Wim Guilliams will succeed Christophe Boizard as CFO of Ageas. We talked to Wim about his new challenge.
How would you describe the main mission of a CFO in one or two sentences?
Wim: Let me stretch that to three sentences! The CFO’s main raison d’être is to ensure the financial success of the company, which translates to growing the intrinsic value of the company and of course delivering on our promise of a progressive dividend. Secondly, as CFO you need to really understand the business dynamics and the environment in which you operate. And thirdly, it is critical to be proactive and think long term.
You led the implementation of the new IFRS17 accounting rules within Ageas. What did you learn from this, and what have you discovered about Ageas throughout the roll-out of this project?
Wim: I saw at first-hand just how much I can count on an energised and motivated finance community. It is the only way to make something like this happen. The finance teams demonstrated their ability to put in place robust and performing processes, systems and data while translating the new accounting formats into easy-to-understand and actionable insights. It was a massive project. I am immensely proud of the team and I feel confident about what we can achieve together in the future.
If I could take one thing away for the future, it would be to safeguard a learning environment in which teams can collaborate and continue to develop their expertise. This will enable Ageas to remain resilient when faced with challenges and responsive to new opportunities.
Volatility in financial markets, inflation, fluctuating interest rates, a global energy crisis, … You are appointed CFO in turbulent macro-economic times. Are you confident that the Impact24 financial targets are still achievable?
Wim: Indeed, we do live in volatile economic times where change happens at an accelerated rate. But we have also faced big challenges in the past. And each time, thanks to the diversification of our business model and the resilience shown by the different teams, Ageas has delivered the results. For this, I must also thank CFO Christophe Boizard who has been there since the early days of Ageas playing a crucial role in creating the solid financial basis for the Group.
As in the past, I know that the different businesses will do their utmost to achieve an outstanding performance. I am confident that we can deliver on our financial targets.
How do you view the relationship between Ageas and its investors and shareholders?
Wim: The relationship with our investors is critical. As it has always been in the past, a successful relationship between a company and its shareholders is one based on trust. And trust is built on open and transparent communication. That is something I believe in, and something I will continue to focus on in the months and years to follow. It is about setting out your plans clearly, reporting progress and delivering against those plans in the right way.
In Impact24, sustainability is put at the heart of everything Ageas does.
How do you see the interplay between monitoring & reporting on our financial vs our non-financial performance? Are we standing on the verge of a new era for finance teams?
Wim: It is encouraging to see the growing interest in reporting on non-financial performance. The success of Ageas is rooted in many initiatives and developments, which cannot be solely captured in the traditional financial performance metrics.
The finance teams have a lot of experience in creating robust, timely and high-quality monitoring and reporting processes. Their experience has been used over the last couple of years to re-design the finance processes with the introduction of the new accounting framework and streamline the risk processes. And their experience will be valuable to further finetune the new non-financial reporting.
With Wim Guilliams, Ageas appoints an experienced executive with extensive financial knowledge and someone very familiar with the Group and the insurance sector. Through the senior management positions he held before in various financial groups, and having led the implementation project of the new IFRS 17 accounting rules within Ageas, Wim is fully equipped to successfully lead the Ageas Finance community and to contribute to the further development of the company.
Wim Guilliams joined Ageas in 2015 as CFO of AG Insurance. Prior to this, he held several executive and Board positions within KBC Group in Belgium and Eastern Europe, and within ING Insurance in Belgium.
As newly appointed CFO, Wim will also be proposed as a member of the Ageas Board of Directors at the General shareholders meeting of 17 May 2023.
As of 1 January 2023, Wim was appointed Deputy CFO of Ageas in order to initiate the transition with Christophe.