At work with Marko Wenthin

Efma feature

08 July 2019

Learning, innovation and collaboration are the hallmarks of a career that has seen Marko Wenthin taking board-level roles at leading banks and developing software-as-a-service companies. Now, as CEO of digital business banking provider Penta, he’s looking forward to leading the organization’s international expansion and opening new customer segments. He told Efma’s Boris Plantier about his life and work.

Tell me a little about your background.

I am a trained banker, which originally was something I did not like. But in hindsight I can only say that over the past two decades I’ve learned so much about banking and, most importantly, saw when traditional organizations started to get lost.

What does your workplace look like?

We do not have closed single offices. The management sits together with the teams. We also connect on a daily basis with our teams in Milan and Belgrade. Communication is very easy, and ways are extremely short. That helps to get the vibe, be it about products, customers or technology. We are in the middle as opposed to being in the ivory tower.

Could you describe your usual working day?

Most of the time I don't even get to read or work on emails during the day. As we are very agile and there are so many topics to be covered, ranging from organizational behavior to product stand-ups, marketing sessions or public and investor relations, my work is very interactive. To be there for and with the teams and the customers is the most important daily task.

What is your favorite food?

Oh, I love food. As I lived in Poland, Argentina and Germany and travelled so much I learned to appreciate local specialties. But if it comes to choosing, I would always go for a proper steak. I understand the environmental impact of that, therefore I’d much rather reduce the quantity and the frequency without compromising on the quality.

What do you do when you need a break from work?

Spending time with my family and doing sports are my favorite ways to take a break. Sometimes it is good just to meet with friends and have a good laugh to leave work far behind me.

How do you build a successful team?

The most important thing is to understand that every person is different. There is no one-size-fits-all. I am not a micromanager and could witness that people love to take over responsibility. Just give your teammates room to make mistakes, help them in the process to grow and you will achieve incredible results.

There is a saying that we learn more from failure than success. Tell me about one of your failures and what you have learned from it.

Where to start? First off, this saying is absolutely right: If you don’t try you will not make mistakes, but you’ve failed right from the outset. That is why you should try, and failure is part of that. Next time you will do some things differently and you’ll succeed.

One thing I remember is that 12 years ago I started a company providing online booking systems to holiday homeowners and operators which eventually failed, I guess because I did this as a side project. If you really want to be successful, do not compromise. Do it full-time and full-heartedly.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to succeed in financial services?

Look where the sector is really broken. And believe me there are many angles to look at. Don’t copy traditional banks; look at what customers really need and do not hide behind excuses for why things cannot be done.

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Keywords : Workforce management

Geography : Germany