EXECUTIVE PROFILES

WOMEN IN REINSURANCE

INSPIRING LEADERS SERIES

PAVLOS SPYROPOULOS

E2_Pavlos%20Spyropoulos_HR-2_edited.jpg

Changing culture in an organization takes time and requires leadership at all levels. While senior management can set the tone, people at all levels need to model the right behaviors and be prepared to challenge colleagues or other stakeholders to make changes where necessary.

Pavlos Spyropoulos

Country Manager, Singapore, Lloyd's &

CEO, Lloyd's Asia

An Interview with Mr. Pavlos Spyropoulos

by WEN YA HO | OCTOBER 2020

 

 

What’s one important leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

 

A few years ago I had the opportunity to work closely on a project with John Nelson, who was Chairman of Lloyd’s at the time. Despite his status in the market and his decades of experience in financial services, he was never afraid of acknowledging what he did not know. He proactively asked for advice from colleagues at all levels in the business, seeking out the individuals who could brief him on subjects he wanted more detail on to inform his decisions, and really listening to them.  John’s open mind and willingness to take counsel from a broad range of stakeholders helped him make very well informed decisions, but also motivated colleagues across the organization who clearly felt that their voice and expertise were respected.  

Another of John Nelson’s characteristics that made a big impression on me was his commitment to ensuring that the business carefully considered the ethical dimension of the decisions we made. I observed John on numerous occasions closely interrogating and debating the ethical impact of decisions. His discipline in doing so visibly and diligently set the tone from the top in terms of the culture that was excepted throughout the business.
 

What are some important things that you have undertaken and have contributed to your success?

In hindsight, my career has been boosted by my willingness to take risks in terms of accepting roles and secondments, volunteering to work on projects outside of my comfort zone, and joining working groups or committees that exposed me to people and experiences I would not have come across in my day job.

 

Before I embarked on my career in the insurance industry I worked in many different roles, and was willing to try out any job. Between the ages of 16-25 during my studies and the period before I joined Lloyd’s I had jobs including supermarket cashier, envelope stuffer, headhunter, scoreboard carrier at a golf course, media relations administrator, and document photocopier to name a few. Though it may not be immediately obvious how these jobs helped me in my insurance career, I know that I learned things in all of them. I really believe that they each contributed to developing my work ethic and understanding of what I wanted to pursue in my career in the long term.

 

 

Who are your role models? Who inspires you? and why?

 

I have played basketball religiously since I was 5 years old, and the experiences I had playing in teams and following professional sport had a big influence on me. During my childhood, basketball took off in Greece. Despite the fact Greece is a small country, a golden generation of players achieved a series of remarkable performances in international tournaments. Their achievements inspired thousands of children to take up and thrive in the sport, so much so that since the late 90s Greece has been recognized as one of the top 5 nations in the sport since.

Watching players I could relate to defying the odds through hard work, teamwork, and belief had a big impact on me. Once I started playing the sport seriously, I experienced how persevering with practice and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone leads to results. I learned about the importance of teamwork, leading by example, adaptability, taking risks, and managing failure. I also learned what a huge impact team culture has on results, and the difference values such as Fair Play and loyalty make.
 

 

What would you say is the most difficult part of implementing a D&I program/ culture?

Changing culture in an organization takes time and requires leadership at all levels. While senior management can set the tone, people at all levels need to model the right behaviors and be prepared to challenge colleagues or other stakeholders to make changes where necessary.

 

The other critical element for me is the need for businesses to invest in policies that will drive the desired change. Decisive action by companies to introduce inclusive hiring practices and HR policies can lead to cultural change very quickly.

 

Last year Lloyd’s introduced a policy that applies to all our offices globally that, among other benefits, offers 26 weeks paid leave for the primary and secondary care givers (nongender specific) regardless of how employees want to start a family and regardless of length of service.

 

To me this was a tangible demonstration of Lloyd’s commitment to ensuring that we are an inclusive and diverse organization, offering the types of benefits that will attract the best talent.

What would the person you are today say to the person you were on your first day at work?

 

Last week I was reading about Imposter Syndrome, which can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.  I distinctly remember going through times when I experienced those emotions and feeling that I had got my job by luck, and as a result put huge amounts of pressure on myself not to fail.

 

I think it is important to remember that when you are new in a role or in the early stages of your career no one expects you to have all the answers.  What people judge you on is your work ethic and willingness to learn and improve.

I think that it is also important to seek out opportunities to work for managers who will stretch and challenge you, and who will genuinely invest time in your development.

 

I was fortunate to work for a number of outstanding managers in this regard in my career in insurance.
 

 

How do you handle stress and pressure?

 

I am generally very calm and pressure motivates me. I enjoy tight deadlines and having multiple projects on at any given time.

I have learned that the thing that causes me the greatest stress is when I cannot influence or progress an important piece of work where a decision or action is out of my control. In those situations, the way I manage my stress is by talking about the issue with colleagues or friends to help me find another solution to the issue.

Besides that, I find that exercise and competitive sport helps me release stress. Spending time with my young children also helps. Children are wonderful to be around because they have a positive perspective on life and know how to zero-in on the most fun thing to do in practically any scenario. 
 

More about Pavlos:

Pavlos Spyropoulos joined Lloyd’s in 2008 in London where he was responsible for overseeing regulatory activities undertaken in Lloyd’s international office network, and co-ordinating Lloyd’s interaction with senior regulatory and governmental officials. In 2014 Pavlos relocated to Singapore, assuming responsibility for Lloyd’s Asia’s Market Development function and a number of strategic initiatives in Asia Pacific. In 2019, Pavlos was appointed Head of Market Development for Lloyd’s in Asia Pacific, and was responsible for developing Lloyd’s presence and strategy in the Asia Pacific region.  In 2020 he was appointed Country Manager, Singapore, and CEO, Lloyd’s Asia.


Pavlos has a Master’s degree in International Relations and English from the University of St Andrews, and holds the Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) from the Chartered Insurance Institute. 
 

 

WOMEN IN REINSURANCE

S I N G A P O R E

Launched in 2016, Women in Reinsurance is a non-profit, volunteer-run association consisting of
Committee Members working across the reinsurance industry. With over 600 network members, WiRE hosts events to inspire and motivate young talents to pursue their ambition and achieve their full career potential as future leaders.  Our events include mentoring, personal development workshops and networking events. 

  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle

To join the WiRE network, please click on our Membership page.

© 2016 by Women in Reinsurance (WiRE)