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My name is Adi Ofek. I am the CEO of our Mercedes-Benz Tech Hub in Tel Aviv. I joined Daimler almost 19 years ago – employee number 1, when we set up Daimler Financial Services in Israel.
My first position at Daimler was being the Head of Credit & Risk Management for Daimler Financial Services Israel. At the end of 2007 I moved with my family to Singapore, where I served as Director of Credit Operations for Region Africa and Asia Pacific in our Regional headquarters in Singapore. I spent 6 years in Singapore and at the beginning of 2014 moved to Korea as CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea. At the end of 2016 I moved back home with my two kids – Roy and Maya (I was very excited!) to set up our Tech Hub in Tel Aviv.
My “Israeli” kids had been never educated in Israel. For me it was returning home, for them it was another new and unknown station in their lives. In many ways, coming back home was a defining moment for all of us. For the kids – learning what it is like to be Israeli, in an Israeli education system. For me – moving to R&D (Research and Development) for the first time in my life.
Here at the Mercedes Benz Tech Center in Tel Aviv we focus on Digital, Connected Vehicle and Mobility services. At our site, we have software and electronics experts, together with analysts and big data experts, developing new digital architectures for car and other areas.
Creating from nothing is everything here. At the core of our culture is the ability to take a challenge and find a solution for it. We like to look at things differently, to ask questions, and do whatever it takes to get to the target. We are all about creating, innovating and loving what we do.
One of the things that really surprised me (I guess I forgot that) – was how fast Israelis get into your heart. My dream from the beginning was to build a strong team of people that like spending time together, a top performance team. A team with only one focus – making a great impact on our CASE performance through great work. It takes time to make such a dream come true… but today … I feel at home when I come to this office. My team feels like a family to me, and I think they feel the same towards one another. This is a very special feeling.
Israel is a country where you can find many people who are looking for the next big idea. There is a unique combination between leading universities, people with experience from their military service, and abundance of curious people, striving to find solutions to big problems, through brainstorming and network. For me, it is definitely one of the most exciting places to work in.
The Israeli eco-system includes over 500 startups working in the smart mobility ecosystem, covering all areas of our CASE strategy. We have a talent pool, specializing in many technological fields, playing in the global talent pool market.
Setting up the Israeli site was a unique and challenging experience. It was a pure start-up like innovation. I had returned to Israel after many years in Asia and quickly needed to gather a local team of talented people. Among the various challenges, were designing and building a local office, deep diving into the world of automotive technology and creating a network of connections.
It demanded a lot of creativity and hard work, but was totally worth it. Our formal inauguration ceremony took place in the middle of November 2017, in the presence of our former CEO Dieter Zetsche and his successor Ola Källenius. We were so honored to have the privilege of having them with us on this very special occasion.
Over the past year, we had many delegations from Germany who came to visit us in Tel Aviv. I find it fascinating to see the opportunities of collaboration between different cultures. Each bringing its own perspectives and strengths. With the diverse combination, we can create stronger and better teams.
I am in Germany approximately every 2 weeks. I think that a good combination between remote work and onsite work with the engineers in Germany is important for our success. When I am in Israel – I focus on spending time with the team. Making sure we have the right focus for the right topics, I meet Startups and key players in our Ecosystem, to ensure we have a good view of what is happening outside.
One of the best experiences I had here in Israel was when I invited my team home for BBQ. We had a great time. Then my son told me: “Mom… it looks like your team really enjoys spending time together. It is like each one of them have their own color, but together, you guys make such a beautiful rainbow of colors”.
On our CFO’s birthday, my daughter decided to make – on her own initiative – a birthday video for her. The photos she collected had so many smiles from so many special moment. At the end of the day, this is what really counts.
I am proud of the impact the team is already making with their contribution for our company – but the sky is not the limit, and there is so much more we can accomplish together.