Florent Kirchhoff

General Manager, Southeast Asia (France)

“One great aspect of working in SPO is that you are given autonomy in your day-to-day work which accelerates learning and enhances your professional development.”

Florent.jpgCan you share your journey in SPO and the work you do?

My journey in SPO started in Cameroon in 2004. Then, I was working in logistics for a service provider to SPO. Through my work, I got acquainted with some of the SPO’s management team and we got along well. I joined SPO as the Marketing Manager for the West African region. After three years, I moved to Angola as the Country Manager of SPO to establish SPO’s local joint venture there. In 2009, I moved to Singapore as the General Manager for the Survey Services Division (SSD) and worked there for three years before undertaking another new role as Commercial Manager in SPO Head office for a year. In 2013, I was offered the role of General Manager in SPO’s office in Dubai and worked there for five years before re-locating to Singapore in August 2018 as the General Manager for Southeast Asia.

As General Manager, Southeast Asia, my role is to establish the business strategy for the Southeast Asian region and to make sure that this strategy is well implemented. My work involves ensuring the seamless running of the regional office and the vessels that are under our control. The role involves providing leadership and guidance to forge close synergy between departments to ensure safe and efficient operations in compliance with SPO’s standards and regulations, as well as positioning the company for growth across the region.

How has working in SPO developed you as an individual and as a professional?

FLorent-Team_1.jpgOn a personal level, working in SPO has greatly broadened my horizons. It has allowed me to travel, experience diverse cultures, work in different environments and interact with people of varying backgrounds, specialisations and expertise.

I always find the maritime and offshore industries fascinating as you come across unique characters, some with strong personalities who often have epic stories to tell! The locations that I was posted to whilst working in the company have also shaped my life. In France, there is a saying, “Le hasard fait bien les choses” which can be translated into, “Fate is a good provider”. I feel very fortunate for the ample opportunities and varied experiences in my years with SPO as they have definitely shaped me as an individual today. 

On the professional level, I’ve acquired key management skills in terms of being accountable for a profit and loss centre, leading and managing a team and developing business strategies to secure work opportunities and develop new markets. One great aspect working with SPO is that you are given autonomy in your day-to-day work which accelerates learning and enhances your professional development.

What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing a career in SPO?

Cycling_1.jpgI would say, start by listening. Be yourself, be engaging and enthusiastic about things. Be exposed – this is how you will learn the most. Be forceful and persistent in pursuing your objectives. Remember that nothing is too big to overcome. The answer often lies in approaching things in a logical and focused way.

At times, despite your best efforts, it may not seem enough, but don’t take it personally. Look around you and seek support from others to find a solution.