Violaine, AW’s Project Manager, introduces you to a dynamic trader in agribusiness, with whom she shares values, vision and philosophy about the agricultural industry. She met him several years ago at one of AW’s business event. Let’s discover his thoughts.
Charles and I first met at an Ampersand World’s event several years ago. The reason why I decided to interview him is mainly because I share his vision and I like his approach to the world of commodity trading. He’s a master of self-irony and we have always had a lot of fun sharing market information. In addition to that, I like the fact that he comes from the field, from the “real thing”. Last but not least, despite the many accomplishments achieved, humility is a distinct quality in him.
Since January 2014, Charles has been working as Grain Trader and Merchandiser at Ameropa. Charles’ previous experiences include Afegra, Archer Daniels, and Societe Moulin d’Afrique. The latter is one of the largest flour milling complexes in Africa.
#1. What’s the highlight of your career so far?
Probably the day I got fired in 20 minutes. Discretion and humility are values that always pay off in commodity trading.
#2. If you could go back in time, what would be the advice you would give to a younger version of yourself?
I would tell him to avoid trading, I already have enough competition. However, if he is really nice, I would advise him to be patient and rigorous. It takes a few years in the business to be willing to get up every morning to take that good adrenaline shot that makes this business so thrilling and exciting.
#3. If you could change occupation – even change career entirely – what would your ideal job be?
As I’m passionate about agriculture and developing countries, I would love to be a farmer in these countries. 70 years ago, my grandfather – a farmer – cleared a land known to be poor in “Champagne crayeuse” region, which would eventually become one of the most productive lands in France. I now sense a similar opportunity in the African continent. The only thing left is to convince my wife to join me in such a project!
#4. What’s your top dream destination around the world?</strong
At home, in the French department of Aisne. And thankfully, I can go there very often. Given the frequency of my travels, and thus my disastrous carbon footprint, I think it’s not that bad to be able to dream without having to go too far away.