say the Flanders region is very similar to Dalton, Georgia. It’s not a coincidence that Bouckeart, Balcaen, Dossche and I are all originally from that region. You could compare it to the Lorberbaum and Shaw families in Dalton. The only difference is that we were in a very small country, and, in order to survive, we had to be export-driven and very much exposed to the international markets, while the Lorberbaum and Shaw families could serve a big domestic market. This explains why the Belgians always came to America and not the opposite flow.

See the February issue to read the complete article.


Related Topics:Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Mohawk Industries, Beaulieu International Group