Fil Filipov is the president of Terex Lifting, which is part of the Terex Corporation with a capital of $ 1 billion. Filipov has factories in 15 countries, incl. Germany, China, Mexico, France and Bulgaria. One of his recent investments is the purchase in 2017 of the French metallurgical plant TIM, which was declared liquidated, but Filipov saved nearly 500 jobs, and currently TIM’s main customer is the American giant in heavy construction equipment Caterpillar. Despite his success in the Western corporate world, Fil Filipov is not very well known in Bulgaria, but is among the few Bulgarians who have reached the top of the corporate hierarchy in the United States.
He was born in Strelcha. At the age of 17 he flees from Bulgaria, goes through a refugee camp in Greece, then immigrates to the United States. His career goes from the lowest step as a worker to the top of the management, true to the motto: “Take control! Take the risk! Achieve success.” In 1966, Fil Filipov started working as a sweeper in the International Harvestar Lifting Company. Gradually he rose and in 1979 was sent to the company’s office in Paris. 10 years later he left and started his own business - he buys companies in a bad state and revives them with brutal discipline. His specialty is the revival of losing enterprises. He has worked successfully in France, the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States, using untraditional and original approaches. He recovered 49 enterprises and one of the latter was Atlas in Germany, which later became the owner of the Tatra Motor Company (Czech Republic).
We present to you the most memorable quotes from an improvised interview, which Fil Filipov gave, answering the questions of BIA’s President Radosvet Radev.
“Bulgarians have been changing for 30 years. Many Bulgarians are quick learners. The joy of the Bulgarian business is that we, here in Eastern Europe, are beginning to pay attention to what they are doing in the west, and as the Japanese did in the postwar years, it is impressive that many of our companies and managers are performing quite well in the west. But there are people in Bulgaria who are still in the past. We need to copy a little more from the Germans and the Japanese - we lack the discipline and the nuance of quality. We are not permanent neither in discipline nor in quality.”
“I’ve always said, “If you want to be loved, get yourself a dog!”. I do not want people to love me, I go where something needs to be saved. But I do not think I’m hated either. I am respected. Nobody can hate me, while seeing that I want the best for their company. And salvation is in the one that can cut deep enough, even cut 15 times if needed, because it hurts.”
“I call myself “doctor of sick companies” because no one wants them. I never search and never compete for buying companies - companies come to me to buy them. I’m not a human doctor, I’m a veterinarian. When taking on a firm, it doesn’t tell me where it hurts - like a dog that does not tell you where it hurts. I am a dog doctor - I come, look, read and know where their pain is.”
On what is the most important thing for good management: “The manager’s personal example. The manager must be the first in the factory if he wants to have discipline. I'm going to work at 5.30-6.00. No one has died from working. There is no other way.”