Chief Financial Officer, Unified National Networks
Bernd Flack, a senior executive with years of leadership experience in the automotive, telecommunications, aerospace, energy sector, science, and research industries, currently resides in Brunei as the Unified National Networks’ (UNN) Chief Financial Officer.
As CFO, Flack explains: “I am like the glue among the other executive managers. I make sure that my colleagues are well funded in time and all the different financial obligations of the company are managed in a proper way.”
Although UNN is managed as a private company, it is a government linked company and as a result, Flack is responsible for making sure UNN is compliant in all its activities. “We report to our shareholders and that must be based on a proper legal basis. I am also responsible for this.”
“Identifying, selecting, coaching, and enabling potential candidates to fill all key senior and executive positions is a priority for me,” says Flack. “In 2 years, we will hand over management responsibility to local colleagues. For this moment we are preparing UNN and our potential successors intensively.”
With his rich expertise, technical background and strong business acumen, Flack constantly looks for ways to challenge himself to build on the skills he gained from previous work, explaining: “As an executive manager in different companies, you are always interested to find a place that is challenging and where you can really contribute to the company.”
“Here, within UNN, I found there is a very good base to contribute to the success of this company,” adds Flack.
Describing himself as a strong leader, with experience both internationally and nationally, Flack explains a good leader is one that is straightforward, collaborative, and trustworthy. Trust, Flack says, is incredibly important in his current role. As a temporary CFO, Flack wants to ensure that he can trust the future UNN’s CFO to meet the needs of the company and build on the foundations he has laid.
“In this kind of business, you must be straight to the point, legal requirements, compliance, and shareholders expectations govern you. I am focused on maintaining a trustful leadership style. You can only lead when you trust in your subordinates and colleagues, when you give them the chance to develop their own personality. When my assignment finishes, and someone will step up to take over my responsibilities, I want to have trust in them to do well,” he outlines.
Adding, he says: “I am trying to collaborate in the absolute best way. That is important, and I believe that is also one of my strengths, trying to be the glue and to collaborate even if it is challenging.”
Joining UNN as an interim manager to enable the company to run on its own, Flack has had the opportunity to explore Brunei, which is known for its beaches and biodiverse rainforest — something Flack has enjoyed exploring: “Brunei is a beautiful place on earth. It is peaceful and the people living here are nice, friendly, honest, and open-minded — that has been enjoyable to me. I have been here for a little more than two years and have another two left.”
Looking to the future, Flack seems content with his surroundings and is keen to see more of the world: “Afterwards, we will see what happens. If I can stay in Brunei, I will happily do so. I also like exploring Asia. I would alternatively go to Australia. Let us wait and see — my job and life now are enjoyable.”
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When it gets difficult, this is what really gets me excited. I believe that such transformation scenarios can only be solved and addressed. But you have to do this as a team - you cannot do it as a one-man show.