César Knebel

Get to know your colleagues a little bit better. Our “questions for…” travels around the globe from one colleague to another. Every colleague will answer the same questions.

3 questions for…
César Knebel

Tell us about your work environment. What does it look like? And what are your responsibilities at Royal Smit & Zoon?

I’m working at Codyeco in Italy. Our environment is completely linked with supporting leather production for Shoe and Leather Goods in all its different specifications (different articles, different kind of hides and target markets). In Italy we are mostly used to work with very high ranked tanneries bellowing or producing to the most exclusive Luxury Brands based normally on very high quality of hides. In foreign countries it’s not always so, and there our value proposition is mostly linked with the high leather technical production problem solving capability, there our proposition is to help our customers to increase the value of their final products. It’s a wonderful environment if you like to be challenge every single day to solve something that is not working properly as it should be.

It’s a very special working environment that demands a very high speed on delivering a solution, but it’s not structured to deliver planning or clear forecast of their needs.

My responsibility as Managing Director, even not being a chemist or leather technical specialist, is to help my colleagues to coordinate customer needs with our company objectives, maximizing our results.

Royal Smit & Zoon is driven by a purpose. To make the leather value chain environmentally & socially sustainable. What is your purpose? What gives you energy in your job?

My purpose it’s clear: to help and guide Codyeco to continue growing at a healthy environment, where people can be enthusiastic about their company and their own professional satisfaction adding value to all stakeholders involved at our daily work.

The leather value chain is clearly a very traditional industry; resisting to speed up new technologies and changes, adapting to new regulations and lifestyle changes. We are part of a very traditional industry (millennial industry) that starts transforming animal hides in human clothes and working tools and nowadays is transforming a slaughterhouse byproduct in high aggregate value luxury goods.

My energy comes from the multi task job I’m in, as well as the daily challenges to keep pushing a constant business value growth. The value of our work is the value of the people we are working with, but people is the most challenge key to manage in a growing environment.

César Knebel
Managing Director Codyeco


At Royal Smit & Zoon, we love leather. What is your favorite leather item?

Another easier question please? 😉 Difficult question to answer, they are so many fortunately. Although its so difficult to me answer about a favorite leather item, I would select my leather shoes. There are many, obviously with vegetable leather soles to avoid ecstatic energy. They are comfortable, thermic and very healthy, I growh up with leather shoes and today I would not choose any other material as daily footwear.  But I could also select my nice leather sofa, or the aniline leathers seats of my oldtimer  car.

Despite my difficulty in selecting my prefer one, it’s very easy to tell the one I disliked most. It was a small (c. 30-40 cm) braided leather whip which kept hanging at our kitchen wall, during all my childhood !!! Fortunately some years later my son’s dog eat the leather whip completely, proving again that leather is always recyclable and reusable!

Who are you going to pass the baton to?

Leon Yuan

Back to globe stories