Growing From Australia to Singapore - my 25-year journey at ZEISS
Being in the organisation for 25 years, Greg describes his journey from being an Accounts Clerk fresh from graduation, all the way to his current role as the Chief Financial Officer for ZEISS Southeast Asia. He recounts his experience of leaving Australia to take on bigger responsibilities in Singapore – and why he has enjoyed every bit of it.
What drew you to join ZEISS originally? And how has the company changed since?
I joined ZEISS in 1993 working in the Australian organisation. To be honest, the economy was struggling and businesses were not hiring, so it was by chance that I secured a junior position as an Accounts Clerk at ZEISS. Over the 25 years, I have held different positions with a finance function and across different countries. I have been a part of a growing and leading emerging technology organisation which has moved from being German-centric to a truly diverse, global and dynamic company.
Can you run us through your role? What’s the best part about it?
As Chief Financial Officer of Southeast Asia, my role is to partner with the CEO to ensure that our short and long term goals are met. In doing this, it’s key to work together with all of the division heads to look for opportunities, and to also minimise risk to the company. By thinking “digital” and ensuring systems and processes are working both efficiently and effectively, I also focus on leading and empowering regional and culturally diverse teams to ensure they have a strong business acumen to perform with high results.
The best part of my job is seeing that I can add value to individuals across the region through either a business transaction or more personally, by giving advice or being a role model. Furthermore, the feeling of satisfaction when I share knowledge from my years of experience working at ZEISS is also rewarding.
Being with ZEISS for 25 years now, what are the biggest challenges you face in your work? How do you overcome them?
Working in Southeast Asia, a region of 10 markets with the majority being rapidly emerging economies – can be volatile where growth can get inconsistent due to market conditions, political issues, foreign exchanges, to name a few. To stay on top of the many factors affecting our growth strategy can be challenging and it is key to have the right talents across the region. The right people can be groomed to be focused on monitoring local market conditions and attaining market information at fast speeds.
What is your proudest moment at ZEISS?
My proudest moment was when I took the opportunity to expand my ZEISS career by moving to Singapore in 2010 to take on the role of CFO. I had never imagined working abroad. To move my family overseas to start a new life outside of Australia was a big career move, but an even bigger risk. The references and endorsement from my senior colleagues across the ZEISS organisation to support me in being chosen for the CFO role was great recognition and affirmation.
What motivates you to make our customers successful?
Customer success does not only happen from the frontline. The back office also plays a key role to ensure processes are in place, because if we don’t have this working at a consistent level, there will be an impact eventually to the customer. The trust we lose from a customer is always hard to get back. Continuously improving the support and service offered to our customers by having up-to-date information, using modern IT infrastructure and ERP solutions, a highly proficient back office support team will differentiate ZEISS from its competitors.