Man at the top m 24 talking heads What'S NewS Issue 1 January 1996 In our series on 'the person behind' the job title, we ask CBS's management chairman and international chief what he does in his rare spare time. In many ways, D.J.M.G. Baron van Slingelandt is a very private man. The long days he puts into the bank six days a week are directed at achieving the growth and well-being of CBS in general and the international division in particular. Although he travels less often for the bank than he used to, he is still away from home a lot and, perhaps surprisingly, still enjoys leisure travel with his family during holidays. 'There are some places in this world with a rare natural beauty,' he says, 'and I've been fortunate enough to see some of them. The tea plantations in the interior of Indonesia spring immediately to mind, and of course the coastal area near Rio de Janeiro where we lived when I worked for RSV in Brazil. There's a region of 1,000 islands there which is spectacular.' While he does not sail, Van Slingelandt has had a life-time relationship with boats. 'I mean big boats,' he says. 'My father was in shipbuilding and we lived in Rotterdam when I was a boy. There was a time when I knew the arrival and departure times of all the traffic in the port. To this day, I'm still fascinated by big ships.' It may have been his love of ships that prompted the idea for a sailing club during his university days in Groningen where he studied economics. Laughing, he recalls how he got together with a group of friends and set up the club. 'We didn't actually have a boat, but the water-side bar we started did a roaring trade. So I spent all the free time I had during my studies waiting tables and running the "business". It was a lot of fun.' holland updatey- VISION '96 The bank's now traditional forecasts on international economie developments for the coming year was presented to the media on December 7. Dutch economics minister Wijers received the first copy of the consise overview. A similar presentation will be made to Rabobank Belgium's clients on January 18. SECTOR INNOVATION Holland and France have the most innovative financial sectors in Europe according to the London-consultancy company Datamonitor. Insurers received the biggest accolade for their highly-developed application of direct writing. AA FOR ABN-AMRO S&P's have upgraded ABN-Amro from AA- to AA. As a result, Moody's says the Netherlands has reinforced its position as the strongest banking country in the world. The credit rating agency added that Dutch banks were the most sound and reliable worldwide. ING IN NORTH KOREA A joint-venture with the Korean Foreign Insurance Company was launched by ING in the North-Korean capital, Pyongyang, on December 5. It is the first foreign bank to set up operations there. Focus will be trade finance, international payments traffic and project finance. Other fun things are gardening - 'I just do the rough stuff, my wife takes care of the creative side' - tennis with friends and skiing. He doesn't play golf because 'I think you have to be relatively egoistic to be a golfer - it's a time consuming sport. And my work means I already spend enough time away from my family. Even when he is talking about fun things, work remains an inherent part of his conversation. 'I can't help that,' he grins, 'it has always been a major part of my life. You know, many people think I came from industry. But actually I began my career in banking - financing shipbuilders for the National Investment Bank in The Hague. Then I was offered a job in shipping itself. Everyone said I was superbly crazy to give up a nice career in banking to move to a company, RSV, that was on the verge of bankruptcy. And at the time, this industry was being dismantled here in Holland. But when you're young, you've got something to prove. This was my opportunity. I had a great boss there and we worked day and night. It was fun and we managed to keep the company alive for another seven years. In the end, it failed. But we knew everything had been done that could have been done and no bank or creditor lost a penny. An experience like that teaches you a lot about the value of money and about how people react to losing situations. It makes you harder, because most people run instead of fight. It's always a shame to see something fall apart, especially when a lot of people have worked hard to build it. And though it's a fact of life, it's never fun - absolutely not.' Van Slingelandt found a very different challenge when he arrived at the bank in 1989. His task was to expand international activities from a relatively small number of offices to a real global network. 'When I joined the bank, I said I wanted to stay in position as head of international for a serious period of time. Banks tend to move people around every two or three years. But, at that pace, you never learn from your own mistakes. The executive board took me quite literally at my word, and I think rightly so. I keep on going at my own pace with the Central Banking Sector and I have to admit, it's a lot of fun.'

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'What's news' (EN) | 1996 | | pagina 24