‘I’m most excited about helping the business achieve its full potential,’ Johannes says. ‘As CFO, I’ll support key strategic decisions and, together with the team, help put a framework in place for that growth to happen.’
The German native spent most of his career in the UK: following his studies at the London School of Economics, Johannes worked at Goldman Sachs for 12 years before moving to Nomura International. He went on to be the CFO of Munich-based scale-up Brainloop and later London-based tech company INCOPRO.
Joining Qover is a full-circle moment for Johannes, who fondly recalls his teenage years living in Brussels and is eager to spend more time there.
‘Insurance is completely new for me’, he says, ‘but the more I learned about the business, the more excited I got about the journey that Qover’s on. It’s so unique and there’s so much enthusiasm around it, which I’m looking forward to being part of.’
Qover CEO and Co-founder Quentin Colmant shares that sentiment: ‘We couldn’t be happier to have Johannes on the management team. He recognises Qover’s potential and will do the important behind-the-scenes work to make sure that we’re getting the most out of our finances while creating the biggest impact.’
We sat down with Johannes for a Q&A about his first impressions of Qover, common misconceptions about CFOs and his favourite forgotten pastime.
One of Qover’s biggest strengths is that although it didn’t invent insurance, it does it better than anyone else out there. I was really struck by that – especially when you consider the fact that it’s offering business solutions that weren’t even around five years ago. And I think the type of customers Qover has is a testament that it’s doing a lot of things right.
Another one of Qover’s strengths is its people. I've worked for a few businesses over the years and, in the end, the people really make the difference. I’ve felt incredibly welcomed here from day one. And while I’m not saying Glassdoor is the only benchmark, based on Qover’s reviews, there’s a culture and way of working here that is quite rare.
It’s probably a little early to say what Qover’s biggest challenge is, but if I had to pick one, it would be staying focused on what it does best. There are so many opportunities out there, so it’s important to focus on where the company has an edge rather than trying to do too many things at the same time.
Oh boy. I’m German, so I don’t have a sense of humour.
I’ll show you a mug that my team gave to me when I left INCOPRO. It says,”Rule #1: the CFO is always right.” And “Rule #2: if the CFO is ever wrong, see Rule #1.”
In all seriousness though, I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that CFOs always say “no”. The reality is that part of the CFO’s job is to make sure that the company’s financial resources are used wisely, so that it can make the most of the market opportunity – and that involves some compromise.
But I promise I’ll do my utmost to find as many ways of saying “yes” as possible. Talk to me again in six months though *laughs*.
Don’t look at Twitter, for one *laughs*. When I need to focus I try to block off time without meetings and interruptions.
One of the reasons I like working for smaller companies is because I hate too many decision layers and too much bureaucracy. I’m a huge believer in trying to keep things simple.
That means actually empowering people in their roles and giving them time to work by limiting meetings – and if a meeting is absolutely necessary, walking away with clear decisions.
I unwind with my kids; I have no choice *laughs*. I have two boys, ages 9 and 10, which means they’re full on in the best way possible. The perfect way to unwind is trying to keep up with them all evening.
I love to read, practice the guitar and play tennis, but I spend most of my spare time with my family.
My younger son likes horse riding and the older one loves cricket. With a German dad and an Italian mom, it’s quite ridiculous – I spend a lot of time trying to understand the rules *laughs* and driving all over the place to their various activities.
Maybe once my kids are teenagers and don't want to spend time with me anymore I can get back to my own hobbies and relaxing with my wife!
I’m fluent in German, English and French. But perhaps a more fun fact is that when I was younger, I played in a rock band – hence the guitar-playing hobby – and my hair was down past my shoulders. I have photos to prove it somewhere.
It’s difficult because it changes as you get older – and I'm obviously quite old. But I lived in New York for about a year and a half while I was in banking, which was quite special.
Now that I have a family, I wouldn’t want to live there. I mean, if you asked me a year ago, I never would’ve said Ascot, England was a great place to live, but it’s perfect for a family with young kids – so here we are.