JCU Welcomes Alumnus Daryush Arabnia, President and CEO of Geico Taikisha
The JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship welcomed Daryush Arabnia, President, CEO, and Chairman of Geico Taikisha, for a talk called “Becoming a Global Industry Leader through Strategic Intent” on October 7, 2021. Arabnia is a JCU alumnus who graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He became head of Geico Taikisha in June 2020 after his father Ali Reza Arabnia, JCU alumnus and trustee, announced his departure from the position. Geico is a family-owned business that specializes in the development and design of automated paint shops for the automobile industry.
In the lecture aimed at seniors in the Strategic Management class (MGT 498), Arabnia revealed how his company uses moments of crisis as an opportunity for development and improvement. He mentioned the negative economic period of the early 2000s for the automotive industry, that led the family in 2005 to buy back 100% of shares from the Comau company since they could not accept the disappearance of their business. From there, Geico shifted the strategy from a low-cost approach to high-value creation, using innovation as the means to create such value. Arabnia’s company was able to overcome the 2008 financial crisis due to its previous knowledge on what to do in times of need. One of Geico’s continuous objectives has been to be a company that creates value and can survive crises. Arabnia indicated that for good crisis management, it is important to always find new objectives and goals even if the market is prospering.
Geico’s attentiveness to its customers allows it to create new projects like the Pardis Project, which led to the Energy Independence Day on June 16, 2020, the first energy self-sufficient paint shop in the world, which reduces 70% of energy consumption, or its alliance with Taikisha in 2011. The value the company is based on, according to Arabnia, comes from innovation and creativity, which is directly aimed at customers and the automobile industry. The company also pays close attention to the value of human capital and the working environment. Arabnia acknowledged that Geico focused a large portion of investments on its “working culture,” leading employees to be passionate about their jobs and creating a better environment within the company. As Arabnia put it, “Companies are made out of people, and people need to socialize. They act best when they feel comfortable with the people working around them.”
Arabnia concluded by stressing the importance of preparing the transition to new company leadership, especially in family-owned businesses. Geico knows that every upcoming generation should know what to do in a moment of crisis and pay close attention to the moment of passage, with the help of the previous generation. “A key element for a company’s survival is the message from one generation to the next,” Arabnia said.