There are always opportunities available
Moscow based Director of Finance Johan Hoff tells about his daily work, his development path and his experiences within Volvo Financial Services.
What is your current position at Volvo? What do you do in your daily job?
I am currently the Director of Finance for Volvo Financial Services in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. I am based in Moscow, Russia.
I am involved in some typical activities for a finance function – creating business plans, following up on the business, setting targets, etc. I also work with finding ways to fund the business in these markets. This includes working with external banks and export credit agencies. Much of the time is naturally spent on decision making for financing Volvo Group customers in our markets.
Working in the Volvo Group has given me a unique opportunity to use my finance background and be close to the core business. I am involved in many business decisions and close to the sales process. Russia is a growing market and I am part of driving and deciding how we develop our organization here, for instance, how to incentivize our people, developing a governance structure or how to ensure we borrow and lend money in the best way.
Being part of Volvo Financial Services is exciting because we have a lot of external contact, including direct interaction with Volvo Group customers, external banks, and local management for all Volvo companies. I interact with many different stakeholders all across the Volvo Group on a weekly basis. I never know exactly what will happen each day; it is a fast-paced and high speed environment. The job never gets routine or boring.
Why did you choose Volvo Group as an employer?
I joined the Volvo Group in 2001 through Volvo Aero in Sweden. Then, I started work with Volvo Financial Services in 2008 in Brussels. I am from Sweden and since I was a child, Volvo has always been one of my favorite companies. It is a truly global company with exciting products.
We also have a strong open culture and you can really feel our core values. I appreciate all the opportunities being part of the Volvo Group has brought me. I have been based in Sweden, Poland, Belgium and Russia since I joined. I have worked actively in even more markets.
How has career with the Volvo Group been this far?
I had a good experience when I started with Volvo Financial Services in Brussels in 2008. Our European organization was very new at the time and I had the chance to participate in a number of projects to build it up. I also really appreciate the opportunity to be Director of Volvo Financial Services’ Central East Region, located in Poland. In that role, I not only handled traditional finance-related tasks, but also managed the business development type of tasks required to set-up new companies in several countries.
The chance to experience working in growing regions has been really exciting – a lot of interesting projects and interactions with senior management. Having the chance to work in a multi-national environment also provides a great chance to learn from the cultural perspective. If you are open to new challenges, there are always opportunities available within the Volvo Group.
If you were to recommend Volvo Group as an employer, what would you put forward?
Our culture, our employees, and the size of the company are all reasons I would recommend the Volvo Group. And, the international aspect of the company is a big attraction. Even if you are Swedish, working at the Volvo Group in Sweden, you are still exposed to the company’s global footprint on a daily basis. And, if you are interested, there are many opportunities to move around and work in different locations.
When it comes to Finance area, there are some exciting opportunities as well. It isn’t only about growing as a financial professional. You can get very close to the Volvo Group’s products and the core competence of the business, providing a holistic experience.
Could you please describe your best experience from being an employee of the Volvo Group?
I have had a lot of good experiences. The company’s approach to competence development is one thing that has meant a lot to me. I’ve been through Six Sigma training and a project management program. And, I also had the chance to participate in something called, Volvo Business Program, which was run by the Stockholm School of Economics. This program focused on strategic and leadership development, where we had lectures from experts in different parts of the world, initiated real business projects, and had the chance to interact and present them to Volvo Group’s top management.
Another experience worth mentioning has been the chance to start up business in new locations. It is extremely rewarding to be involved in the process from the start of a new office to its implementation and then see how it succeeds in bringing in new business for the Volvo Group.
What are your goals, plans and hopes for the future?
In the short-term, I am trying to improve my Russian. This would be very beneficial for the work here in Moscow and also to experience the Russian culture. When I look longer term, I am very happy that I’ve spent time in the industrial part of the Volvo Group, close to production and have also worked in the sales distribution area. In the future, I hope I can get a senior role in the Group that would enable me to use the combined experience. And, I’m also looking forward to continuing to work in different countries and cultures to develop and grow our business worldwide.