F15 Graduate

Bob Den Hartog

Born in the Netherlands Bob has spent the majority of his life abroad having worked and studied in 9 countries incl. 14 years in Thailand & the Philippines. This background in Asia has led Bob to his role now after the F15 programme in Hong Kong SAR where he is currently Director of Procurement in Asia and the Middle East.

When and how did you join Arla and what is your position now? 
I joined Arla Foods in 2015 and have since had the opportunity to work in some of our most exciting business units. My first rotation was in our Business Development team in Dubai which saw me exploring the potential of Arla Foods entering Iran after the lifting of sanctions and running the business case for a local production set-up in Egypt. After this I got the chance to work in our Corporate Strategy Execution Office in our Viby HQ working with strategy projects such as our European White Milk and our Digital strategies. To complement these strategic roles the F15 program presented me with the chance to return ‘home’ to Asia within our sales team in China for the final rotation handling some of our key accounts such as Walmart, METRO and TESCO; and I stayed in this role after. After 2.5 year in Beijing I received the fantastic opportunity to join Supply Chain and run our Asia and Middle East procurement teams in Hong Kong. Now I work with my teams in Hong Kong and Bahrain to manage our suppliers and keep Arla Foods competitive into the future!

How has the F15® programme helped you to grow your career? 
I’ve always known that I enjoy working with strategy, sales and being a bit ambidextrous. The F15 programme has presented me with the amazing opportunities to make impact where our company needs it most, but in a way that clearly aligned with my own ambitions. Not only has the programme put me into roles which someone at my age or experience arguably would not be in; but having the 3 rotations means my stakeholder network within Arla Foods is broad which is a great plus in getting things done. I don’t believe I would have been fortunate enough to be in the position I am today without the experience and opportunities the F15 graduate programme has provided me.

What has been your biggest challenge so far? 
Definitely recruiting a new customer in China – never had I ever had to learn everything from contract negotiation to shipping incoterms to product specifications & documentation so fast. With many setbacks, and lots of learnings, with the support from my team and our diary we launched this customer in record time; a big personal and Arla win! 

What’s your next step? 
With a relatively large untapped potential of bringing in more competitive Asian suppliers into Arla Foods’ supplier base and the tremendous growth of our Bahrain business over the next 2-3 years I still have much to focus on in my current role. But after that who knows what’s next? I did not expect to be in procurement 2 years ago but here I am & I’m loving it!

Exciting opportunities

F15® Graduate Programme

As an F15 Graduate you are expected to become one of Arla's future leaders and help shape our business moving forward. The F15® Graduate Programme is a fast-track leadership programme that includes three different eight-month rotations.

Learn more
Video from the Assessment Centre for F15 Graduates at Arla
Being a Future15 at Arla Foods