“My motivation is to find and develop new talents, create excellent teams and implement new ways of doing things, being the trendsetter in risk management and consultancy to help the customers protect and mitigate business risk and continuity. ” – interview with Vladimír John, our new Head of strategic partnership & business development in the Czech Republic.
Could you tell us a bit more about your new position at GrECo? What will be the main area of your focus?
John: My role is rather strategic, I am responsible for the future development of the company in terms of quality, effectiveness and speed of services provided to our customers and partners. I am directly responsible for the RIT department including strategic partnerships with insurers and on top of that also for the development of the service model and products for Erste group in Czech Republic. It is a mix of important and related issues and I am to use all of my 19 years of experience in the insurance industry to help Radovan and Petr with the post-merging process and new strategy implementation. I am grateful to both and GrECo’s top management for such a big trust.
What made you choose to become a part of the GrECo in the first place?
John: GrECo has been always one of the most traditional and respected companies in the local as well as the international market. My first personal experience was connected with Mr. Voharcik many years ago. From 2004 till 2011 I respected GrECo as a serious competitor while I was working for another broker company. Between 2012 and 2023 we cooperated as partners due to my GENERALI and UNIQA roles. In 2022 I realized the changes in TOP management and new focus and strategy roles including Czechia and Slovakia, I was in a good relationship with Jonathan Höh, and we met in Vienna with Georg Winter and Ante Banovac and it supported my good feelings about GrECo. The appointment of Radovan Škultéty as country manager was a strong signal that the company has a high ambition. Once we started the discussions about possible cooperation, I felt very comfortable and I had a good impression from every meeting. In choosing the future employer, there are crucial following key elements for my consideration:
From this perspective, GrECo was logically the no. 1 choice.
Which challenges do you expect in your new role?
John: I see more challenges, anyway my ambition is to be a good colleague and a team member. It goes hand in hand with the new setup and strategy implementation. So leadership skills will be necessary to convince all colleagues about changes. We have to be very clear and transparent in our explanation of challenges, opportunities and expected outcomes. I say when people will not buy it we can do whatever but no results will come. It is our company and our joint future and I strongly believe in our future success. Without people acting as one team we will not succeed. Besides this, I consider the biggest challenge new business issues, and strategic cooperation with Erste both in a relation.
What do you like about the insurance and risk management industry, and what keeps you motivated?
John: In my opinion, for success, it is necessary to have a mix of passion and madness. Especially in Czech Republic insurance industry is not the most popular domain. On the other hand, new generations, new mindsets, new energy and new skills are permanently disrupting traditional business models and companies and I am happy about it. My motivation is to find and develop new talents, create excellent teams and implement new ways of doing things, being the trendsetter in risk management and consultancy to help the customers protect and mitigate business risk and continuity. I never thought that at the current age of 42, I would belong to insurance seniors, anyway next year I will celebrate 20 years in the insurance industry and It will be a pleasure to do it in GrECo’s jersey and with GrECo colleagues.
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself outside of work? How do you like to spend your free time?
John: I am a father, sportsman, traveller and student in one. I enjoy the family time with my fast-growing teenagers, Maxmilian (14) and Sofie (11) especially snorkelling in the sea and skiing in the Alps. I like tennis, football, cycling, hiking and still playing the floorball league so it requires regular training and gym also. Travelling is one of my biggest passions, ideally in my job and on vacation with family. I used to travel around European countries but I have also visited some exotic ones like UAE, Oman etc. During my university study, I lived a few months in the UK and I am still in love with England and Scotland due to its history, traditions and landscape. Since 2022 I have been studying for an MBA programme focussed on executive leadership, and my goal is to graduate in 2024. So despite my natural laziness, I have to read books, learn and write my dissertation so it is a bit challenging to balance everything but so far so good. I believe in permanent education and development to be able to adapt to a changing world.
Head of strategic partnership & business development
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