Laurent De Schrevel is currently active as a Finance Manager with an international trading company. This assignment is an extension of his previous positions and offers him the opportunity to make use of his versatile talent. With more than three decades of experience with companies like KPMG, Belgacom, Mediafin, and Bpost we asked Laurent which qualities are indispensable for an interim manager and why he loves working with 3W.
From the Big Four to the largest telecom player.
Laurent’s career started in 1984 when he started working for KPMG after his commercial engineer studies at the Solvay Brussels School. Back then, some fifty people worked there, which you can’t compare to the scale those companies operate in today. In the early nineties, he made the transition to Belgacom, then led by Bessel Kok and, later, by John Goossens.“The company was in full transition, causing many employees with civil servant status to drop out and make way for ambitious managers such as Laurent. “It was a case of tabula rasa: suddenly, more initiative was expected, certainly from directors. I saw the opportunities and quickly became Finance Director of a department with 600 employees that was part of a larger business unit of 5.000. My department was roughly a hundred times larger than the team I headed at KPMG.” But during his tenure at Belgacom Laurent also learned things that shaped him. “Always take those people you work for into account. It sounds self-evident but is still forgotten far too often. For whom do you put together a plan? Who will see your presentation? Who do you want to call into action and what are your expectations of them? Next to good preparation, this is crucial to me.”
Time for something else.
Different from Belgacom, his assignment at Mediafin was less defined. His tasks as Financial Director there were more general. For example, Laurent was also responsible for matters of HR.“Mediafin was with the newspapers De Tijd en L’Echo a high profile enterprise but had the structure of an SME. In contrast to Belgacom, there wasn’t a specialist available for every question. I was much more a generalist there and learned that other than methodology common sense and experience are decisive.” He supervised a fusion and restructuring there, with a Renault procedure being implemented, among others. This job too was characterized by permanent change, which served Laurent well in later assignments.
Today: the perfect interim manager.
His good relationship with 3W is a natural outgrowth of his generalist approach. “They are not small-minded specialists; they look beyond just the factual, what everyone can see on a CV. Taking into account the human aspect, they succeed in offering me interesting assignments that suit me and in which I can exhibit my talent to the fullest.” In Laurent’s opinion, you must be made of the right stuff for interim management. Of course, you can’t have any fear of change, since many companies today are in transition and expect of a finance manager to safeguard short-term results, but also to set up guideposts for the future. “What helps me in this, is my position as an external manager. I arrive without any baggage from the past and with no political agenda. Because I don’t pose any threat in so far as competing for internal positions, I am trusted sooner. I am free from prejudice and succeed in getting the most out of the people.”
It is that combination of experience, structured thinking and working, common sense and human insight that make Laurent De Schrevel a successful and versatile interim manager. In short, the What – Who – Why philosophy which he finds with 3W.