Bunge EMEA CEO: CHRO is the most important person, not the CFO

The HR leader is the most important person to help a CEO lead an organisation, not the finance director, according to Bunge EMEA CEO Tommy Jensen.

Jensen leads the Europe, Middle East and Africa division which employs more than 4,500 people as part of the global agri-foods business.

Speaking at the European HR Directors Summit, Jensen explained how he had come to the conclusion that it was the people person he needed to rely on most.

“I was fortunate to become CEO right at the time of the European financial crisis and it made me think about a lot of things when I started the job,” he said.

“The first thing I thought about is that the most important person is not the CFO, it’s the CHRO because we need to get the team to work in a normal way in un-normal circumstances.”

Jensen studied at Harvard Business School immediately before taking the role and noted that this time had a major influence on arriving at that decision.

“I think it was that period when I took the point of view that the HR function is more important than CFO position,” Jensen said.

“Why is that? If you need to change a business in difficult circumstances, you cannot do that with a CFO. With all due respect to CFOs, they say the numbers from last year.

“No-one talks about how to actually get there,” he added.

Related reading

HR enhances business performance