Getting to know better : Matthias Forsingdal
Matthias Forsingdal started his career working in the aerospace and satellite industry before joining notable Big Tech companies in data analytics roles. During the last 2 years, he embarked on a new journey as Innovation Manager at Proximus Luxembourg to promote the use of Fintech solutions for KYC/AML aimed at improving costly and time-consuming processes, as well as the use of Blockchain-based applications for a variety of industries and use cases.
Matthias is treasurer of the Stanford Club Luxembourg and member of the board at Tennis Club des Arquebusiers. He recently joined the Marketing and Communications Committee of ILA to support its aims of bringing greater awareness of the association’s trainings and services, and increase its digital presence.
Matthias holds a Master degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London, and has followed post-graduate courses at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School.
What are in your opinion, the key attributes for a Director?
Directors should first of all have adequate knowledge about the business and the environment in which it operates, staying up-to-date with all the latest industry trends. This helps in keeping a balanced perspective and in being more objective when analysing the performance of management. They should also exhibit critical thinking and have the ability to exercise independent judgment when making decisions in order to safeguard the legitimate interests of the company.
What do you think makes a great Board?
A board needs to have effective communication channels in order to facilitate decision-making and drive the accountability of directors. This requires setting clear goals and building proper relationships while maintaining the necessary level of independence so as to achieve the desired outcomes. It goes without saying that a diverse mix of backgrounds, skills and expertise that can be brought together in a collaborative manner will ensure the proper functioning of a board.
What would you change to improve the effectiveness of Luxembourg Boards?
I want to stress again the importance of having a sound and effective communication in place, allowing board members to voice their concerns, address conflicts of interest and ensure that the objectives are being met. Quality should also be favoured over quantity as large boards are often faced with lengthy discussions preventing decisions to be taken in a timely manner. We are witnessing the emergence of new elements we are tasked with considering, including the rise of digitalisation and artificial intelligence. Boards should acquire a greater ability to adapt to these changes in technology which are affecting both the businesses and the stakeholders’ everyday lives.
What does the outlook of Luxembourg look like, 10 years from now?
Luxembourg has managed to weather the storm well despite the many challenges it has faced throughout the years, form the steel crisis in the 70s to the lifting of banking secrecy. Being conscious of the need to diversify and keep up with an increasingly global and digital economy, the government has invested heavily in a number of fields including Fintech and New Space, all the while attracting Chinese banks and further establishing its role as the leading cross-border investment fund centre in Europe. Demand for expertise in these fields will grow and Luxembourg needs to attract the necessary profiles to bring new business to the country and prevent already established companies from relocating. A greater weight should also be placed on ensuring better employee conditions with policies aimed at driving the future workplace.
How can ILA contribute to the economy, better boards and society?
ILA has already done a lot to improve corporate governance in the country especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis, by proving a platform guiding board members through the relevant trainings, workshops and networking events. More emphasis should be given to increasing collaboration with entities in Luxembourg to promote the role of independent directors and highlight the importance of sound governance practices.