Article originally published by Equipment Finance Advisor.
In May, DLL announced the appointment of Mike Janse as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and member of the Executive Board of DLL, succeeding Carlo van Kemenade, who left the company at the close of 2017. Since joining DLL in 2004, Janse has held several leadership roles within Finance and Operations, as well as international assignments in Europe and Latin America. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President for the Latin American Region, overseeing business activities and operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. During his tenure in Latin America, the region grew substantially and exhibited strong financial results.
Recently, Equipment Finance Advisor met with Janse and Bill Stephenson, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of DLL, to learn more about this important leadership appointment and to gain their insights into the future of the equipment finance industry from a domestic and global perspective.
Equipment Finance Advisor: Bill, from your perspective, why is Mike the best choice for this important role of COO for DLL?
Bill Stephenson: Mike has been with us for close to 15 years and has been responsible for some major operational turnarounds for DLL in key markets. He is someone we have consistently relied upon when facing business issues in geographic regions that required significant attention. Mike possesses a unique ability to go into a troubled situation, quickly identify the issues requiring attention, and build effective teams – surrounding himself with people he trusts. His business methodologies and track record of successfully restructuring troubled businesses validate his ability to take on the responsibilities of this high-level position. I also believe Mike’s “soft skills” are critical to being successful in this role. His commitment to his family, his transparency and willingness to listen to and work with people, and his authenticity are qualities that make him a model for the type of leader we want at the highest level of our organization. Finally, I was proud that we were able to promote from within DLL. Mike is the right man for the job, and with him in his new role, we can continue driving our very aggressive plans for the years ahead.
Equipment Finance Advisor: Mike, you have worked in many areas of the world over the years. Are there any specific experiences you have encountered over your years with DLL that you believe have best positioned you for this COO level position?
Mike Janse: I believe it is very important to possess experience in the field at the regional level before moving into a higher-level position. Having personally worked at the regional level in different countries, I learned the importance of getting close to the business and the people driving the business locally. As a country manager living within the country, I gained the unique and important experience of understanding the daily operations of a business, enabling me and my team to find the best solutions for our clients. If a person merely jumps into a high-level role without that experience, I believe it makes it much harder to gain a deep understanding of the issues within an operation. These field experiences will help me better understand the issues I will be facing in this new position.
As for specific examples, when I was in Spain, I had to focus not only on the business as a whole but some very particular aspects of the business. For example, I learned a great deal about how to deal with recoveries and collections, as well as how to remarket assets – which is a very important part of our business globally. While working in Brazil, I learned the importance of making quick decisions – specifically on the personnel side. Several years ago, we needed to establish an entirely new country management team and build new operational teams at various levels within the organization. By surrounding myself with the best team possible, we were able to realize a successful turnaround in Brazil, and that was a very important experience for me personally. Today DLL operates in more than 30 countries, and I am certain that experiences such as these will position me for success in this new role.
Equipment Finance Advisor: As the equipment finance industry continues to evolve, so have the demands of vendors. Are the requirements of vendors in different areas of the world changing as they are here in the United States?