Christian Berkhout (34 years old) just started his second year in Singapore as a regional finance manager. “At Boskalis, you’re in the driving seat. If you have ambition and really want something, you can make it happen.”
“After climbing the ladder at a big-4 audit firm, I started at Boskalis and had several Dutch-based finance positions”, Christian starts. “Working on corporate level, I rapidly learned everything I needed to know about Boskalis’ structure and the go-to-colleagues in our different business units. I then moved to the dredging division and gained some experience ‘closer to the business’ as an area controller, followed by a job as a business unit controller for Europe.”
Christian spent quite some time abroad during his first Boskalis years. Visiting foreign projects and offices and getting to know the expat way of life attracted him to an international position. He was offered a chance he couldn’t refuse and is now happily working as a regional finance manager in Singapore.
Finance and more
“I’m financially responsible for the region”, he explains. “Most of my work concerns projects and tenders, covering multiple Boskalis business units. I overview all the financial aspects of proposals and contracts: right where the money is made. But I also play a part in the many complex matters you come across when doing business abroad. Taxes, import duties, compliance with local laws and regulations. They all have an effect on our setup in different countries. It's the versatility of tasks that make this job so interesting for me, it’s finance and so much more.”
The regional office in Singapore is a perfect miniature reflection of Boskalis. Salvage, offshore, dredging: all of Boskalis’ divisions are represented over here. Christian: “We also have our own warehouse and yard next to the office. However, living in Singapore and traveling across Southeast Asia - I’m now speaking to you from the Indonesian office in Jakarta - really is something different. It’s hard work with big responsibilities, but the expat life leaves plenty of room for pleasure. Being a Dutchman, I even took my bike with me to tour around Singapore.”
Boskalis’ presence in the region doesn’t go unnoticed. Christian: “Our current work on the development of Manilla’s new international airport (Philippines) is often covered in the regional news. Whenever I meet Dutch people here, it just has to be mentioned. I think that’s what we call Dutch pride. How can you not be proud of what we do?”
By now, Christian is in his fifth position since he started at Boskalis eight years ago. That’s how fast things can go here. At the moment, he’s very happy with where he’s at in Singapore. But there will undoubtedly be more challenges ahead of him. “My future?”, Christian winks, “one day I’ll be Boskalis’ new CFO.”
Are you interested in broadening your horizon with an international career at Boskalis? Keep an eye on our vacancy page.