Ariel Miceli - Business Finance Director EMEA - Dow AgroSciences

What advice would you offer to someone moving to Switzerland?

Switzerland is a beautiful country; embrace the opportunities available to you. There are a lot of career opportunities here, particularly in finance.

We see that Dow Europe has registered the tenth consecutive quarter of growth; can you identify how your organisation stands out from your competitors?

This growth is nothing new; it is all part of our long term strategy. Our personnel are key; we have a good balance of the right people. DOW is really good at interpreting the market and implementing change without compromising the security of its long term strategy. Our results stem from years of communication with our customers and the local community, knowledge of the industry and local politics.  At the end of the day however, it is down to DOW doing the right thing.

If you could go back and give your younger self some career advice, what would it be? 

Be mindful of developing leadership skills early on in your career. Whatever company you work for, whatever role you have, you are always part of a team with the opportunities to lead and influence people. Obviously you need to learn and develop your technical knowledge but soft skills are also essential.

What helps you relax from working in such a pressured role?

I enjoy sports out of work but for me it is more important to approach my work so that I don’t feel so pressured. I am passionate about my work. I endeavour to reduce stress levels for myself and my team by maintaining a calm attitude and enjoying work. Developing and maintaining good relationships with people is essential.

What are your personal motivators?

I like what I do. I find it really interesting when facing a challenge and learning new things. In particular, I enjoy watching my staff, trouble shooting and helping them to learn and change. Seeing visible improvement in the development of a team is great. I enjoy finance and doing business. In my role I have many opportunities to influence people and make a difference.

What do you enjoy the most about your current role?

To sum it up, the diversity and complexity of my role; being part of the leadership team and deciding our strategy for future development. It is very interesting bringing together and managing people from different cultures; we are currently managing huge cultural changes which I find fascinating.

Looking back through your established career, what would you identify as a personal highlight?

I work hard, am resilient and humble. I like to think I have delivered in terms of developing great teams and business profitability. My exposure to different companies and change management has taught me a lot. Like many others in my role, I have managed to make changes in the way finance people think about the business. I have developed a strong business acumen together with the financial skills to develop business without ever comprising legal compliance.

What recruitment challenges do you face?

Looking for diversity in our teams. From a skills point of view, it is not easy to find finance people with the relevant technical knowledge and requisite business skills and acumen. Regions where we are finding it a challenge are countries that are currently under pressure such as Ukraine, Russia, and Greece.

What was the worst / best interview experience you have had?

The worst interview experience was the first big finance leadership role I went for. I presumed it was another internal meeting and didn’t prepare properly. As a result I ended up second choice. It was a real eye opener for me. Anyway I learned from this, did my research and turned the situation around and ended up getting the job. I also think of this as my best interview experience – it taught me not to rest on my laurels. If I ever feel too comfortable in a situation, I take a step back and look in case I am missing something below the surface.

What advice would you give to future aspiring leaders, and why?

Start early and work on your leadership skills. You must be willing to give more than you receive.  You need vision, clear thought processes and strategies. Always be conscious of your team members; be prepared to take the heat yourself and protect your men. You must be bold and take risks; be ready to deal with uncertainty and be prepared to fail but then learn from your mistakes. It will take a lot of time and requires great passion but it is worth it!

 

*Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the Interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment.*

 
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