…a drive for success, and social and human awareness.
I joined Argos in 2014, being there from the start of the Belgium office to help develop a new story for Argos in the Benelux market. I had a very good fit with the people, namely Gilles (Mougenot), and the culture. I remember that we talked a lot about integrity and entrepreneurial spirit and now having been there since, I can confirm we really adhere to these values at Argos.
Integrity means that we say what we do and do what we say. We are a present investor who helps transform and grow companies, while taking into account their role in society. We are a solution seeker and provider, so whenever there is a complex situation, we look at it in a very pragmatic way and are there to help and to solve it.
The entrepreneurial spirit is also very present in our own organisation. Here in Belgium, we started the office from scratch, we built and developed our presence on the market – and we try to grow it in the best way every day.
Aside from being the Belgian eyes and ears for Argos, my role is to build relationships with all the different stakeholders in an investment – from external investors to the management.
We are very much involved in the companies that we invest in and I think that’s essential in private equity and one of the most appealing things about working at Argos. Our strong relationships with management, being open-minded to other points of view and working together with them can really bring value to the development of the company.
Working in a team is something I attach a lot of value to — I like to think that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We share a lot of ideas, which really helps us reach the optimal solution. When you look at issues alone, it is never as good as when you do it with others.
Einstein said: “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”. I truly believe in this. What motivates me in what I do at Argos is trying to be the pebble in the river that slightly changes the current for the companies we invest in. We can really make a difference in the development of a company and accelerate its growth and transformation.
We look at things with a different view and we listen to other people’s opinions and experience and sometimes that’s all it takes to make changes in a positive way.
For me, private equity is definitely not a question of just buying a company with a lot of debt, cutting costs and then paying off the debt in order to make a return on investment. That’s not the way it works, at least not within Argos. We really work on growing and strengthening the company, not only for it to gain value, but so that it has a positive impact on the economy and on society. When private equity works with integrity, it makes a lot of sense.