Talking to Royal FloraHolland CFO Steven van Schilfgaarde03 June 2016
The ambitions he wants to achieve are being proud and finding the added value of the cooperative. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Steven van Schilfgaarde is hearing positive comments from the sector and considers the company healthy. But if we want to continue creating added value in the future, then there are choices to be made now.
"I would like to see everyone involved down the line understanding the choices that are made and seeing the added value and incorporating it in their own company management. Then you are working together, and we shall see growth in Royal FloraHolland." Read below an interview with our new CFO.
Introducing Steven van Schilfgaarde: Since 17 May 2016 Steven van Schilfgaarde has been working as CFO and member of the management board of Royal FloraHolland. Steven combines extensive financial experience with operational leadership in organisations operating in radically changing markets with radically changing customer wishes.
What are you bringing along from your work with KPN
"The most important aspect I am bringing along is my 'drive', to offer the cooperative a healthy future together with all of our stakeholders. The matters that I find important right now are:
- There is so much potential in the horticultural sector. I see real and unique possibilities for growth around the world, which is also evident in the sales growth of Royal FloraHolland.
- I see a sector that cooperates well, and
- There are several unique competencies that make Royal FloraHolland very strong. Royal FloraHolland and the sector are a world full of fascinating combinations, of colours, scents and emotions in contrast to lightning fast marketplace and logistics processes. The infrastructure of Royal FloraHolland is a unique creation, of which other industries are envious.
The combination of these components, together with the power we can exert as a cooperative, gives our sector immense potential."
What is your current image of Royal
"As a cooperative, Royal FloraHolland is composed of and run by its members. The rich history of Royal FloraHolland is the strength of the organisation. This solid foundation is the basis of the powerful, influential and healthy cooperative, whereas tradition often leads to a conservative approach.
I come from a world that has taken large steps in the past 10 years in realising the possibilities offered by digitisation. For Royal FloraHolland there are still opportunities to grow and reform further in this field. This does not mean that we have to leave the current situation behind, but we have to examine which technology can benefit our sector. And we need to act fast. ICT options make new matters possible and support the existing successful infrastructure. With a careful and well-considered implementation, for example using pilots, we can overcome the teething problems.
When you see how our market has organised itself, and how other digital marketplaces are doing this, like the big boys Alibaba, Amazon or bol.com, we still have a lot to learn from them.
And finally, I expect that the growth will have to come primarily from abroad. We are already well represented in the Dutch market. It is one of the largest relatively speaking, if you look at spending in the horticultural sector. It's an important market to keep at a high level of quality, but the opportunities for growth lie mostly abroad."
Which changes would you like to realise at Royal
"We have agreed on a number of objectives, the Royal FloraHolland2020 strategy, which I would like to realise. I want to do it in such a way that the realisation of these objectives happens at the same time as the realisation of the new future permanent business models, within the framework we created together. The Royal FloraHolland 2020 programmes have a range of objectives. To realise them quickly, priorities must be set. The implementation of these programmes must be properly timed so the entire sector has time to implement these changes. I feel that should be the starting point."
Where do your challenges lie? Complete the following
sentence: I will only be really satisfied when…
"After being at work for only 2 weeks, that is a difficult question to answer. I am currently seeking a dialogue with members, buyers in the horticultural sector and colleagues inside Royal FloraHolland. In these talks I try to compile their insights and wishes. So I am listening a lot at the moment.
It is difficult to estimate when I'll be satisfied. Let's say this, when Royal FloraHolland can serve the needs of growers and buyers well and we are working together proactively on this, then I shall be satisfied. In saying so, I am aware that every stakeholder of Royal FloraHolland has their own specific accent. I would like to see everyone involved down the line understanding the choices that are made and seeing the added value and incorporating it in their own company management. Then you are working together, and we shall see growth in Royal FloraHolland and the sector."
How would you like our members to view Royal
"First of all, I want our stakeholders, the Dutch, to be proud of Royal FloraHolland. Second, let us recognise much better the added value of the cooperative and incorporate it in our own business. With its rich history and high level of management, we get used to these standards and quality. We feel this is all perfectly ordinary, but compared with other industries, it is not standard at all. In Schiphol the logistic handling costs are considerably higher than at Royal FloraHolland. Naturally, we can still improve in many areas, and the ambition to do so is great, and will cause us to progress. In all my talks with members and buyers, I heard that Royal FloraHolland plays a crucial role in the value creation for the entire sector. Everyone recognises the added value of the cooperative, even the bigger growers and buyers with a large proportion of direct sales. It is a great basis! We bind, share, facilitate and innovate to allow our members and their buyers to become even more successful."
How is it with your leisure time, what do you like to
"I am married to Svetlana, live in The Hague, and we have three children. Two girls aged 14 and 11 and a boy aged 5. In my leisure time I enjoy playing sports, I jog regularly, play golf and tennis. In addition, I act as a referee every Saturday.
…and do you like gardening?
After a friendly laugh, "That is a trick question. We have a little garden which I do enjoy pottering around in when I have time. I was raised in a house with a large garden, and really enjoy having one. I love gardening and plants. My wife loves flowers and that means that our house is very colourful on the inside."
Will you also attend the General Members' Meeting of
"Of course I'll be there! I would like to introduce myself to the members and talk to them. I also want to present my vision of the current financial position of Royal FloraHolland. That is why I want to warmly invite you, the members, to come."
With this personal invitation in your pocket, we look forward to welcoming you at the General Members' Meeting taking place tomorrow, Thursday, June 2, starting at 18:00 in Aalsmeer. You can meet Steven van Schilfgaarde and get to know more about the latest developments.
Would you like to know more?
- Agenda GMM 2016
- Webcast GMM June 2016
- Royal FloraHolland videoreport annual report 2015
- Royal FloraHolland - annual report 2015
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