James Grindley – The things I appreciate at people around me are loyalty and proactiveness

James Grindley is the CEO of CertAsig, a specialized non-life insurance company based in Romania. He has over 15 years of experience in insurance and reinsurance including the Lloyd’s Market and his focus keeps on moving beyond the status quo. With a curious mind and a love for travel, adventure and people, James Grindley embodies the creativity and innovation that keeps his company ahead of the competition.

Trainart: In your opinion, what are the top three skills needed to be an efficient CEO?

J.G.: As far as I’m concerned, one of the most important skills a CEO must have is the ability to clearly communicate business strategy to colleagues, as it is those people who need to effectively execute the strategy. In addition to this, you must have the ability to attract good people to work closely with you and last, but not least, it is mandatory to be a good listener – especially to clients and colleagues!

Trainart: What are your greatest personal and professional achievements?

J.G.: On a personal level, I have to say that I am really proud of marrying my wife and having 2 amazing baby girls!J

Regarding my professional life, I am very happy to say that I helped turning CertAsig Insurance Company from a heavily loss-making insurer to a profitable insurer in 4 years.

Trainart: What is your favorite aspect of being a CEO?

J.G.: Clearly, my favourite aspect of my job is designing and implementing strategy – I like to see the business impact of making key strategic changes!

Trainart: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

J.G.: I experienced some very complex HR situations where I took bad decisions and I was naïve. But, as a result, I now approach HR in a more prudent way. Hiring and firing in Romania is a science with plenty of pitfalls which can be costly. Thus, I tend to ask for colleagues opinions more often than before.

Trainart: Please, give us an example of a life situation when you felt empowered/resourceful/spectacular.

J.G.: One of the most amazing experiences I have ever had was, definitely, the time when I did bungee jumping over Victoria Falls!

Trainart: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?

J.G.: Clearly, a series of very large catastrophe events in CEE! However, careful underwriting and reinsurance mitigate the impact.

Trainart: What do you most value in people around you?

J.G.: The things I appreciate at people around me are loyalty and proactiveness – These are one of the most important qualities I see in many of my colleagues which I value highly.

Trainart: If money didn’t exist, what would you do all day?

J.G.: Fishing, rugby, golf and being with my family.

Someone once said “a leader’s job is not to put greatness into people, but rather to recognize that it already exists, and to create an environment where that greatness can emerge and grow”, James managed to achieve this, while following his career roadmap to the top.

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