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Wednesday, 17th April 2024
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Wild geese Back  
As financial services become more pan-European, Paris seems like a good base
How long in current position? 3 yrs 3 mths.

What exactly does your job involve? Developing and implementing new business projects and synergy activities between the 11 separate companies in the Eureko Group, all located in different countries. Getting companies and people from different markets and cultural backgrounds to work together is a very challenging but rewarding experience. While sectors of the European Financial Services market will remain predominately local in the short term, for example motor insurance sales, other areas such as asset management have already become genuine European markets since the introduction of the Euro. The scope of my job now and role is very different to my previous job where I was head of planning & marketing for Friends First exclusively in Ireland.

Briefly describe a typical day.
I do not really have a typical day as I travel nearly every week around the different companies in Eureko. As everybody who travels a lot will testify it becomes very tiring with all the 7am flights and annoying particularly with the rapid escalation in delayed flights. My office environment in Paris is an interesting one. I work with 24 people representing 8 different nationalities.

Time outside Ireland? I live in Paris and get home 5/6 times a year.

Initial reaction when offered position? Delighted. I wanted to gain international experience and wanted the opportunity to live abroad for a period, which I had not availed of upon leaving university.

Strategic fit of your operation? Eureko BV is the holding company and corporate centre for an alliance of European Insurance and Financial Services Groups. Friends First in Ireland is a major subsidiary of Eureko BV. In addition Eureko has partners or subsidiaries in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and Belgium.

What’s the best thing about being located outside Ireland? The opportunity to work and live in a different and challenging environment and to experience the diversity of many different business and national cultures. I believe you learn in proportion to the depth and breadth of what you experience and by working in up to 11 countries that experience has been broad for me.

Ireland at cutting edge? Ireland is a very sophisticated financial services market and has, I believe, historically benefited from its close links to the UK particularly in the life assurance and investment management areas. The development of the IFSC has enhanced those competencies. Ireland in contrast to some larger European countries is very outward looking both in its business outlook and culturally. As a small country it has to. Its biggest disadvantage is the small scale of the market.

Worst thing about being abroad? The famous quality of life issues. You miss your family and good friends. Over three years I have lived in two countries and developing close friendships is difficult. My wife and I tend to socialise with other expats, But these friendships tend to more transient as either you or they move. Expatriate life (as opposed to living long term in London or New York) can be difficult particularly for the spouses and children. There are many language and cultural issues. Both in France and Netherlands we have had to undergo extensive registration procedures. That is just the start!

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