CBCC member interview - Oliver Geidt, Manager, Corporate Intelligence, KPMG

On being passionate about Central and Eastern Europe, his views on and predictions about Brexit, reasons for joining the CBCC and so much more…

Where does the connection with the Czech Republic come from?

My life has been revolving around Central and Eastern Europe for many years. First, I studied Russian and German at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (established by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in 1915); later in my life I met my Czech wife while at a language summer school in Serbia. Currently I am involved in Brexit matters as well as other matters related to Central and Eastern Europe.

What exactly do you do?

At KPMG I am part of the corporate intelligence team but wear two hats. I co-manage the team dedicated to Brexit analysis – we help clients understand the Brexit process and explain the likely scenarios and impacts on their business so they can prepare.

My second hat relates to Central and Eastern Europe – I help companies with their market entry, identifying risks and opportunities, advising on the political environment and on what they need to know to be successful.

This also includes investigations into potential threats to their businesses and helping clients when issues arise. This may relate to a hostile takeover, organised criminal activities, as well as non-financial due diligence, for both companies and individuals, where we look at the background of a potential business partner, who they are, who the shareholders are, instances of litigation, and many other aspects.

What was your career path?

I got my Bachelor Degree in Russian and German from University College London and then spent a semester teaching English in Irkutsk, Siberia. I’ve now been with KPMG for four years, but prior to that, I worked for a security company as an analyst for Europe and the former Soviet Union, and I spent two years at the US State Department focusing on Russian-European relations.

All my previous jobs (and my studies for that matter) have reinforced my interest in Central and Eastern Europe.

As you are involved in Brexit, can you reveal what the predictions are?

As a result of Brexit, it is my personal opinion that there may well be more ties between the UK and Central and Eastern Europe than there have been until now. There are businesses coming from Central and Eastern Europe to the UK and I believe that this flow will continue, especially as the economies of the region grow. Take, for example, the large former BHS store in Oxford Street which is now home to the Polish fashion chain Reserved.

Or Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH), owned by Daniel Kretinsky*, which has acquired two power plants in the UK. I see a number of other areas which could provide further opportunities leading to the UK becoming an attractive destination for many business efforts, and vice versa.

What are your work aspirations?

I am currently happy where I am and with KPMG you get a lot of opportunities. Sometimes there are secondments available and for example, KPMG has a large office in Prague, so one never knows what the future brings.

Why did you become a CBCC member?

I am famous in the office for talking about the Czech Republic far too much.

In addition, I came to the conclusion that I’ve now reached a point in time when I am in a better position to get involved in regional activities within the UK. I believe CBCC provides a platform to better understand the ties and relationships between the UK and the Czech Republic.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I don’t know at the moment. It depends on a large number of factors. Brexit is naturally only one of them. And of course, my wife will have something to say! I think it likely, however, that my career will continue to focus on Europe.

How would you define yourself in three words?

Passionate, focused and caring. I am keen to drive myself forward, but it’s really important to me that I am able to bring others with me and help them along the way. I really care about developing more junior staff and giving them similar opportunities to those which I was lucky enough to take advantage of.

Last word?

I think it has to be ‘osud’** – you never know what will happen. I have been very fortunate that so many things have turned out well, despite not intending for any of them to happen. I look forward to the next chapter when it comes around, and I probably won’t have been looking for it.

Oliver on holiday - in Central Europe, where else?

* More information about Daniel Kretinsky is available here

** 'fate' in Czech

By Tereza Urbankova, member of the Executive Committee

We are looking for more CBCC members to be interviewed! Please email terezaurbankova@yahoo.com if you are interested.

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