23 November 2023  |  Interviews

“The best thing about being in the energy industry is that we have a real impact on people’s everyday lives!”

At the beginning of November, we welcomed our new Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, André Cardoso, to Mabanaft. Together with the teams in our Commercial Road Transport, Energy Distribution and Aviation, Marine & Wholesale divisions he will work on growing our end-customer business. To find out what his plans are, we sat down with him for an interview.

André, why did you decide to join Mabanaft?

Mabanaft faces the same issues as the entire industry – a transformation away from transactional business towards partnerships, towards being the right partner for our customers in the energy transition opportunity. The company holds a front row seat in this journey, and I want to be part of it.

In addition, Mabanaft is at a very interesting time of evolution as a group. When I first met with Mabanaft CEO Jon Perkins and he shared the growth and transformational journey that Mabanaft is in the middle of, I was immediately intrigued. To integrate the company further and to focus on growing end-customer access in “hard to electrify” sectors, felt so straight forward to me and the absolute right thing to do. Thus, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse when I was given the opportunity to help Mabanaft on this journey.

Furthermore, on a more personal level, I also wanted to test myself when it comes to working in new markets. I have worked in a lot of different markets across Europe, but actually never in Germany or the UK. So, in addition to getting to work with the teams to grow our end-customer business, I am very much looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and getting to know new cultures.

You will be responsible for the customer facing part of the Mabanaft Group, what does customer care/customer centricity mean to you?

For me, Customer care is very much about listening to the customers and trying to understand and anticipate their needs. It is not just about selling products, but rather about being advisors/consultants to our customers helping them find the right energy solutions.

Furthermore, it is about putting the customers at the centre of everything that we do and about thinking long-term. A deal is not done when the product is delivered or the payment is received, we need to show our customers that we are there for them in the long run – it is all about nurturing relationships that last for a long time.

It is also fundamental to elevate our customer knowledge to a strategic level, in order to help them navigate the challenge of the energy transition. Details like understanding what our customers are designing as their approach to decarbonise their business is a fundamental question that we need to be ready to provide the answer to.

You said it, the energy transition; what growth opportunities do you see for Mabanaft?

There are huge opportunities in the energy transition. The whole energy industry is at a turning point, where mandates are turning into regulations when it comes to using more sustainable fuels. We have more and more countries regulating the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and we have the inclusion of maritime emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), just to mention two examples.

And let’s face it, conventional fossil fuels will not lose their power as fuels overnight. On the contrary, we see growing demand in commercial road transport, especially in the area of heavy goods transport and long-distance haulage. By growing our end-customer access points in this area for example, we can not only deliver conventional fuels to more customers, but there is also a transition opportunity as these sectors are hard to electrify, i.e. we will see stable and still high demand for liquid fuels today (diesel), during transition (e.g. HVO) and also “tomorrow” (e.g. H2, eFuels). This is where Mabanaft can really add value to the customers, helping them navigate the energy transition by leveraging our core strengths of sourcing, storing, handling and distributing liquid fuels.

Among all those opportunities, what are your immediate priorities, say for the first 100 days?

That’s fairly easy to answer – I have three immediate priorities; firstly, I want to get to know the team; secondly, we need to start strategizing and planning, and last but definitely not least, it is time to deliver on those plans.

What learnings from your career so far are you bringing with you to Mabanaft?

Nobody has all the answers; in a team and in a company, you need to rely on each other to find the answers together. By working closely together, by trying to help each other and trying to understand each other, the best results are achieved. It also means that each of us must step up, be proactive and show accountability.

In addition, my previous jobs have taught me to navigate in uncertain markets and situations, which I think will be helpful also going forward, as the energy markets look set to remain volatile.

So, what are you first impressions of Mabanaft?

I have only positive impressions! From what I have seen so far, it is a dynamic, well organised company with strongly motivated people. Mabanaft has a strong legacy, and I am impressed by the efforts to respect and honour that legacy while at the same time taking an active part in shaping the energy transition.

On a personal level, what was it that attracted you to the energy industry in the first place?

To be honest, at first it was actually not the industry itself, but more a desire to try something new after 10 years in the software industry. I got the opportunity to join Galp, and I quickly discovered what a fantastic industry it is. When I was at Microsoft, I thought that the software industry had the biggest impact on people’s lives, but I was wrong, it’s the energy industry! Energy is directly connected to human evolution – for good and bad. There are not many things functioning without energy, even the software industry needs energy… That insight really ignited my passion and kept me here and now I can say that the best thing about being in this industry is that we have a real impact on people’s everyday lives.


Thank you very much for your time.

André Cardoso © Mabanaft GmbH & Co. KG