Podcast Accelerator Today – guest Albert Davidoglu, CEO Macromex: “They say history is written by winners. Probably a good deal of history is somehow filtered, tainted or affected by how winners interpreted the outcome. And art gives you the opportunity to learn to look at things from a different angle. It challenges you to see things in a different way.”

October 25, 2023

Listen to thies episode here and to the others here.

„They say history is written by winners. Probably a good deal of history is somehow filtered, tainted or affected by how winners interpreted the outcome. And art gives you the opportunity to learn to look at things from a different angle. It challenges you to see things in a different way.


Albert Davidoglu has been CEO of Macromex since November 2019. He joined Macromex’s management team in 2012, in the role of Business Development Director, and took over as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2017. Macromex is the undisputed leader in the food industry in the frozen and chilled segment in Romania, owner of the brands Edenia, La Strada, Corso, Food & Glory and Azuris. This year, the company celebrates 30 years since it has ben founded.

Andrei Breahnă: Today I am talking to a dear friend of the Gaep Gallery, Albert Davidoglu, CEO of a company that I think is absolutely fantastic, namely Macromex, a company whose brands you have surely heard about, because you find them everywhere. Thank you, Albert, for accepting the invitation. Firstly, would you share with us a few things about yourself and how you got in touch with art?

Albert Davidoglu: Thank you for the invitation, Andrei. This is the first time I am doing a podcast like this, related to art. In general, the talks are business-oriented and they are rather formal. A few things about me. I am 48 years old, married and I have with two children. I have been in the business world for over 24 years. I got into a business of doing accounting for various companies. Then I had a regular evolution in a multinational company, where I learned a lot about structure, leadership, processes. Then, somewhere around 2012, I wanted to try something else and I joined Macromex. This year, we celebrate 30 years of being in business. And here I am, out of those 30 years, I have been there for 11 years. It is a very interesting arena, where I have experimented a lot, developed, applied, learned from mistakes, reinvented myself and moved forward every time.


Andrei Breahnă: In the last ten years and especially after the pandemic we have witnessed profound changes in society and transformations of the economy. How does a company like Macromex and you, as its leader, navigate through this complexity? How do you manage change and transformation?

Albert Davidoglu: I think the process of personal development is very important, it is an extremely important stage. If you don’t know yourself, you don’t know how to manage other things. To be a good leader, you have to know yourself first. The way you see things is very much about the experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve done and the things you’ve learned. A businessman should to live a lot of experiences, should understand, learn from mistakes and all of it will make him/her whole. Obviously, the economic context we live in has to be filtered, because there are a lot of things we can call “noise” and they are not really important. This belief stems very much from the maturity that each of us has in business, from the experiences we’ve been through, from the models we’ve defined. Because a lot of what’s happening now to us had happened before 5, 7, 10, 20 years ago.

I remember that early in my career I had an English boss. He was over 60 years old, and had travelled to many countries, seen many things. In every country the same things happened. And every time he heard us mention a problem, he smiled because he knew what was going to happen. He knew the answer and he smiled because he was watching us striving to find the best solution. That is when I actually understood that things repeat, that there are patterns, at least in the business environment, that you repeat over and over again. And if you are wise to create a “trial and error” box – what works and what doesn’t work – you can devise a compass and you can define what works for your business going forward.

Andrei Breahnă: In our project, we tried to infuse the thinking and attitude of artists with an entrepreneurial flavor, and we were saying that unfortunately in art – because they don’t even teach you in university about how to manage yourself as an artist – a lot of artists, I noticed, have a slightly naive perspective even on the fact that if you’re an artist and you do what you’re supposed to do – automatically things will happen and you’ll be able to finance your living out of your practice. Do you think, because we have also started to do activities together on the educational area, do you think that art can play a role, through its messages, in this process of change and organizational transformation?


Albert Davidoglu: You asked me how I got into art? I think it was a natural process. At some point, you bump into things when looking for answers to different questions. Searching for answers, I stumbled upon art and after that, I met people who make art, artists. The moment you see things, understand messages and learn a different way thinking – a different midset, I believe that is the most important thing you can gain. We’re all exposed to the same information, but some companies do it better than others. In general, in life, people have access to the same information and some succeed and others don’t. It depends on how we define success, it’s true. Success is for those who see things differently. And if you see things differently, you already start thinking differently. They say history is written by winners. Probably a good deal of history is somehow filtered, tainted or affected by how winners interpreted the outcome. And art gives you the opportunity to learn to look at things from a different angle. It challenges you to see things in a different way.


