Four promising risk managers tell FERMA what skills the risk manager of the future will need

Per Kühn

Risk and Compliance Manager, Brüel & Kjær Vibro – DARIM 

Depending on the organisation size and complexity, the role of a risk manager can vary and I am aware that some companies are already doing the following successfully.

Looking at the risk manager as in or closest to the CEO’s or CFO’s office, I would like to see the risk manager’s role evolve to becoming an advisor to the business and the person who creates and/or maintains the risk management system. This will be in addition the risk manager’s task of following up and reporting status on agreed mitigation actions.

Although risks and opportunities are evaluated by the CEO, CFO and other senior managers on a regular basis, the risk manager should be able to add value to the business by ensuring there is a comprehensive risk assessment process and that risk mitigation actions are based on informed decisions.

A risk manager must be able to successfully communicate the risk management concepts to the CEO, CFO and other risk owners within the business. It is important that a risk manager creates and maintains the respect of the risk owners and that the risk owners see the risk manager as adding value.


Cristina Gutierrez

Cristina Gutiérrez

Risk Manager, Grupoimar – AGERS

I think that a risk manager must have a very open mind. He/she must know business strategy decisions, law, and insurance and other finance, knowledge, practice and products alike.

For me is important that a risk manager knows several solutions (tools for him/her), including insurance (reinsurance, also, of course) and other financial products, for example: derivatives, swaps, futures, and options. Engineering or IT can be important, too. Certainly, technology and “big data” will continue to increase in importance in most sectors.

I think he/she should know about everything but without knowing how to do everything perfectly. A risk manager surrounded by a good team is the approach to perfection.


Julien Rouaud

Julien Rouaud

Looking for new opportunities – BELRIM

The risk manager’s education can be broad. The question is more about competences than skills or knowledge, which you need to be learning continuously. The future risk manager needs an education that enables him/her to take a multidisciplinary approach. When risk is at stake, one cannot tolerate a tunnel vision.

I see the following competences as essential:

  • long term vision (ERM/BCM processes are dynamic and maturing over time);
  • systematic approach (methodical and formalised);
  • transversal thinking: reaching across functions in order to connect “all” the dots, and doing so needs the ability to negotiate, persuade and communicate.

As for the minimum knowledge, I would name the techniques of insurance buying, risk management (COSO/ISO 31000) and business continuity (BCI/ISO22301). You don’t graduate as a risk manager; you grow into one gradually. I did and it still took me 13 years to get there…


Kathryn Wallin

Risk Manager, Marriott Hotels International – AIRMIC

I certainly think that risk managers of the future are going to need quantitative and analytical skills, which will have to be balanced with commercial acumen. The risk manager also has to be able to communicate effectively. You have to take statistical information, which can be quite complex, and be able to communicate it simply with the board. As the profile of risk rises with the C-suite, then you have to be able to communicate with C-suite people.