CEO from 1999 - 2005


What is the most valuable lesson we can take forward from the period in which you were CEO of FMO?

FMO’s strategic challenges have certain constants. We have an exceptional mandate, a strong structure and capital base, broad government support, inspired management and staff, and an excellent reputation. With the overall objective of making a serious difference in development and being an effective partner to our stakeholders, every new, dynamic phase require its own adjustments. This means regular strategic re-orientation, operational renewal and improvement, and recalibration of the balance between “doing good” and “doing well”.

In the period I had the privilege of leading FMO, our key focus areas included geographic and sector concentration for improved impact, long-term financial sustainability through effective risk management, the development of a partnership network, and broad professionalization inside the house. I retain a sense of pride about the work of “our” team, but, at the same time, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the achievements of my successors and the organization as a whole in the years since.

Which insights gained during your tenure as FMO’s CEO would help us reach the SDGs faster?

The SDGs constitute both a set of broad objectives and an insightful, inspiring compass. Traditionally, the private sector has not been seen as central to development policy, but this has changed quite dramatically and has translated into an expanded role for Development Finance Institutions, including FMO. Against this background, every new initiative can and should contribute to the SDGs, though it may be small in relation to the overall goals. Put differently, it is critical to retain focus on the qualitative and not just the quantitative dimension. Strong increases in commitments and disbursements are excellent, but every increase pales in comparison to the catalytic effect of initiatives that help create new markets and new perspectives. Operationally, this requires ongoing attention to professionalism, creativity and strong partnerships. Even the best strategy is nothing without effective execution.

"Our strength as FMO has traditionally been our focus on practical solutions and support. This is how we have become, and how we can continue to be, a truly preferred partner."


Arthur Arnold

Future-minded is a special publication of FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, to mark its 50th anniversary. Editors | FMO N.V. Creation & design | Studio duel Photography | TB filled out. Contact | For questions please contact This email address is not for acquisition purposes.

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