Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Blast From My Corporate Past

I spent the weekend in Florence with a former colleague from JP Morgan Chase who had disappeared out of my life eleven years ago when our career paths diverged. We fortuitous-ly reconnected two months ago and planned a reunion in Florence during her next business trip to Europe.  We just parted, after spending an epiphaniatic weekend together.

Jean started her career with an NYU grad degree in Renaissance Art, History and Politics. Besides her keen artistic talents, she was also an accomplished soprano, commanding a repetoire ranging from opera to nightclub cabaret on Off-Broadway. She has an implicit appreciation for and profound knowledge of Florence.

Later, she found her way into global banking at JP Morgan Chase.  In 1984 while my thriving V.P. career was boiling hot, I managed a strategic product profit center at JP at the same time that Jean entered the bank as a systems trainee reporting in to my product.  Together, Jean and I developed and marketed a range of strategic products that revolutionized the corporate cash management world.  This marked the begining of a working relationship that, with my support and our collaborative efforts, propelled both of our careers to new heights.

As we reminisced about old times, the fever of our discussions got hotter, and before I knew it, we were talking business again like it was 10 years ago.  She explained her new position at UniCredit SPA

On a personal note, Jean will always consider me the matchmaker who facilitated her first encounter and marriage to her husband Victor.  I was so impressed and taken by surprise to hear Jean's admission that she owes her personal life and career success to me.  Needless to say, it gives me great joy to know that I made such a strong impact on someone's life.

Jean was recently headhunted away from Hong Kong Shang Hai Bank, to join the V.I.P. management team at UniCredit SpA, whose Global Cash Management products are run out of their Milan office.  Jean explained the challenges that she is facing in strategizing with each entity to define, package and market its products, and to meet their business development plans.  She does not have the right team to to make this happen.  She wants to carve out an opportunity for me to take a position in Milan where I would implement these strategies and launch a marketing package off the ground.  What a surprise I had, hearing her thinking out loud alluding to what we could do together to make this work.  We did it for JP, why not UniCredit?

She told me to get my resume ready, that they would move fast on this.  I would have to learn alot in a little time, I've had a long absence from the financial world.  But it sounds like UniCredit needs someone like me with  a proven track record.
But would I want to leave Florence to settle into Milan?  This is a question that I will clearly have to answer within the next few weeks.  Perhaps there is a way to live in Milan during the week and then just hop the train to Florence for the weekend.  I think I could handle that.

Yes, it's cool that I am leading bike tours in Tuscany, and I love it.  On the other hand, should I be doing something more "productive" and less "dreamy"?  And the big question:   Do I really want to go back to the corporate world, and no less, the Italian corporate world?  Work 24/7 and go back to the true city life?  Do I want that?

It's time to get my resume ready and bury my head in research to examine the structure of UniCredit SpA, to understand the infrastructure and management....and to start pulling together an interview strategy.

I never would have expected something like this popping up when I am winding down and disassociating from my old corporate identity. But there's an open door, and I am going to see what's on the other side.