With one foot in Brazil and one in Belgium since his childhood, Yves Jadoul is accustomed to bridging cultures. Following his early professional experience in Europe and an EMM from SBS-EM [formerly CEPAC 1990], his taste for adventure led him back to São Paulo, where opportunities await those ready to seize them.
- What made you decide to move to São Paulo?
Yves Jadoul: In 1994, a wind of change was blowing through Brazil, with the country implementing massive privatisation reforms. It was a period of economic exuberance for investors. At that time, I was running a consultancy company in Luxembourg (Agora Consulting Luxembourg), but I was looking for something more dynamic, where I could make
the most of my knowledge of Brazilian culture as well as the professional rigour I had acquired in Europe. Looking back, it seems to have been a rewarding decision. Returning to Brazil, I worked in turn as head of the M&A department for Banco Sudameris Brasil (Banca Commerciale Italiana-BCI), for WestLB, as President of Vetoquinol Brasil, and since September 2016, I’ve been President of the Groupe SERAP Brazilian Subsidiary. Since 2004, I’ve been Managing Partner of Viability & Finance, active in M&A, strategic advisory, operational audits, corporate governance and compliance implementation and general management of European local subsidiaries. Over the past decade, I have also been active as President of Belgalux (Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce), Eurocamaras (Association of the Bi-Lateral European Chambers of Commerce in Brazil), and the Eurocamaras Mediation and Arbitration Chamber, which has given me a good overview of how European cultures can merge with the economic society of Brazil.
- Compared to Europe, what are the main differences in the working environment in Brazil?
Y.J.: In Brazil, the state is still developing its structure and there is no proper welfare state. On the one hand, this means that people have to work hard in order to provide themselves with what are regarded as basic services in Europe, such as healthcare, education, and even personal security. On the other hand, this results in a more dynamic working environment. In Brazil, people are determined to work and qualified people are highly sought after. So, while working here can be tough, you really are rewarded for what you do, according to your true value.
- On the whole, how would you describe Brazilian society?
Y.J.: Brazil is a country of immigration, widely open to cultural differences. People are extremely tolerant, and prejudice is a criminal offence taken very seriously. Brazilians are curious, learn willingly, and are keen to excel. In Brazil you won’t be judged because of where you come from, but on what you do.
- As an Alumni Ambassador, how do you intend to support graduates from the SBS-EM?
Y.J.: In South America, people don’t meet as easily as in Europe and creating networks is challenging. Countries are very large and big cities are densely populated. São Paulo itself is home to around 22 million people. However, it’s very important for Solvay alumni to keep in touch with each other. Not only is the alumni community tiny compared with some European countries, but the label ‘Solvay’ itself could enjoy a higher profile. By improving dialogue between alumni in South America and alumni from the rest of Europe, I would like South America to become more aware of the SBS-EM’s reputation, as well as the value of its graduates.
Text: Clément Jadot