11 questions to Benjamin Lakatos, CEO of MET Group
"Don’t start down the road if you don’t have passion and a sense of risk and reality. Yet, neither stop your journey after 5 years if it is more difficult than you assumed."
To read the original German version: Neue Zürcher Zeitung – 11 Fragen
What do you look forward to most when you get to work in the morning?
After Covid? Meeting people. Acknowledging and celebrating the positive achievements of colleagues. I look forward to ‘promoting’ their results inside the company.
And what things could you do without in your job?
People trying to cover non-performance by smart argumentation. I prefer colleagues who focus on results, like professional athletes do.
Describe your job in a maximum of three sentences.
I want to make sure that MET Group is a good place for talented and highly motivated people who want to outperform. I give my team food for thought to find solutions.
Have you always aspired to this position?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a CEO. I often felt that my ideas did not get enough weight or recognition, so I was looking for the freedom to turn my ideas into action. However, the reality has turned out to be different. Being a CEO is not so much about the freedom it brings, it also comes with a huge responsibility.
Which of your qualities will help you most in your current position?
I really like people. It's the people I think of first and whose diversity inspires me. Nothing excites me more than a powerful new perspective.
How many people do you head and what management style do you pursue?
As any owner and leader, I try to streamline the organization as much as possible, empowering my management team to ‘do their jobs’ and run the company. I have a clear stance in personal relationships, my team of close to 800 employees is aware of the expectations.
What is your advice to someone looking to pursue a similar career?
Don’t start down the road if you don’t have passion and a sense of risk and reality. Yet, neither stop your journey after 5 years if it is more difficult than you assumed.
How are gender and diversity issues regulated in your area?
MET employees come from more than 30 countries, and such a high level of diversity automatically brings openness. At the employee level, the gender balance is quite good at MET Group, but there is room for improvement in the top management.
What are the biggest challenges for you and your company at the moment?
I have three children: one daughter, one son and MET Group is my third child. MET has reached the age of a teenager whose hand I do not have to hold anymore, but it now needs a different type of guidance. My personal challenge is to create a structure whereby MET runs just as successfully without my close parental supervision. The greatest professional challenge is to plan sizeable acquisitions in Europe. The time following an acquisition is the most vulnerable moment in a company’s life – you must ensure you don’t buy into problems as you grow.
What influences do current megatrends such as remote work, online meetings or e-learning have on your everyday work?
Previously I was not a fan of online meetings, but the Covid pandemic proved me wrong. Now, 60 to 70% of our meetings can be done online in a more focused and efficient manner, especially in-house meetings with the aim of information sharing.
What are your next goals?
I think MET Group is one of the energy companies that will benefit from the energy transition in Europe towards renewables. My goal is to bring MET into a position where it can not only benefit, but also contribute to the transition and drive the changes. Coming from the CEE region, we have had to work twice as hard to prove our strength and competence.
Benjamin Lakatos is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and majority owner of European energy company MET Group. He began his career in the M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) department of oil and gas corporation MOL. Realising the market trends and opportunities afforded by changes in EU legislation, he developed a new business approach and founded MET in 2007. Under his leadership MET Group has become an independent, Switzerland-based energy company, present in 14 countries, 25 national gas markets and 22 international trading hubs.