Andrei Breahnă: There are so few financing opportunities for culture, and I would even say for visual arts in particular, because visual arts have always been as a sort of “poor sister” in the cultural industries. We can easily relate to the West, where there are great museums and private foundations and projects built, sometimes in areas that have no apparent connection to arts. At the same time, it is said, at least about contemporary art, that we are in a bubble, sometimes even too elitist, and this is what I strive, through cultural mediation, to bring art closer to the public. How do you think we can solve this very important hurdle in the development of art, which is a matter of perception? Why is art perceived as an elite activity?

Albert Davidoglu: I think it comes very much from our history, because probably 50 years of communism affected the way we see things. Art was rather erased, it was ignored, it was oppressed. And now we have to rewrite what has been erased for 50 years and it is going to take a very long time. But, that can be solved when we get involved. If we want to give something back to the society we live in, we have to support art and I believe art helps us to see change our perspective. Any form of art. Let’s not see art as something that is necessarily of the elites, but rather of some people who are misunderstood.

When you see a good piece of art, it belongs there. It feels good, there’s a sense of pleasure that you see it, that you have it, that it’s there.  You feel that, too, when you go to a good museum. The energy that the place instils is very important. Good and well-displayed art attracts a lot of good energy. That’s also related to motivation in the organisation and making an office, a workplace, more beautiful and with positive energy. Art can enrich that place and I believe this is its mission. And then it is interpreted differently, in a much broader context. It’s also important to see the economic context from which it comes, and when you know the artist and the environment in which it was created, you actually become aware of its true value.

Andrei Breahnă: Ten years ago, on a trip to America, on Route 66, I saw something that struck me at the time – the fact that there were art museums in many cities. America is by far the largest art market in the world, now accounting for over 45% of transactions, both in volume and value. I’ve noticed that there really is this culture of patronage. You can see this even in museums that are run by the state. Every room has a plaque or label which signals that particular collection which has been donated for the public benefit by people – private actors. What remains is the vision that through art you can leave something behind and change societies. You brought art into your organization and we did a number of activities together, I would ask you what was the feedback of your colleagues. How was art received in your organization?

Albert Davidoglu: It has been received very well. I remember when we first met, I said that I wanted to bring art into the organization as a way of understanding, perceiving things differently. Colleagues appreciated the workshops very much. Many of them then went on to galleries and places where they could apply what they had learned. I think we are at the beginning of the road; we still have a lot to learn in this field. But, as I said, the experiences we go through define us and we discover certain elements that we need, because we, as individuals, are constantly discovering ourselves and we need to be constantly in touch with all the things that surround us, so that we understand who we are, what we want and how we want to do things. A leadership team, if they don’t understand or see things differently, will not be able to lead an organization. We, as leaders of the organization, need to give a certain signal. I think that’s what makes us unique, because otherwise, if we read a book and applied a few simple principles, I think we would be nothing but “copy-paste” of other people before us.


Andrei Breahnă: Here is something that should, in my opinion, be written in management courses, but at the same time, organizations are also the image and, in fact, the sum of the people who work there, the sum of the management team members and it reflects all these values. 

Albert Davidoglu: I want to say two more things. You asked me who Albert is? Albert is a person who is striving to change things around him for the better in everything he does, progressing, so that things don’t stay the way they – are because “it’s good as it is” doesn’t work at all. And the second message I want to say is this: I believe art connects us to our origins. We sell food – I’ve found that culinary art, when you take it back to its origins and try to connect your origins, the place, the land where that food comes from with that restaurant, you can create a really unique menu. Art takes us right back to the same place; it brings us much closer to the origins and tries to extract some values from there. That is why we have to look at them every time, to remember and to be able to connect with things. And if you look at the best restaurants in the world, they do that. They connect the origins with the menu, so they create something unique. That is why there are Michelin or gourmet restaurants in this world that manage to make something special out of those dishes.

Andrei Breahnă: Here is a very direct link between art and a field that seems improbably related to art, but which nevertheless uses the word art in its DNA in the purest and most fundamental way. Once again, thank you for being here, and I look forward to seeing you on the occasion of the next episode of Accelerator Today very soon, with people of art, but also beyond art.