7 Questions with Julien Machot

Name: Julien MACHOT

Current title: Managing Partner

Current organisation: VERSO Capital

Partner at VERSO Capital. Dedicated independent UHNW Advisor, former Swiss Private Banker turned Merchant Banking expert. Exclusively working with international UHNW and Institutional Clients on transactions of at least USD 100mio. Since 1958, VERSO Capital has built its core business with UHNW, Corporate and Institutional Client Relations and its powerful brand as the Global Merchant Banking Firm.

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1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

The most challenging in participating in the Board of Directors is the prioritization of the agenda and the attribution of a clear action plan for each one of the priorities we have chosen to retain.

2. How did you become a board member of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I became a young Chair of the Board after about a decade advising and supporting the company during an intense phase of growth. The company is an Indian, onshore and international education group. I happen to be the only Caucasian male in the management team.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake up around 7am and already have between one and three key targets for the day ahead. I focus, I visualize what I am going to do, I get it done. Point blank. I don’t rest up until I am done with my objectives of the day. Or sometimes, I have to learn how to re-assess the effort, the time, the pre-conditions that will be necessary to reach such objectives.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

The most significant leadership lesson is one I realize through experience this year during COVID-19. The VERSO Capital model, which was about individual performance with no constraint, limited office time and enhanced focus on clients, turned to life because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. What I thought was a doomed model a year ago proved to be the way forward for... the entire planet.

5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in a large enterprise?

Communication remains the mother of all good governance. But good communication for good governance is one of the most difficult things in business. The choice of every word, the feeling passed on to the receiver or the listener, every detail matters. Attitude goes a long way too, good or bad.

6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of a large enterprise?

These roles are clearly defined as per the corporate governance. As Chairman, there are often times I wish I could be more "executing". One has to understand what her or his role entails.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member of a large enterprise so far?

No particular story. Work as usual, work in progress. That is the most meaningful story of our Board. The day it wont be about WIP then, we will be good for retirement.