An interview with Philip Aarsman

Thu | 01.09.2016

Other

1. Dear Philip, please introduce yourself shortly to all our members.

I’m Philip, 55 years already but still learning…! Married with 3 grown up sons. I settled in Bucharest in December 2014 after being responsible for the take over by Business Lease Group of the Romanian company Fleet Management Services (FMS). After more than 7 years in an international board position in our HQ in the Netherlands, I decided to move to the position of Managing Director of this new company. It has been a pleasure for me to be back in the field and to develop our leasing company in Romania.

2. You have more than 15 years of experience in Central and Eastern Europe. How were your first months in Romania, both on professional and personal side? 

A challenge especially the first 12 months, but also a real experience. Romania is a beautiful country with many by foreigners still undiscovered gems and my Romanian team are very nice people to work with. Social, pro-active and smart/intelligent contributing in realizing our goal to become the Care leader in Mobility in Romania.

3. When did you find out about the NRCC and its activities?

One of the key members of our transition team in 2015 was Julien Kooiman. He is one of our (Dutch) business consultants and we have done ERP implementations together in many of our countries. Julien and Maurits (Dohmen) know each other since they were students and so I was introduced to the NRCC and experienced a passionate team with many activities.

4. You were also a board member of the Netherlands-Czech Chamber of Commerce in Prague. What are your expectations for your mandate as a board member in Romania?

To contribute to the development of the NRCC, supporting and promoting the Dutch – Romanian business, to use my personal and professional skills and network in advising and coaching and to support (Romanian) people and companies with “our” typical Dutch characteristics such as our pragmatic approach, win-win mentality, transparency, diplomacy, connecting people etc.

5. You are now leading the NRCC Transport & Logistics Task Force. What are your plans in this direction?

To initiate projects related to Sustainability and Mobility, for example to represent the NRCC in the mobility project as initiated by the Netherlands Embassy. To use our knowledge and experience in connecting people and in getting results. Mobility is more than a word. In Romania for companies this is essential for growth. In my position as board member of the NRCC I will use my knowledge and network to stimulate and improve Mobility in a sustainable and environmental friendly way”. My company is We are already the Mobility partner of NRCC.

6. Romania moves closer to getting emerging market status on FTSE index. What main economic opportunities can you foresee?

Talking about my field of expertise “Mobility”. Romania is a big country with an area of 240.000 km2 and the Carpathian Mountains crossing Romania from the north to the southwest. This alone requires a good infrastructure for a country to benefit from offered (economic) opportunities. At this moment Romania has 700 km’s of highway. In the coming 1,5 year it will add 260 km resulting in less than 1.000 km by the end of 2017. Compare this with neighboring countries. Even a small country such as Croatia has already 1.300 of available highway km’s. Only a significant change can improve this pace which requires commitment, strict planning, budgeting and execution. In the Netherlands for example building highways is done via long-term contracts. The constructor builds the highway and is responsible for its maintenance in the following 10 -20 years. This guarantees long term quality and value for money. But there is more, look for example at the opportunities the Constanta Port has to offer.

The NRCC Taskforce - Transport & Logistics – strives to identify projects and solutions which generate new opportunities for Romania’s economy. To support and develop the transport sector with an Education element, emphasizing on Legislative changes and to simplify mechanisms and port facilities, increasing Romania’s overall attractiveness to both current business and future investors.

7. Speaking about opportunities - so far, was 2016 a good year for the operational leasing market in Romania?

Last month we have published our H1 2016 press release. In Operational Lease we have realized a year over year growth of 27%. We have been able to keep our existing (FMS) customers on board and our customer portfolio grew with many new international Business Lease customers. We will launch our online application Care Online, offering both our Customers/Fleet Managers and car drivers 24 hours/7 days access to all our services and tools. Apart from Bucharest we focus on growth and development in the second half of this year introducing our products and services to other areas in Romania. Before the end of this year we will open our new branch office in Cluj.

8. In the end, please a message to our members.

I really enjoy meeting so many new people. So I encourage existing members to participate and be present and new members to join us too. For example the monthly network drinks of the NRCC in Bucharest, Constanta, Brasov and Cluj offer lots of opportunities to meet, exchange ideas and doing business.

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