Jr. Daniel Alomia Robles 125, Urb. Los Alamos. Santiago de Surco, Lima, Peru

©2019 by Gonzalo Alegria 

RECRUITMENT

In 1990 I finished my career as an economist (Bachelor in Economics, in the Specialty of International Economics and Development), which added to my Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Political Science (in the specialty of Market and Consumer Sociology) and my recently completed Master's Degree (MBA) in the specialty of Commercial and Marketing by ICADE (Universidad Pontificia Comillas -Madrid), I was enrolled in the Labor Exchange of that prestigious Business School with such good fortune, that I got quickly 2 very good job offers despite My inexperienced 27 years old.

The first was from the French automotive group PSA Peugeot-Citroën, which had an important plant in Galicia (Spain). The selection process was multitudinous and very long. Two months of exams and weekly meetings. It all began at the Hotel Mindanao with a first exam attended by about 1,500 candidates. There was an English test and another day of French. Psychological tests, graphological, QI, etc. Controls knowledge of general culture, business (accounting, finance, commercial and marketing) and finally, on the automotive sector, the consortium itself and its strategies. Exhausted, I reached one of the finals, in which, in an interpersonal meeting of 15 candidates, they had to choose 3.

 

And I did not enter! I was placed 4, as first substitute in case one of the accepted causes low (miracle that never happened). But I did not have time to regret. In parallel I had been participating in a second long process of undercover selection, in which, the company of personnel selection did not tell you who was the possible contractor, it simply told you that it was an important commercial bank. Just two days after the disappointment of Citroën, they called me from that personnel selection company, to tell me that I was entering the final straight and that I would attend interpersonal meetings with possible employers: the Banco Atlántico. I remember vividly when I entered their elegant offices on Gran Vía 48, and on the second floor I interviewed in a large office with which I would be my first boss, Lino Cuadrado. He was accompanied by the Chief of Risk of the entity, José María Carnicero (I had been warned that he lived up to his last name but luckily with me he was always a great person and best friend).

 
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INTENSE DAYS

That crucial day, psychology and benchmarking were on my side. I was always very prepared for the job interview, with sectoral data, competition, customers, etc. In addition, shortly after treating them, I sensed their way of being: pragmatic and direct, hard but in the right background and even cordial with everyone who fully fulfilled their tasks. I opted for short but solid, forceful answers. When they asked me if I was a "nerd" (that is, a scholar), I answered that no, I was a "worker" (that is, worker) and I converted my good grades into a kind of commercial virtue that translated into non-theoretical aspects: tenacious , hardened, fighter ... The interview lengthened and lengthened, reaching a key point: when they told me about the industrial estates of Madrid, and I was able to tell them which were the main companies and those companies, which were the main clients of Banco Atlántico and which ones ... Surprised, they asked me if I had acquaintances in the bank and I answered the truth, that no.

 

ATLANTIC BANK

But almost they did not believe it. When I said goodbye, Carnicero told me: "They say that you are the son of a great Peruvian writer, why did not you mention it in the interview?" I answered: "Here I will be one more. A simple commercial that will earn lentils every day with the sweat of his forehead. I am proud of my father, but to feel proud of myself, I will have to work very hard at Banco Atlántico. " And I smiled at both of them saying goodbye with a strong handshake. They called me the day after the Personnel Selection Company to inform me that I would be hired, that I had to undergo medical tests and other rigorous controls before signing the renewable half-yearly labor contract. I started working as Head of Financial Services of the Business Management. My goal: to attract large companies for the entity, designing commercial packages of products and services to measure, and achieving through financial simulators, a cross-selling able to reach certain profitability. I had an intense process of internal training and a few days after starting to visit potential clients, there was the beginning of the Iranian War, with the American invasion that sought to capture Saddam Hussein.

The world economy was sinking and I had a contract in tests (renewable twice a year). They told me that to be fixed I usually had to wait 3 years, and obviously, I feared the worst ... Thank God, I managed to overcome all the ambitious commercial objectives that had been proposed to me. There are plenty of anecdotes about the work stress of that first job at Banco Atlántico, my struggles and achievements. However, I suffered a lot that first semester on trial and I was afraid that they would not renew me ... I remember with some sorrow, that I asked my very recent Spanish wife (a humble secretary) authorization to buy me a compact JVC mini-chain with my first salaries in the Atlantic Bank. So, my university student dream of listening to my classical music cassettes in the Dolby system was fulfilled. I consoled myself thinking: "If they do not renew me at least I bought my stereo equipment". In the end, everything went well and I did not have to wait 3 years. They fixed me a year.

Days are coming, days are coming, I was occupying very diverse positions (commercial, risks, marketing) until, after many promotions and a decade in the Banco Atlántico, I reached the category of Deputy General Director of Marketing (we were two general deputy directors, mine was the who coordinated the entire Operations and Asset Products Department). My experience as a Commercial was always in Corporate Banking and large accounts. But in Risks I also made important advances, before going back to Marketing (see CV).

