Why did you choose this position?
"The usual areas of interest for a consulting exit are Business Development or Corporate Strategy. But for me, that would have been too close to consulting, so I looked for a different role. As Manager E-mobility, I’m responsible for the product development and creation of new business with electric transport. This includes a network of public charging points, home charging stations and solutions for corporate clients. It’s hands-on as well as strategic, which is exactly the mix I was looking for. The energy sector got me interested while I was a consultant, especially renewable energy struck a chord. I wanted to move towards a role where I would be responsible for the future rather than merely weighing up scenarios of potential outcomes."
Which of your consulting skills do you still use?
"All of them! I’ve learned to think of scenarios, present strong arguments, deliver clear-cut work, perform under pressure and focus on results. But there’s still a lot to learn in business. Especially the soft skills in leadership, coaching a team and gathering support in an organization. If you’re able to give a convincing presentation of a well-formulated strategy, it doesn't necessarily mean that people take in the message. You’ve only just begun."
What business risks are associated with electric transportation?
The electrification of road transport is in full swing. More and more, people are switching to electric cars. Nuon facilitates this by providing battery-charging solutions. The risk, however, is that we don’t reach sufficient scale quickly enough to make it an economically viable business. The second big risk is betting on the wrong technology. We will either be charging on a huge scale, through a cable or wirelessly (like a toothbrush), but it’s unlikely that all three will happen at once."
What's the energy sector like?
"There are a lot of young people! I always thought it would be quite stuffy and hierarchical but it turns out to be the opposite. Renewable energy and innovation obviously are attractive to young people. Also, the access to senior management is much easier than I expected, which is important to get things done quickly. Of course, I do still miss the high level of variety I was used to as a consultant but the freedom of creating new business is inspirational as well."
Is your future with Vattenfall?
"There’s ample room for growth within renewable energy. This corporate environment is complex and international. Large projects such as realizing a completely new wind farm in Scotland would be a nice challenge. And there’s always a spark in my mind for entrepreneurship, so... who knows!"
When would you recommend an exit to consultants?
"Advising consultants: that’s tricky! I’m convinced that the skills that you develop as a Strategy Consultant are very wide in their scope, so you will have many options: controlling, marketing, business development, operations. But you should hold off your exit until you know what industry makes you tick. If you’re just as enthusiastic about one industry as you are about another, you might very well be better off staying a consultant."
2015 – present
Director New Operating Models, Business Development, Vattenfall
2011 – 2015
Manager Emobility, Vattenfall
2009 – 2011
Programma Manager New Business Development, Nuon
2008 – 2009
Senior Strategy Consultant, Roland Berger
2003 – 2008
Project Manager/Strategy Consultant, Arthur D. Little