Meet François, Financial Planning & Analysis Controller

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Hi, my name is…

… François, and I was born in the most renowned wine city of France, Bordeaux. Raised by a professional football player and not much of a wine drinker growing up, I quickly developed a passion for this sport, spending my entire youth on football fields across France. At 19 years old, my passion becomes a profession when I sign a professional football contract with the first division team Toulouse Football Club. One year later, I decide to put an end to my professional football career and go back to my studies. Point Loma Nazarene University, in San Diego California, is the place where I will spend the next five years of my life, studying for my bachelor’s degree in Finance under a football scholarship. Far away from the football fields, my second period of work experience is as a financial analyst for a solar energy company, working between San Diego and Freiburg, Germany. A few years later, as I am looking for a career change and new challenges, my next stop is IE Business School in Madrid, where I decide to pursue my MBA and broaden my business mind in the exceptional atmosphere that is IE. My next step will be at Roche, as a six-month post-MBA internship, and I recently moved into a permanent position within the Global Product Development (GPD) Finance department.

My typical day at work is…

…mostly different. I joined the Financial Planning & Analysis department within GPD Finance a few months ago and it has not been easy to determine what a typical day looks like. My responsibilities could be categorised into three parts. Financial closing is the recurrent task that comes at the beginning of each month. Beyond simple data consolidation, collecting information, and making adjustments, my role within the FP&A is to present concise information to the leadership teams while telling the story of the GPD department to enable and drive decision-making. Initiatives & projects are the second pillar of my day-to-day activities. Enhancing the different finance applications to be more transparent and more adaptable to the business needs is what we try to accomplish, along with other finance departments. The last task reflects part of the purpose of an FP&A team, which is to ensure a role of guidance and communication among all GPD finance teams.

The location I am working at is…

…the fifth floor of Building 71 – the former main building of Roche in Basel, next to the Roche Tower, which is the highest building in Switzerland. 71 is also the global number of employees in the entire GPD finance department. The other part of us sits in San Francisco, Welwyn and Shangai. My past work experience in Freiburg made me fall in love with the city – that’s why I decided to live there and commute to Basel every day. The 30-minute train ride is ideal and allows me to study German, read or work.

My work helps Roche to…

…ensure that new drugs get approved by the regulatory authorities and become accessible to patients - as soon as possible. My work, together with my finance colleagues, is to understand the cost structure, expense trends, and overall productivity of our department so as to allocate finance resources in the best way possible and deliver cohesive insights for leadership to help them make informed decisions.

Roche as an employer is…

Great! From career opportunities to work/life balance and, most importantly, colleagues, Roche is without any doubt a best-in-class employer. I entered Roche through an internship position, and a few months later I was offered a permanent role. Thanks to the many colleagues who invested time in me, a culture of sharing ideas and connecting, along with a great diversity of people, Roche felt like a great place to be from the start.

What accomplishment are you the most proud of?

From football player to corporate world… this is my biggest accomplishment. At 19 years old, when I signed a professional football contract, I was paid for what I loved to do in my free time. Even if the football career was not long-lasting, the next great challenge awaited me directly. I went on with my studies, gained my first work experience in the US, and came back to Europe for a great company: Roche. 

What do you do to help balance life and work?

From social activities to seminars or networking events, Roche is the first to proactively offer its employees different ways to adopt a healthy work lifestyle. When I am not participating in these various company events, it’s with my family, friends, and pursuing various activities, that I seek work/life balance. Family and friends really keep my spirits up! Every chance I get, I travel to France to spend time with family members. Friends - although spread out around many different parts of the world - are also a crucial part of my life, and always represent a good excuse for more travelling. Finally, salsa dancing, which I was introduced to a few years ago through my many Latino friends, has since occupied many of my weekend nights.

If you are interested to become a part of Roche please visit our careers website.

Tags: Career Blog, Switzerland, Basel, Finance