After 7 years spent in the maritime industry in Paris and London, Hugo has joined Wilhelmsen. Now General manager of the Geneva Branch he’s focused at supporting the growth of the company especially on the ship agency side. His previous experience in shipping allowed him to build an extensive business network. He is one of those person who truly enjoy the Geneva business atmosphere, who has always a positive mind-set and proved to be highly efficient.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
I think the highlight of my career so far is the day I switched jobs, leaving AXSMarine for Wilhelmsen. The process in itself was pretty quick, but all the other changes, on both a personal and professional level, that accompanied this new challenge left a lasting impression on me. This decision had a huge impact on the rest of my career and generated many other consequences: a change of organisation, corporate culture and role, as well as a new country and way of life for my family. At the time, I had a lot of discussions with industry professionals to measure and evaluate various opportunities. It was a very intense and stimulating time and after review Wilhelmsen was the best option.
If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
Today, I think the most important thing for anyone hoping to work in shipping and trading is to be passionate about the industry, monitor it very closely, and to be bold. It is an evolving market in which companies need to be shaped by evolving people.
Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
“There are big ships and small ships. But the biggest ship of all is friendship.”
What do you enjoy most in your day-to-day role?
My current role involves a range of interactions between people and departments. I promote our services, communicate with the rest of the network, and check that we provide excellent quality service in relation to our corporate standards. I am also heavily involved in the management side, and we’re currently planning a complete overhaul to provide much more structure, implement strategies and analyse opportunities. It’s a big investment in terms of processes and information, and it’s an extremely interesting project!
If you had to do it all over again, would you choose the same career path?
With hindsight, I would do the same thing. I find trading and shipping fascinating. After my studies in European lobbying, I was approached by a headhunter who presented the industry and its challenges as a sector in which you have to be independent, in which there are lots of people with interesting egos, where you’ll be given total freedom to go out and hunt for business! And that was it, I accepted on the spot. It’s an unconventional environment with its own rules and codes, I like it!
It’s an unconventional environment with its own rules and codes, I like it!
What is your favourite place on Earth and why?
Oh, I have many… but one of my all-time favourites is Biscarrosse beach, where I have many happy memories and where I still go several times a year for vacations and week-ends. The most important thing for me is being surrounded by the people I love.
How would you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?
Very professional! Today, the Ampersand World network provides answers to lots of questions, needs and requests. They are a staple of the Genevan trading community and landscape. I’m always recommending them to friends… but not to colleagues!