The Business Review Awards Gala is set to happen on April 21, 2021, so it’s time to meet the esteemed jury members of this year’s edition, top senior professionals representing the business community who will review and shortlist your nominations and finally cast their votes to decide Romania’s business champions of 2020! The nominations period has been extended until March 31, so make sure to submit your nomination and enter the #BRA2021 race. In the meantime, we are proud to present you one of the Business Review Awards 2021 jury members, Irina Munteanu, CFO Veolia Romania & Deputy General Manager Apa Nova, and her exclusive interview in which she talks about performance and leadership during a challenging 2020.
Irina started her career journey within a big audit team and then went on to join Apa Nova in 2008, ready to take on new challenges. Thanks to her innate leadership skills and undeniable expertise in her field, she rapidly grew from Financial Controller for Apa Nova Bucharest to CFO for Veolia Romania back in July 2013, position she is successfully holding today.
Irina Munteanu has now taken also a new position as Deputy General Director and is in charge of all activities related to Finance, Purchases, Human Resources, IT and Business Transformation.
Irina is an experienced manager with an established history of working in the utilities industry and has outstanding professional skills in International Financial Reporting Standards, Auditing, Financial Accounting and Financial Audits.
Based on her innovative perspectives – invaluable to any team she has been part of or led – she was also appointed as the Co-Lead of the “One Veolia Project Romania”, the biggest Business Transformation effort involving all Veolia entities in Romania.
The professional performances of Irina Munteanu’s management have been acknowledged by the industry on numerous occasions, as she received multiple awards for her outstanding activity.
BR: Thank you for accepting our invitation and for honoring us with your presence as a distinguished member of the 2021 Jury Committee. Business Review Awards – one of the most coveted prizes in the industry – is one of BR’s dearest projects, as it puts the spotlight onto the key achievements of the business community. The event rewards and celebrates companies, business leaders and entrepreneurs that have shown outstanding initiative and that have, therefore, achieved extraordinary results in their field of business.
We are looking forward to hearing your perspective on the challenges and changes that occurred in 2020:
How do you define performance in the 2020 challenging year?
Irina Munteanu: Even though 2020 profoundly transformed every industry and forced businesses to adapt in a faster than ever pace, Apa Nova was more than prepared to face the challenge. Thanks to the digitalization process that we started back in 2015, we were able to operate at full capacity during the emergency state, while ensuring complete safety for our employees, as well as uninterrupted operational activity for our clients.
In addition to that, Apa Nova dedicated its know-how and financial resources so that further modernization and renewal of the water and sewerage systems would be possible, even in time of crisis.
Thanks to our dedicated teams, we were also able to achieve all 23 Levels of Services, as stipulated by the Concession Agreement, which stands as proof of our performance and leadership in our sector. By extending this contract in June 2020, Apa Nova has assumed a financial commitment of no less than 367,9 million euro, which will be strategically invested over the next 11 years.
To put it in short, If I were to define performance in such a challenging year as 2020, no matter the industry we are referring to, I suppose it would be through this: keep your promises, always be transparent in your actions and put solidarity before profits.
BR: From your point of view, what mattered the most in a company’s leadership, to continue to keep the business afloat?
Irina Munteanu: In my opinion, the people you have by your side and the purpose that drive you and your teams matter most in defining a resilient business. Throughout 2020, we strengthened our organizational culture by refining our manners of collaboration, by learning to lean on each other more and to offer support in a coherent way, even in times of chaos or major crisis.
We have over 1,800 professionals by our side and thanks to them, we provide essential services at the highest standards to our clients – each and every time. Therefore, we offered our full support during this uncertain times by maximizing the health and financial protection, ensuring that none of our employees was laid off. Moreover, we took the crisis as an opportunity to restate and reinforce our missions and values at an organizational level: responsibility, ethics and conformity, solidarity and last, but not least, respect.