and very successful commercial imparts, this Bank blends international experience with local customer ties and familiarity with the Polish market and this may produce fabulous outcomes.
In your opinion, what kind of bank will BGŻ BNP Paribas be in 10 years?
That primarily hinges on the strategy the Bank adopts. I am not familiar with it, so I can merely say what I would like it to be. I would like for it to become one of the leading banks in Poland while retaining its special role in local communities and securing a very strong position in large cities. Merging these two brands and tapping into them skillfully may produce very robust results. Here one should always remember that people are always the ones who shape the face of financial institutions, so who heads up a firm and how it is managed are of consequence. Naturally, shareholders exert an impact, albeit primarily on strategic matters while on a day to day basis the employees and management board determine how the bank is per- ceived and drive customer loyalty and satisfaction.
What sort of atypical and humorous situations do you recall from the time when you were CEO of BGŻ?
I remember the first convention we organized in 2005 just after the Bank s privatization in Rajgród. We had brought together roughly 500 managers from across the country. I delivered a fiery talk on our new strategy. Afterward, during dinner Harry de Roo, a Supervisory Board member took the floor. In his efforts to illustrate what significance the strategy has for the Bank s development, he first donned the suit coat of his colleague who wore a much smaller size and then he put on his own suit coat, which was com- fortable and appropriately larger. He did this very pictorially and humorously and this sparked a large round of applause from the persons in attendance.
I also remember the presentation of our subsequent strategy immediately following the IPO in 2011. The air conditioning in the room was shot and it was 35 degrees Celsius. When I finished my keynote address I was as wet as if I had just stepped out of the water in a totally wet shirt.
To summarize, I remember the years I spent in Bank BGŻ as being a magnificent time. It was an interesting period, ripe with challenges and difficult goals to face and achieve. One can say that this period contained a host of varying events starting with the remedial plan we had to submit in 2002 to the Banking Supervision Authority, followed by prepa- rations for privatization, privatization itself, restructuring, rebranding and building new branches.
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