José Pires began his career in the world of finance at PWC in Paris. After working in audit for 10 years, he moved to Cereol (grains and oilseeds trading) in Geneva, becoming Financial European Operations Controller following the takeover by Bunge. He was subsequently appointed Financial Controller EMEA at Noble at a time when the company was expanding rapidly in many regions, including Egypt, Portugal and Ukraine. As we all know he then joined Webcor (Soft Commodities) in 2008 as Head of Trade Finance Group.
#1-What is the best moment you can remember in your career?
The period when I was doing audit. It was an excellent training ground and I was constantly learning and developing, thanks in large part to internal opportunities. We had to deal with changes in the team and our client base, as well as an evolving environment. During this time, I made lasting connections with national and international contacts while pursuing a range of growth opportunities that required significant technical expertise.
The world of commodities is much more complex and can be less open. You have to be able to carve out a place for yourself in this world
#2-If you had to give just one piece of advice to a junior starting his/her career, what would it be?
For me, the key is taking your time. You have to be patient and take the time to learn so that you don’t skip any stages. Today’s generation often want to move too quickly, but it’s by laying solid foundations that you will be able to go far.
#3-Do you have a Motto/Lucky charm?
I would focus on your professional life. For me, the secret to success is flexibility. You have to know how to work within the constraints of a particular environment and not try to fight against it. The key to success lies in being able to analyse and understand things.
#4-What do you enjoy the most in your day to day job?
The fact that it’s constantly evolving! Nothing is set in stone and you have to adapt to circumstances as they arise. No two days are ever the same, although we do of course go through cycles, so flexibility and foresight are our golden rules. The ability to anticipate problems comes with experience and hard work.
#5-If you had to do it again would you choose the same career path?
I would do exactly the same. Audit is a rational, standardised profession. There’s a real focus on interpersonal relations that gives us a holistic view of the business, combined with a sound rational approach to clients and performance. It has also enabled me to develop my network in the sector which is crucial. If I hadn’t had this experience, I certainly wouldn’t be working in the world of commodities today.
#6-Where is your favourite place on earth and why?
I love to travel, so I have lots of favourite places. I really enjoyed living in Rome, but I also love Geneva and Paris.
#7-How could you qualify your relationship with Ampersand World?
Professional and friendly.