The president and founder of the Polish clothing company LPP, which includes the well-known brands Reserved, Mohito, House, Cropp, and Sinsay, is one of the most mysterious businessmen in Poland.
He travels to his workplace by bicycle and avoids attending public events. Marek Pechotski has been on the list of the richest Poles for years, although he believes this is wrong, as in 2018 he handed over his shares in the company to the private foundation “Semper Simul”. He then said that the foundation would be the guarantor of LPP’s assets and would aim to continue strengthening the company.
Pechotsky carefully guards his image and notes the Polish edition of Business Insider. He does not participate in congresses or gives interviews, and if he does, it is with the explicit stipulation that his photos will not be published. Thanks to this, he can, as he has said many times, enter a cafe without attracting attention.
Marek Pechotski began “building his empire” in the 1990s in Gdansk. I took advantage of the opportunity given to me by the market, he said in one of his rare media appearances in the latest podcast HR Changers, a series of meetings organized by the Polish human resources company Talent Place. The economic system changed in the 1990s. Poland went from a planned to a market economy and people were in desperate need of goods and services, Pechotsky recalls. Fate helped me, but I will say that I have to justify that another 30 million Poles had such an opportunity, but not all of them took advantage, he recalls the beginning.
In the interview, Marek Pechotski also opened the curtain on the company’s management. The LPP president acknowledges that the longest-serving employees can count on a reward in the form of a watch. We have such a tradition that those who have worked in the company for over 10 years receive a Tissot watch from me as a thank you for their hard work for the development of the company. The award ceremony takes place during dinner. We first donated such a watch in 2003, he recalls. With 25 years in the company, we also provide very elegant watches that employees can choose for themselves. We present them to everyone, not only to the executives but also to the lady who cleans the buildings, emphasizing the Polish billionaire.
There are 1000 people with 10 years of experience in the company, and several dozen with 25 years of experience. Sometimes I joke that we are one of the biggest importers of watches. Every year we distribute 150, says Pechotsky. He stressed that this was his idea and it has always come true, even during the worst crisis in 2009. Then LPP refuses to buy everything else, including newspapers, but not watches.
Open space instead of traditional offices
Pechotsky says he is a supporter of the “turquoise organization” of work (in which there is no clear leadership, but “coaching” and self-government), giving staff the opportunity and space for development. A successful company depends on many factors, but mainly on the people who create it, he said. All employers need to take care of the commitment of their employees, their minds, their conviction that they are doing something significant, and not just work from 08:00 to 16:00. I deeply believe that the success of LPP is because we bring together people who believe they can change the world and do something different. We give them space to express themselves and the company is where it is, not because of me, but because of them, he said.
The president of the Polish clothing company admits that he goes to work every day in the open, often changing departments to have a clear idea of what his employees need. According to him, it is very important to be close to people to know what they feel, what they do, what they want, and what their moods are, and it is not about control at all.
Promotion for everyone
In 2020, during the pandemic, the company’s board of directors waived their salaries, and managers reduced their salaries by 20 percent so that LPP could cope with the difficulties. In December 2021, for the first time in its history, the company increased the salaries of all employees by 10 percent due to inflation, and managers – by 20 percent to compensate them for previous “victims” on behalf of the company. We have good results, the company is doing well, why not give it to people? Half a year ago, they helped us, Pechotsky commented.
Successful 2021, uncertain 2002
LPP 2021 can be considered a success. In the third quarter of the financial year 2021/2022, the revenues of the Polish clothing manufacturer increased by 60 percent on an annual basis. However, this year begins with problems for LP due to the war in Ukraine, notes the Polish “Business Insider”. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the company announced that it was closing its stores in Ukraine and relocating its headquarters from Kyiv to Lviv. LP has nearly 140 retail outlets in Ukraine. A few days later, she announced that she was suspending her activities in Russia as well.
The company’s management, taking into account the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU, decided to suspend its operations in Russia, including stopping the development of LPP brands in the country and the supply of goods. These steps will be taken consistently given operational constraints, the company said. LPP has 500 stores in Russia, and since 2012 a distribution center has been operating in Moscow.