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May 27, 2017

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Going fast on digital highway

Speed will separate winners from losers in the internet age, says Honeywell's CEO-in-waiting

Sitting in front of a room-sized aerospace simulator for pilots, Darius Adamczyk, president and chief operating officer of Honeywell, deftly shifts from topic to topic-including in his animated discussion such diverse topics as aerospace, to the group's new line of the breathable masks that help protect people during the high pollution days in China.

The wide range of his interests reflects the extraordinary range of businesses of the $40 billion technology and manufacturing giant, from aerospace to control technologies for buildings, homes and turbochargers, to performance materials.

But Adamczyk, 50, who is to be the new CEO from the end of March next year, is pushing for even more changes in his group-determined to take the company to even higher levels of involvement in the digital age.

On his recent trips to China, he talked to his Chinese teams about how the multinational would gain more growth from blending its strengths in hardware with stronger presences in software in the digital age and how to encourage them to create new ideas as startups rather than in an established industrial conglomerate.

He believes the place to achieve such "breakthroughs" is in China, its second largest market after the United States. Adamczyk is clear about how committed Honeywell is to the country-with its major presence, 13,000 employees and diversified businesses in manufacturing and research and development, serving both the Chinese market and international markets.

Honeywell wants to be viewed as a local player, acting at the brisk performance levels achieved by many domestic companies, he said.

"When I think about China, I can't think of a company that's more aligned to the needs of where the country is heading," said Adamczyk, citing the key areas of energy conservation, energy solutions, clean air and water, smart buildings, chemicals and work safety.

Recently he spoke with China Daily about the company's strategy and business opportunities in China. The following is the edited excerpts from the interview.

What are your strategies for the company in the long term?

No 1 is to continue to provide superior value to our customers and No 2 is to drive digitalization throughout Honeywell. We have a strong presence in software. But we have more opportunities to drive it. And all aspects of our business and strategies of software are very customer-centric.

Lastly I want to make sure that we operate in segments that are exciting and growing, and well aligned with mega trends.

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