Julien Famaro is the Finance Director, Corporate at Amcor in Switzerland. He was previously the Manager, M&A/Strategic Development and Manager, Corporate Planning & Analysis at the organisation, starting his career as Senior Associate, Industry & Services at PwC.
What motivated you to pursue a career in Finance and what other career options did you consider?
I was relatively good with numbers, but wouldn’t have called myself a numbers guy either. Also, I did Accounting at university. My interest in Finance started relatively late – I remember one exercise that was part of a module called Financial Analysis, where we were given a set of financial statements and had to write everything we could guess about the company. I enjoyed translating the numbers into real life and I guess I found it fun enough to apply for a master’s in Corporate Finance.
What risks have you taken throughout your career and how did they help you get to the level you are at?
I am quite risk averse, so I don’t take many risks, but believe in courage. I have the tendency to raise my hand to take on challenges outside of my comfort zone. I like learning by doing and I get my energy trying to achieve things I have never done and know nothing about. It helped me progress faster, because it allowed me to learn and get exposed.
What have you learnt as a leader over the past 12 months?
The past 12 months just made me appreciate how rapidly things can change. I try to focus on what really matters and not worry or stress about what I can’t control. I am certainly more positive than I used to be as well, and I believe this helps support the morale of people around me.
I focus on having fun doing what I do and try to give space to my team for them to innovate, show ownership and feel proud of what they achieve. People are always good at what they enjoy doing.
You returned to Amcor in 2021 after a couple of years in another business. What would you say are the most attractive reasons for someone to work for Amcor?
I would say that there are probably three things that I find very true at Amcor:
The first one is that we have constant changes and challenges. The second one: I believe we have some of the strongest people in the industry, and the third: we have a true outperformance culture.
I joined an Australian company early 2016 - listed in Australia, reporting in IFRS - that was just moving its HQ from Melbourne to Zürich. Today, I work for an S&P500.
We also tend to like generalists – at least in the Finance space. We like flexible, commercially-oriented people, keen to take on new challenges and get out of their comfort zones. We are performance-driven, constantly aiming for the extra mile and supporting each other to achieve the best possible outcomes. Outperformance is deeply ingrained in our culture, which is something I enjoy.
What does Amcor do to drive its sustainability agenda?
In 2018, we pledged to develop all our packaging to be recyclable and reusable by 2025, which is in two-and-a-half years. We truly acknowledged that we needed to help and aspire to make the environment better off thanks to our leadership and products.
We invest a lot of money in R&D to ensure we are at the full potential. We have also forged new partnerships with non-governmental organizations and promising start-ups, and redesigned many of our products to be recycle-ready.
We also recently finalised a rebranding of our brand portfolio, making it clearer for our customers to understand how we can address their needs. One of those brands, Ecoguard, is a responsible packaging solution addressing both how the product is made, using biomaterials or recycled content, as well as what happens after the consumer uses it.
Sustainability is Amcor’s biggest opportunity, and we are all working hard to make a difference faster and further.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role, either as a leader or in your specific role?
We drive and influence people around us and a lot of our initiatives have a clear financial impact. It becomes easy to measure our contribution.
Also, constant changes mean opportunities for process improvements and simplifications. We’ve spent the last few months trying to re-focus on what matters and making our processes simpler, and this is paying off. This is exciting and gives energy to keep on transforming our space.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to a young Finance professional aspiring to leadership roles?
I personally try to remain curious, work hard, focus on what really matters and be nice to people.
What is the most common mistake you see from candidates at interview and what would be a key piece of advice for interview preparation?
Too often people come to interviews like they go to a driving test.
I expect interviews to look more like a conversation and be interactive. I want to be interviewed too and expect the candidates to have almost as many questions as I do.
Some candidates often forget to be fun. Smiling and being likable is just as important as explaining what you can do.
Thank you to Julien for speaking to Meriel Graham, Director in our Finance & Accountancy recruitment team in Switzerland.
Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment.