Georg Winter, who has been a member of the executive board of GrECo International Holding AG for almost 10 years, has been appointed CEO this year. In the following interview, Winter offers some insights into his vision for GrECo. Interview was originally published in Lockton Global Partners Magazine.
How did you come across the insurance industry?
Winter: After I had concluded my Master in Industrial Engineering I gained a few years’ experience in the industry. In 2004 I started as a risk engineer for a major global insurance broker. In more than five years I had the chance to survey many production facilities, learning about operational risk management as well understanding the key elements and risks of various industries.
When I look back at the beginning of my career, I am very happy now that I started as a risk engineer. Because “risk” is the topic that is getting more and more important in the insurance industry. Managing them requires much more than traditional methods of risk management.
GrECo has made a great development in the last years and on top acquired MAI, another major broker in CEE, last year. How will you move on together?
Winter: I already had the chance to meet many MAI colleagues in different countries within the last months, they are great people. I think that our two cultures are quite similar, it is a good fit. So, building on two strong and similar cultures means that we are getting even stronger – Stronger Together!
Regarding our knowledge and experience we also complement each other. MAI has a long history and strong capabilities in servicing international clients as well as an excellent Health & Benefits team. GrECo on the other hand is also strong with local clients and focusses on dedicated industries –our specialty approach.
As CEO you are responsible for the future course of GrECo. What are your plans in these uncertain times?
Winter: It is indeed a difficult and challenging situation that raises many most pressing questions. We need to discuss them, their impact on the transformation of the risk landscape as well as possible solution scenarios. It is based on our vision to detect the impact of these changes at an early stage and introduce risk management solutions that boost our clients’ resilience.
Another pillar of our strategy is specialisation. We need to speak the language of our clients in order to look into the risks and challenges of them in more detail. This is the only way to provide them with progressive and tailored solutions for their sustainable future.
Speaking of sustainability, this is also a major topic for our future as well for our client base. It is my profound belief that we need to change our way of doing business in order to leave behind a livable earth to the next generation.
How do you attract people of this next generation to work for GrECo?
Winter: I think that GrECo is a great place for great people. We have the right size and as a family company everybody has the chance to work entrepreneurial and bring in ideas. We also developed a sophisticated internal learning & development programme within the GrECo Academy in the last two years. We know that lifelong learning is a major factor for this generation.
We are working on many more projects to increase our employee proposition, from hybrid working to employee wellbeing offers as well as diversity & inclusion, environmental performance and social commitment. All this together will build the strong employer brand GrECo.
Who is Georg Winter in private?
Winter: I am happily married and live in Vienna, a wonderful city in the heart of Europe. As often as possible I try to do sports such as swimming, hiking and skiing (as Austrian this is kind of a must). During my studies I even worked as a voluntary fire fighter!
I am also interested in private life in innovative ideas and projects that transform our world, i.e. sustainability on all levels. I think that each private individual can do his or her part to improve our world. When I find some time you can also find me in the kitchen with a cooking apron preparing fine Viennese pastries.
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