Inside Admiral

A Day in the Life of Christophe Sanchez, INSEAD graduate and CEO of Admiral Seguros

Christophe Sanchez, 36, joined Admiral in 2005, just after completing his MBA at INSEAD. He was one of the first BDMs (Business Development Managers) of the group and spent the first two and a half years of his Admiral Group life in Cardiff. At the end of Summer 2007, he moved to Seville to take on the role of deputy MD for Balumba (today Admiral Seguros), the Group’s young Spanish venture. Since January 2011, he has assumed the overall responsibility for Admiral Seguros. We caught up with him to find out more about his journey with Admiral.

When I was studying for my MBA, I didn’t know who Admiral were. I read a job advertisement and I was intrigued by it as it was written very differently and in a much more engaging way than others I’d seen. During my interview process, I met some outstanding people who I immediately wanted to work with. That’s one of the things that I love most about Admiral to this day: you work with some really bright people so there’s always plenty to learn. Three people on my senior management team also have MBAs and we’re very open minded and non-hierarchical in our approach, we strive for what makes business sense.

A typical day at work for me? There isn’t one. The most typical thing about my day is probably that I always take my children, Emmanuel and Maximilien, to school. I love seeing them off in the morning. The office is only five minutes away so I’m normally at my desk around 9am. I immediately dive into a 20-30 minute session of reviewing emails and yesterday’s figures. If any of the numbers surprise me or appear unexpected, I’ll give the relevant manager a call to find out more.

Beyond that, my days vary. There are days where I have plenty of meetings and others which are quite open. I do this on purpose: by packing my one-to-ones and meetings into certain days, I can allow for the unplanned on the other days. I need that flexibility in case I have to travel to Madrid, squeeze in last minute meetings, review reports, develop ideas or even just take time to think about the business.

During the day, I like to do my ‘walk around the office’ – it’s something that I’m trying to free up the time to do more of actually as it’s important to me. It gives me the chance to see what’s going on, with our staff and our customers. I like to listen to calls and talk to CCRs. It’s proved very useful: if I come across something I like (or don’t like), I take the time to sit and understand how it works and why it happens. It helps me to improve processes and make sure it’s as easy as possible for our customers to buy from us.

Coming from a consultancy background, lunchtime is still quite novel to me and I do find it hard to draw myself from my desk at times. But I go down to the lunch room when I can as it’s a good opportunity to talk with other people. At Admiral Seguros, we have a catering service that delivers food to the office every day. There’s a good choice with plenty of options. But I always go for a salad as they don’t need reheating so whether I’m eating in a meeting room, in the lunch room or at my desk, they’re fine. The one lunch I do every first Wednesday of the month is our senior management Get Ready lunch meeting. Lunch in Seville happens at 2pm or 2.30pm so the afternoons are shorter and how I spend mine completely depends on whether I’m having a day of meetings or a more open day.

The time I leave the office also varies, it’s not normally very early as I like to make sure everything is done and have a quick walk around before I leave, to check how sales have been. It’s much easier to do that working over just two floors unlike the 23 we had in Cardiff! When I get home, I’ll have an enjoyable dinner with my children and wife and I’m a keen runner so I may head out for training after. Then it’s back home for an evening of chatting, reading or watching something on TV with my wife. I’m a night time person so I tend to go to sleep around midnight then it’s up and ready to do it all over again.

I love what I do and I think it’s very important to choose something you’re passionate about after finishing your MBA. Consulting or banking can sometimes look like your only options but it’s something you should only do if you really want to. The knowledge I gained in my MBA has been very helpful in my career. My MBA also gave me a lot of confidence and some great memories that I’ll keep for life.

I was originally an engineer so the MBA increased my finance and business understanding which is key. In January 2014 I take on another international assignment in the leadership of Admiral’s French insurance operation L'Olivier assurances. I am excited about this next chapter of my journey!

Christophe Sanchez, CEO of Admiral Seguros