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We were honoured to welcome Greg Vlasek, Group SVP Head of ABB Way Finance Transformation at ABB in Switzerland, onto the EMEA Recruitment podcast.

“I’m going to take this risk, I’m going to jump, but I’m always going to make sure I have one solid leg to stand on, because when you jump – if not – you fall.”

Greg tells Paul Toms how ABB started its transformation programme during COVID-19. Although it was difficult not seeing people face-to-face, Greg found that, on the flip side, executives had a lot more time to make decisions, precisely because they weren’t travelling.

Greg is used to working remotely; he hired 600 people in just 18 months for ABB’s Centers of Excellence team, meeting not one of them in person. In fact, Greg has a special place in his heart for recruitment, having previously worked at Adecco for six years. He feels an essential part of the process is screening, which should focus on the culture of the business, as well as the technical skills of the candidate.

We explore Greg’s rather traditional background, from qualifying in the “finishing school” of the Big 4, to moving into Audit, before spring-boarding into Commercial roles. He believes in building “one strong leg” that you can always stand on as a pillar in your career. Greg also reveals the “sweet spot” length of time that one should say in a role. Personally, he has always expanded his breadth of content knowledge in the area of change.

We find out Greg’s original career plan – it’s a world away from Finance & Accountancy!

In his current role at ABB, Greg feels the importance of work-life balance. He splits his life into four quadrants - work, family, himself and friends – and explains which areas suffer most when he overworks. Greg insists that we all have a choice when it comes to looking after ourselves, we just have to be courageous enough to set limits.

As an example, Greg blocks his calendar between 12pm and 1pm every day for himself, not picking up the phone, regardless of how urgent it is. His team is also aware of this commitment, which helps him stick to it.

Greg explains which companies he would never work for, as well as the mistakes he made earlier in his career.

We end the episode by discussing business intelligence and data in the Finance function. He describes it as a “revolution that is becoming reality”, comparing data and reporting to the dotcom bubble. Despite these huge changes, Greg doesn’t feel he would change his career path if he could – he believes in the courage to let life take you.

You can listen to this episode below or search for the EMEA Recruitment podcast on your favourite app:

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If you’re looking for a particular part of the episode, please use the timestamps below: https://emearecruitment.libsyn.com/emea-recruitment-podcast-132-building-a-strong-pillar-in-your-career-greg-vlasek

01:15: The last thing that made Greg smile
01:55: Why working remotely made decision-making easier
04:02: Hiring 600 people in 18 months – remotely!
05:28: The key to successful recruitment
08:57: Building a strong pillar in your career
18:04: Balancing work, life, family and yourself
19:56: How Greg manages his work-life balance
23:07: Learning from other people
26:21: Allowing yourself to make mistakes
28:50: Revolution in the Finance function
34:32: Reading the signs and going with the flow
38:02: How to reach out to Greg

If you’d like to connect with Greg, you can find him on LinkedIn.


The EMEA Recruitment podcast is brought to you in partnership with Operation Smile. We’re committed to creating 100 new smiles by raising vital funds for Operation Smile’s medical missions. If you would like to support this cause, please donate: https://www.emearecruitment.com/operation-smile


This episode is hosted by Paul Toms, our Founder, and Rose Jinks, our Senior Marketing Executive.

Find out more about our specialist professional services recruitment through our website: https://www.emearecruitment.com/

You can also keep up to date with us via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/emea-recruitment-limited/

Connect with Paul on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paultoms/

Or follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/paul_toms


If you have any feedback, please contact Rose: rose.jinks@emearecruitment.com