Image of Alexandre Gelas

Alexandre's story

Growing my career and my team, and having a positive impact

"I’ve been working for Rothschild & Co for 13 years. What initially attracted me to the firm was its dual nature – it represents both French and English culture, which resonates with me since I'm half French, half British.

After attending the ESCP Business School in Paris I took a gap year, where I completed two internships in finance: one in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and another in Private Equity. I then applied to Rothschild & Co, with my internship being converted into a full-time position as an Analyst.

Since then, I’ve worked on a range of different assignments and clients within the Paris office, ranging from large international corporate clients, state owned entities and governments from all continents. This has led to me joining the Sovereign Advisory team, where I now work as a Managing Director covering emerging market clients with different challenges and issues.

It's a great team that’s developing fast…”

Though Rothschild & Co has advised sovereigns for decades, a dedicated group was created around 2015. Since then, I've helped evolve the group into a team of roughly 20 bankers.

We advise developed and developing countries at the government level on a variety of topics, ranging from fiscal considerations to balance sheet optimisations. We have multiple clients on different continents across the world, and each situation and client is specific.

It's a great team that’s developing fast.

It's very rewarding to be able to have such a positive impact…”

The impact you have on the development of these countries is substantial.

We recently received an award for a deal we structured and executed for the Republic of Benin in July 2021. The deal – for the first African Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Eurobond – saw us raise €500 million for Benin to finance priority social and environmental projects at a very attractive cost.

It’s been an extremely positive journey for the country, and we're very proud of having contributed to this.

A lot of the best ideas come from the most junior members of the team…”

We have a diverse range of backgrounds and talent within our team. Each member has a different story, mindset, and differing ambitions, strengths, and challenges to face. As a result, I try to spend time to understand what’s needed to develop their careers, and help them find the right work-life balance.

Our culture and business environment are extremely open – we encourage everyone to speak their minds and share their ideas, with many of the best ideas coming from the most junior members of the team.

All our teams are very streamlined; it's rare that we have more than two or three junior team members. Subsequently, our junior bankers are able to gain a lot of responsibility and be client-facing very early in their careers.

Having a positive work-life balance is possible in this type of environment…”

Since the COVID crisis, remote working has become more acceptable. These days, the tools we utilise to work in such a way are extremely efficient.

While a face-to-face presence is still required, it’s to a lesser extent than it was before the pandemic. Now, we have much more flexibility in choosing when we visit clients.

For myself, I've managed to build a family with five children, which goes to show that having a positive work-life balance is possible in this type of environment."


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