By 1999, my then Chief, was Santiago Díez Rubio, General Director of Marketing who came from Banco Sabadell. After a while collaborating with him, he asked me to be part of the team that would prepare Due Dilligence for a possible sale of the bank. And months later, in a gesture that honors him, he warned me: "Look Gonza, it seems that they sell us to Banco Sabadell. It is still not safe, but if it happens, I will not be able to continue here and it is possible that you will not either, because you are a position of trust and too young. You must send your Curriculum to Head Hunters. I'll give you the same list that I use. Do not be scared, you'll see that you jump. "The issue scared me a lot, I had spent half my life at Banco Atlántico and in the interim I rejected many offers from other competitors who wanted to sign me (Banco Zaragozano, Banca March ...). To top it off, my wife was pregnant with my first and only child: Gonzy. But I followed their advice and they called me the best international Head Hunter in Madrid, AMROP, which was in the middle of Velázquez Street, in a huge and luxurious old apartment renovated of those that call "floor with hearth". After only 2 meetings, I was invited to travel to London to interview my future employers. I always asked for permission from the Bank, alleging personal reasons. The truth is that in 2 intense trips, full day, everything was solved. I flew in British Airways first class, they served Scotch Whiskey black label, and I was kindly attended to in the elegant and modern offices of Lloyd's TSB, the bank of the Lloyd's Group. The offices for the project were located in a modern building in Pimlico, a central London neighborhood.

 

LLOYD'S TSB BANK

Lloyd's was (and still is) the first insurance and reinsurance group in the world, based in the "City", that is, in the financial heart of half the world (the other half is in New York). Lloyd's was created in a café in 1668, and a century later it was already a great insurer of British ships and foreign trade. It has been more than 330 years since its founding, and this multinational insurance consortium is so huge that it insures other insurance companies, fleets of ships, banks, and governments around the world, having branches in nearly 200 countries. But I never worked in insurance. I worked in your bank.

In 1995 Lloyd's Bank had merged with the Trustee Savings Bank, hence the origin of the acronym TSB that they exchanged for the slogan "Total Service Bank". When I joined (in 2000), Lloyd's TSB occupied the fourth position in the British banking ranking for assets. I was hired as Marketing Manager of the PanEuropean Division. I was assigned to the Director General of Marketing, a simple and kind Canadian, Barbara Lauer, who had studied her master's degree in Switzerland, at the IMD. Shortly after, and after several immersion courses, I was working with her and a Spanish manager (Javier de Antonio) in the creation of a pan-European online bank: eVolve Bank.

The objective was to open first in Spain, then in France and finally in Italy, countries that I knew well from my trips, the maternal family, and even spoke their languages. When we launched in Spain, Lloyd's put Javier de Antonio at the head of the Spanish entity, and I started the prospect of expansion and the first contacts in France. But the Economic Crisis came as a result of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, and although the launch of eVolve Bank in Spain started well (close to 10,000 customers in just a few weeks), the majority shareholders became frightened and decided not to continue.

Javier de Antonio resigned and Barbara Lauer managed to appoint me the CEO for Spain, in order to disarm all our initial efforts in an orderly and profitable way. After a while, I managed to sell our client portfolio to our main competitor, the Dutch online bank ING Direct. The Dutch were so great that after buying my wallet, they signed Javier de Antonio himself (the former president of eVolve in Spain), to work second on board at his headquarters in Madrid. On the other hand, when I sold the entity I was totally alone. The English proposed me as the sole objective, to work as a bank manager in Newcastle. And I considered that it was not good to practice as a manager at the level of British local banking. That if he accepted, he would fail. I insisted on keeping ahead of something European, but they foresee a strong economic crisis, which would include banking and finance and, surprisingly, it happened.

 

In that unfavorable context (mergers and bank removals everywhere, strong job destruction in the sector), it was very difficult to become a banking CEO again, which is why I chose to create my own job, by creating a Own consulting company with which, I dedicated myself to giving lectures, training courses, workshops and finally, a star digital project, which was funded by the European Union through the Consortium of Commercial Promotion of Cataluya (COPCA): Business Mundi ( bMundi). It was an export platform that automated all the steps of the B2B marketing process on a global scale.

 

This company gave me many satisfactions because, despite the crisis, we kept our living standards intact at home and obtained the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce of Peru in Spain, based in Barcelona, ​​in 2007. Finally, the I articulated a computer project between Spain and Peru, including in the development of the platform a team of engineers and programmers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) that I formed with the help of the then Dean of Science and Engineering, Ing. Eduardo Ismodes . Unfortunately, with the crisis in Spain, the platform was not implemented. With very little left to launch, the Director General of COPCA, the fierce and brilliant Catalan manager Montserrat Pallet, with whom she maintained a very friendly and cordial treatment, dispensed with. COPCA abandoned the project in breach of the contract, with one year left to finish. Some proposed to complain to me, but I chose not to worsen relations with the Catalan organization because I did not disagree with the Spanish government.

 

FINALLY...

From these intense years financing companies in European banking and finally, taking out a kind of own Start-up, I gained valuable experience in design and evaluation of Investment Projects, both Business and Public. As an academic and researcher I devoted and dedicated, consequently, a good time to systematize this empirical knowledge, applying the technique of International Benchmarking.

The development of the bMundi Export Platform helped me to return to Peru, reside for seasons and in the end, choose to stay permanently. My Spanish wife did not understand or share my desire to live and work in Peru and while I was renting the house in San Miguel (Lima), near the Pontificia Universidad Católica (PUCP), she proceeded to a "express divorce" of 29 days of duration, so that shortly after returning to Lima to pick them up, I lost all legal connection with my ex-wife and I practically lost my beautiful and good son.

I paid too high a price for the "supposed crime" of loving my country. Fortunately, family and friends in Peru, and the unwavering love of my son (who currently lives with me in Lima) helped me overcome such a bitter situation.

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After so much time away, to permanently reside in Lima, to see their needs and benefits, their shortcomings and opportunities, they gave me wings to try a big project for the city and two years after reviewing it and visiting it with new eyes, I accepted to be the candidate to the Mayor's Office of the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima (MML) for Popular Action. (Click on the image to see interview video with Jaime de Althaus).