More than 20 years in the commodity trading industry, during which he held various senior management positions. He was a key contributor to the leadership of BNP Paribas in Energy and Commodities for many years and has been several years Global Head of Business Development and Board member for Mercuria. Today Guillaume is a special advisor to the Mauritius Commercial Bank to expand their footprint in the African Energy & Commodity financing space. He shares with us his experience.
#1/ What is the best time you can remember in your career?
Strangely enough, it was the day in April 2011 when I handed in my notice at BNP Paribas, even though at that time everyone else thought I had lost my mind. It freed me up and, even though my next career move was a far cry from my – rather naive –expectations, it allowed me to sit back and change my attitude towards work, performance and my life expectations more generally.
#2/ If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
Be and remain yourself. Don’t fall into the ever-widening trap of feeling you have to conform to corporate attitudes and behaviours, or gimmicks like that. Corporates – however big or small – can destroy talent as quickly as they build it.
#3/ What do you dislike most?
Arrogance and ignorance are the two things I hate most, and when combined make for a disastrous cocktail. Faceless bureaucracy, which seems to be on the rise, comes a close third.
#4/ What do you enjoy the most in your day-to-day job?
That it is no longer a day-to-day job!
#5/ If you had to do it again, would you choose the same career path?
Overall, I consider myself extremely lucky to have witnessed the commodities boom and some bust, particularly having been on the front line of the transformation of this industry, which before the commodities super cycle and financialization was mostly home to very mediocre characters.
However, the challenge for the next generations is huge. There is so much to be done in and around the energy transition, where human capital is badly needed.
While the financial returns may not sound as rewarding as those on offer in the world of trading, I hope that being part of this adventure would bring many other types of satisfaction to those who dare take the plunge.
#6/ Where is your favourite place on earth and why?
The places where I am least able to feel the passage of time and development.
Fortunately, there are still many around: Provence, Portugal, Italy, Geneva’s Old Town and the Swiss Alps, to name but a few.
#7/ How would you describe your relationship with Ampersand World?
Joker 😉 Great team, great spirit, shame we don’t do more together!