Career, News

Meet our new CFO in the Nordics

Meet Manu Verjans, who was promoted Nordic CFO this summer 2021.

What are you looking forward to mostly in your new position?
“I clearly look forward to being responsible for the entire Finance department. I have worked in the company as Deputy CFO for 6 years, hence this role is very familiar to me. But my new position enables me to leave my mark and work the way, I find most appropriate.

And then I find it very exciting to become directly involved in the strategy of our company. To contribute to the strategy, together with my management colleagues, and in coordination with our parent group in France, is a new exciting topic on my agenda.”

What are your ambitions for the Finance department, and what will be your first move?
“My ambition is to build a fully Nordic Finance department. We have been working across the Nordic countries for several years already, however on some areas we have worked in more country specific teams. This is my first move and it has already been put into action. A new Deputy CFO has joined us, and we have begun implementing the new Nordic setup for Finance.

Next step will be an alignment and harmonisation of our processes, budget models etc. The objective is to achieve synergies, be able to work more efficiently, and secure a sound work/life balance for everyone.”

What are the main qualities of a CFO?
“A CFO is highly involved in both traditional finance and reporting, as well as, an interactive part of the business. Previously Finance was more or less a synonym for accounting. Today Finance is more than anything a business partner.
If you as a CFO perceive yourself as a finance person, I think you have the wrong focus. The role of a CFO is very wide. You need to understand the business, the entire organisation and act as a connector between the different departments.

When it comes to leadership I think it is important to show empathy. We are hard-working people, and people are different. We have different interests and different ambitions, and I believe it is important to know your employees well to understand them as individuals, who they are as people and what motivates them.”

Which are the primary advantages and struggles, being Belgian living in Denmark?
“I have been living in Denmark for so long, so honestly I almost feel more Danish than Belgian and there is very little cultural barrier between myself and Danes. Nevertheless, being Belgian is an advantage in the sense that Belgian culture is not that distant to French culture. Therefore it may be easier for me to understand the French way of working compared to my Danish colleagues.”

What do you think will be your primary challenge?
“Two topics come to my mind. Firstly, that we transform the Finance department into being fully Nordic. It is the right choice, and it is going to be great, but we need to find the best way to maneuver.

Secondly, we have a number of strategic projects, which I look forward to. However, I acknowledge that it is challenging to balance projects with everyday business, and it is my responsibility to secure that everyone in Finance remains satisfied and continues to find it attractive to work here.”

What are the primary benefits working in BNP Paribas Personal Finance?
“Is simply great to be part of a large international group, which support us in terms of expertise and financial security. At the same time I enjoy that we locally have a relatively small organisation, where we are familiar with each other. The combination of those two parameters is perfect, in my opinion.”

What energises you?
“It is very important to me to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body. Privately, I enjoy an active lifestyle and sports. At work I try to avoid getting stuck in routines. I keep my mind open for new ideas and opportunities.”