Find out in the “Teamtalk” with CFO Mark Sethe what else moves him in his job besides juggling with numbers.
What is your job title and what is your work about?
My job title is CFO. That stands for “Chief Financial Officer” and means that as such I am responsible for everything in the company that has to do with numbers.
So my tasks are primarily:
- Financial management, I plan and control all financial activities, especially investments,
- preparing and monitoring budgets
- internal and external reporting on the economic development of the company.
Together with the managing partner, the CEO (“Chief Executive Officer”), I form the Executive Board. Together we manage the day-to-day operational business as well as the development and implementation of the corporate strategy. Our goals: Secure existing jobs and create new ones, generate growth and profitability in line with Schulz & Sohn’s sustainability goals.
As CFO, I am responsible for the areas of accounting, controlling, human resources & organisation, information technology, quality management, marketing & internal communication, purchasing and logistics.
I am therefore also responsible for
- Compiling, evaluating and interpreting figures, data and facts,
- finding, retaining and developing employees,
- digitalising information flows and processes,
- maintaining quality standards and improving processes,
- the external presentation of the company
- raw materials, consumables and supplies for production are procured and made available.
What is the coolest thing about your job?
What’s particularly cool is the idea that with our effective cleaning solutions for fully automatic coffee machines, we are helping to ensure that around one million people in Germany alone can consume a delicious coffee every day.
But I can think of several other things. Cool is,
- that I can help employees to understand connections and to act on their own responsibility.
- that I can contribute to the health, stability and success of the company.
- that I get to negotiate and make decisions with customers, suppliers and service providers.
I have a deep insight into material, value and data flows, which enables me to identify and mitigate risks.
What challenges does your job bring?
One of the biggest challenges is making smart decisions for the future of the company. How do we want to grow? How do we design our workplaces and work processes? What new markets do we want to reach?
To do this, we need to ensure that we always have up-to-date and complete data.
Some challenges are complex and take time to make a good and balanced decision. Here it helps me enormously to be able to involve a team of experts from different departments.
Of course, at the same time we have to manage the present, meet payment obligations and keep deadlines – simply fulfil our daily orders.
That makes it all very exciting. Our CEO once said: “It’s like sitting in a moving high-speed train and setting the right course while it’s moving.”
What does your career look like?
After my A-levels, I started my civilian service. It was a very valuable experience for me to work in the rescue service or to staff the telephone and home emergency call centre.
After completing my studies as a wholesale and export merchant and a degree in business administration, I got my first job in management consultancy. There I supported numerous medium-sized companies – many run by owner families – in developing their businesses.
Over several years, I filled interim positions in companies and worked as CFO, CRO (“Chief Restructuring Officer” – responsible for crisis management) or CEO. I have been CFO at Schulz & Sohn since the end of 2022.
What opportunities do you see for yourself here?
I would like to support Schulz & Sohn in taking the next step in its development. We have achieved strong growth in recent years and now want to create processes and structures that make work easier and safer for all employees. I have gained a lot of experience as a consultant and interim manager in similar situations and have led companies back to success with the right measures.
What is special about Schulz & Sohn for you?
Schulz & Sohn has character – it is kind, social and sometimes a little crazy.
A family business that combines tradition with a start-up mentality, which is open to new ideas and allows freedom and great creative freedom.
Diversity is lived here: many different characters who can sometimes argue, but stick together in important situations.
Our business model is so special and therefore so successful because it combines chemical-technical application processes with development and production expertise as well as a high level of service orientation.
Does Schulz & Sohn suit you? If so, why?
Yes, absolutely! The company develops great products and manufactures them with the full commitment of all employees.
I am happy that I can contribute to improving processes and structures with my experience. It is important to me that our employees enjoy coming to work, that we offer them secure jobs and enable personal development.
I find it easy to interpret figures and data and make them speak. This makes connections more understandable for everyone. By involving experts from all fields, decisions can then be made more soundly.
Just as importantly, I enjoy working with people. We have many committed employees and talented people whom I can support with my experience.
How would you describe Schulz & Sohn in one sentence?
Schulz & Sohn is a modern market leader in its segment and at the same time a traditional family business that is relaxed, committed, nerdy, diverse, modern and flexible – making it both an attractive business partner and employer.