Man at the top 16 talking heads WHAT'S NewS Issue 6 June 1996 For International's Hans Megens the move from industry to banking has meant a radical change not only in career terms. Until he joined the bank just over a year ago, much of his free time was spent in voluntary work in local government, in social welfare and in the arts. 'But,' he says, 'what the move also meant was an opportunity to discover another art form - banking.' Megens admits to a passion for the arts. In his office are a couple of pieces of applied art he bought from local artists when he-was on the board of the Groningen city museum. '1 gave up museum work when I joined the bank. But by then we'd actually acquired quite a lot of pieces - graphics, paintings and so forth. When you do this kind of voluntary work, you get to know artists in the region and you do what you can to support them. On the other hand, you don't take on a board position for a museum unless you're interested. I also really love African art. I discovered it in the early 1970s and though I've never been to Africa, I read about it and discuss it whenever I get the chance. For me, it's really esthetically pleasing.' Not surprisingly then, the arts are a part of the Megens' fantily life. His wife, Fenneken, was a stage actress and is now involved in a non-profit, cooperative art gallery founded by artists in Groningen. She also works for the deaf by making speaking books.' The Megens only daughter, Antoinette, will soon be starting in her first year at the Arnhem Art Academy where she will be studying fashion design. He sees a 'creative' homebase as a real advantage for anyone working in business. You should have other activities, interests, you enjoy,' he believes. 'I think it's useful to have other input in your thinking, in your mindset. It inspires you to think about business in other ways. So, even though I'm travelling a lot more than before, I still try to get to a museum or a gallery as often as 1 can to look at new work, meet with people who are doing very different things.' Hans Megens believes this kind of input is helping him adapt to a new profession. It's incredibly frustrating not to know everything about banking,' he says. 'I hate the fact that I can't yet give an account manager the level of support he or she needs in coming up with creative solutions for clients. I'm an experienced manager and entrepreneur, but I'm not a banker experienced in this particular art form, or at least I'm not that yet. I spend a lot of my free time acquiring the tools and skills you need in banking. Colleagues are a great help in this sense. You can learn a lot by listening to them. What I find extremely useful is the feedback I get from people in the bank. And I'm encouraged by the fact they say that I contribute a more entrepreneurial approach to working with clients.' But he also believes that 'managing' in banking is essentially different from managing in industry. 'Bankers are more deal-driven,' he says. 'And banking is more abstract, more intellectual than industry. In industry, you're actually involved in manufacturing a tangible product. You can see it, smell it, feel it. My colleagues in the bank teil me they see a difference in the way I approach clients. I'm more interested in their market, strategy, competition, how they're tackling research and development. Some bankers look at other things - balance sheet and profit and loss accounts. But I hope I'm learning very quickly. What I'd like to achieve is an integration of both approaches - the entrepreneurial experience with the banking know-how.' This process will take time. Megens is an entrepreneur through and through. His father Hans Megens - banking is more abstract than industry. owned a chain of furniture stores in the central Netherlands. 'There are six ^1 children in the family, so my parents built up six stores, one for each of us,' he says. 'They were disappointed when I decided not to go into the family business. To this day, my mother doesn't see being an employee as being a "real" challenge. Real work means working for yourself.' In fact, Megens did just that when he was in his early twenties. 'I'd started university where I was quite a popular student mainly because I was the only guy with a car,' he laughs. 'Okay, it was only an old Fiat 500, hut it was still a car. At some point I had to drop out for financial reasons. So I started up an antiques business. That worked well for a while, but I wasn't really getting anywhere.' Getting somewhere led him to Akzo, where he ended up in the business development department, and later to Vredestein and Avebe. 'While I was at Akzo, I finished my studies in the evenings at the universities of Rotterdam and Groningen. I did economics and it was quite tough to combine the two. At the same time, I was already active in local government and a lot of other areas, like the arts.' Megens believes his life-long involvement with voluntary work is a direct result of his boarding-school education. 'The overriding concept at school was that if you have talents, you shouldn't just use them for yourself, but also for the community. And by being involved in all these different areas, I think I've corne to a management style that is perhaps best described as controlled anarchy. It attempts to combine the entrepreneurial spririt of people, their initiative, their know-how, their ambition, their motivation. What a manager has to do is coordinate as much as necessary, but not too much. As I see it, that is h<^| we've built our international business at Rabobank. And that's how I'd like to see it develop in the future.'

Rabobank Bronnenarchief

blad 'What's news' (EN) | 1996 | | pagina 16