What has been your career path in the Group?
15 years ago, I had my second baby. I had sort of a break in my career at this time. One day, a recruiter from Richemont called me to ask if I wanted to try out a position in their APAC region. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was ready to continue my career but nevertheless, I ended up saying yes. I wanted to try, as the position sounded extremely interesting!
When I joined the company, APAC was only a tenth of what the turnover is in the market today. I joined as the Regional FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis) Director in Hong Kong. At that time, we only had about 20 FP&As across the region... Now we have almost 80! Over these past years, the team has completely evolved.
Because of the expansion of the business including the development of China and the South Asia region, I started to build FP&A teams in the market. I lead the overall FP&A function from the centre, and I developed a sizeable team in the region.
Over the years, I’ve been part of a lot of different projects. We had new Maisons integrated, new markets developed, SAP implementation, finance process automation and we launched e-commerce.
About 4 years ago, I was appointed Regional Finance Director & Deputy to APAC CFO. The scope of my role and the complexity of the region have made my job very interesting. That’s what has made it a very eventful journey. I believe this is the reason why I’m still at Richemont 15 years after my first day in the Group!
What have you learned during your journey?
Throughout my career journey at Richemont, I learned how to be a people manager. Richemont truly values its people, and this lies within the DNA of the Group. To its core, Richemont is a people company, and you can feel that from the very first encounter with the Group. Learning how to be a people manager has been important for me, as it’s essential to develop high-performing teams in the organisation.
How have you changed?
One of Richemont's core values is empathy and I have learned to be a more empathetic leader. I learned to understand from a team’s perspective and to see the challenge from their side. I learnt how important it is to keep an eye on their career aspirations and to always help your team members achieve their career goals. I also learned to be an empathetic colleague in a wider community. To see from other’s angles in work interactions and to understand other team’s challenges and difficulties. This is essential to achieve the company goal together. If I could say one word about how I’ve changed, it would be empathy.
What impressed you or surprised you the most?
I’m impressed by how much Richemont values their people. I benefitted a lot from getting the opportunity to try out new things and always be exposed to new challenges. Richemont let their people learn from their mistakes, which is one of the reasons why I see a lot of loyalty in this company. Richemont gives you room to push your boundaries and progress beyond your own expectations.
How have you impacted the Group?
Richemont has given me a lot of autonomy to create new things and push my own boundaries. As a result, I’ve been fortunate enough to impact a lot of changes and come with new inputs. One example is that I’ve changed the structure of the traditional FP&A team. It used to be very flat with controllers organised by Maisons. I created a new structure separating the Finance Planning from the Controlling work. It is now more transversal, and synergies can be created in the teams. As the region expands in, both volume and complexity, efficiency is key for the scalability of the organisation. With the new structure, harmonisation and automation of reporting are made possible to refocus the teams’ effort in high value-added activities.
From a people perspective, I’ve promoted a lot of mobility. Quite a lot of my colleagues from APAC has taken up senior positions in Richemont & Maisons HQs. I’m very proud of the team I’ve worked with throughout my career.
What is your favourite Richemont memory?
Some years ago, we had a regional finance conference, which was supposed to take place in Macau on a Monday. On Friday, only two days before, a typhoon was approaching and the hotel, where we had planned to do the conference, had problems with flooding. So, we realised we couldn’t host the conference in Macau on Monday. We had the option to cancel the conference, but we didn’t want to. So, we sat down as a team, changed our mindset and in two days shifted the location from Macau to Hong Kong. We rebooked another hotel, we contacted the market team members to change their visas, we changed people’s flights... We managed to change everything within 2 days! We were super proud that we managed to do so.
It’s a great memory, as it truly showed how motivated of a team we are. We worked together and reached our goal. It was almost a miracle! At the same time, I believe this memory really shows the agility and reactiveness of the team.
What are wise words you live by?
One word that I always have in mind and often reminds myself of is ‘courage’. I believe it takes a lot of courage to be the best version of yourself. Not only is courage needed when you push your own boundaries, courage is also needed when you need to admit that you are vulnerable in certain areas. It’s also important to have the courage to admit that there are things, you are not the best at and learn to grow out of them! With humility, you can go beyond. Courage is essential to do so.