New Genpact boss: Romania is to investors what Hungary was six years ago

The local market offers investors the opportunities that existed in Hungary a few years ago, says Philip Patrick Whelan, the new head of local operations of the business services and technological solutions provider Genpact, the biggest company in the BPO industry in terms of the number of employees on the market, Ziarul Financiar daily reports on September 24.
The Irishman ran operations at Genpact in Hungary for 2 years. “Hungary grew faster, mostly because it did not start from as low a level as Romania. Whereas 5 or 6 years ago investors would go to Hungary, they are now coming to Romania,” Whelan told ZF. He replaces Indian-born Ahmed Mazhari, who ran Genpact’s operations for almost 2 years and was appointed business development and sales leader for Europe.However, Romania is not a cheap destination.
“Costs are lower than in other countries in the region, but Romania is rapidly gaining ground in this respect,” explains Whelan, who believes the main risks that investors look at are the inflation trend and the fast-paced wage raises that are pressuring companies’ budgets. As a result, investors will move to other countries in the East, with the main destinations in the region being Russia and Serbia.

Whelan, 37, is the latest addition to the management of the BPO sector on the domestic market, an industry that manages non-core business processes on behalf of companies. “This is a regional position,” explained Whelan, who will also run the operations in Poland, where the company has a centre in Lublin, from Bucharest.
Genpact is the first BPO player that entered on the Romanian market in 2005 and currently has 2 service centres in Romania – in Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, which employ approximately 1,300 people, according to the growth rate estimated by the company.
“In the next twelve months we will have a leader for each of the two centres in Romania and also for the one in Poland,” Whelan added.
With a more than 13-year experience in telecommunications industry, Whelan is also senior vice-president of Genpact, having run the operations of the company in Hungary.
Foreigners prevail in the management of BPO industry in Romania. Aurelian Sima from Accenture is the only Romanian running a services centre at the moment.
Genpact is currently the biggest employer on the local BPO market, with approximately 1,300 employees at the two services centre in Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. It has 150 people working in Cluj, but the capacity of the services centre stands at 400-500 employees.
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