Managing Director Siamäk Naghian

It was the job interview Siamäk Naghian would never forget. In 2004, Siamäk, D. Sc. (Tech.), was working for Nokia. He applied for the position of R&D Director at Genelec, since he had for a long time wished to find a job near to the home of his wife and in-laws. He had grown up surrounded by nature in Iran, so the lakes and forests of Savo felt familiar. He had been watching for job advertisements in the area, and his deep connection to the arts and to music in particular sparked his interest in Genelec, itself an excellent example of the combination of culture and technology.

“I had never experienced such an atmosphere within a technology company,” he recalls. “We discussed people and culture. The quiet, bearded man sat opposite me regarded me thoughtfully. I expected him to ask difficult questions but he asked me nothing – he merely listened carefully. Finally, I asked if there was something he would like to ask me, and the man with the beard replied ‘no’. I was amazed.”

Siamäk Naghian’s first encounter with Ilpo Martikainen continued with a trip to the Genelec auditorium, where Martikainen offered his guest a unique listening experience. The two men quickly settled into a passionate conversation about music and the art of listening.

“I thought to myself, this is my home – I was sure I would find myself working in this wonderful place. There was an immediate and deep relationship.”

Ilpo Martikainen became an irreplaceably important friend to Siamäk Naghian, as well as a profoundly influential mentor. Today, Naghian describes how something fundamental was lost when he left his home and family, and how Ilpo managed to fill that gap. “When you leave your family and your homeland, you build a new identity within the process of adapting to your new reality. This is why the people you meet on your journey are important.”

During that unforgettable job interview, Naghian wondered whether the culturally aware people of Genelec understood the world of business at all. But he soon came to recognise Ilpo’s extraordinary precision and attention to detail, while Ritva, Genelec’s longserving financial manager, knew the story behind every number, and Topi exhibited a depth and versatility of technical ability that was without comparison. Each corner of the triangle supported the others, and the result was a kind of civilised harmony that, to Naghian, felt like perfectly balanced music.

The team presented quite the interesting contradiction, possessing both a profound cultural awareness and economic wisdom. Both sides were of equal importance in the founding and development of Genelec.

“To have a strong personality and sense of self, this is the most important thing for a leader,” asserts Naghian. “Then he or she can lead by example, contribute to the team and handle big decisions.”

He adds: “As Ilpo once said, the Genelec brand hasn’t been built, it has evolved based on its values. The value of the brand is many times bigger than the turnover. This company is beautiful. I am happy and deeply grateful that I can contribute to the world in a way that I feel is important.”