Change, whether related to the life of a person or evolution of a company, is perceived as a transformation that takes place that is visible and can be acknowledged by others as well. For Allevo, 2016 brought a lot of change, both good and bad and both foreseen and unforeseen.
This article has a lot of potential to become personal, so I will start with Sorin, even though this may not be the correct chronological order of events. Sorin's departure to a hopefully better place came as a shock to everyone. To us, the family he so much treasured and encouraged to always stick together for better and worse. A shock to the Allevo team which he always treated like his second family. A shock to his dear friends who he had shared so many fun times with and last, but not least, to everyone he had met and to everyone who he had worked with. The world now lacks an amazing person and he will be forever missed. Those who knew him or have been influenced by him I consider lucky. The only consolation anyone can have is that he left peacefully in his sleep without feeling a thing, just the way he always wished this would happen.
Maybe Allevo is one of Sorin’s most outstanding achievements. Looking back, he created this company from scratch in 1994 together with 5 other lunatics (this is how he often used to refer to them). In 1998 he brought in a couple of other very close trusted friends whose professionalism and loyalty he valued. These were the founders of BIS, which later became Allevo. A company that grew on its own to about 55. It grew from no social capital to half a million euros, from no products or customers to qPayIntegrator and FinTP. The company gained a good portfolio of clients: banks, corporations, microfinance institutions, the State Treasury, insurance companies both in Romania and abroad, all on its own strength.
He was never alone in this adventure, he always kept close by his side his most trusted persons and he created an amazing team that shares the same set of values he invested in this initiative. This team has proven many times around to be capable of overcoming difficult times. It is a team that acts responsibly and fully in line with the business culture implemented at Allevo.
The succession plan
Several years ago, Sorin started the so-called “succession plan”. Not many people took him seriously at the time, but, stubborn as he was, he managed to convince managers it is a good idea to form people able to replace them in a couple of years' time. He walked the talk and lead by example, choosing three persons to incubate and prepare to take over the role of Allevo CEO. His plan was to retire and spend more time at Poiana Marului, reading books on the porch, enjoying the crisp air the mountains were to offer.
New board, new CEO
A big change for Allevo was naming a new board of directors, led by a new CEO, Corina Mihalache, a new supervisory structure where Sorin took the seat of the President. The supervisors would focus on strategic projects, would advise the board on key matters, and would be responsible for attracting investment in FinTP and other Allevo projects. This was a big move, as it was the first step in proving Allevo functions perfectly well without Sorin’s presence in every administrative task.
The next CEO
As of March 1st 2016 Sorina Bera, one of the three people involved in the succession plan, was named Allevo CEO and she started this mission with a lot of enthusiasm and dedication. Although her start is not as easy as it could have been if Sorin were still around, we know she is perfectly capable of sticking to the plan and of keeping Allevo on course for further growth and good customer service.
Plans for the future
Although this post is darkened by Sorin's departure, all other changes mentioned above are proven to have been wisely chosen, almost as if this was the entire plan all along. It is very weird when looking back to see how right he was about the need to make the company independent of him. And to make sure that each individual department can carry out their part of the mission, without having the main shareholder and founder of Allevo push them from behind. He knew and trusted this team not only to survive, but to be able to work in such a way that it can adapt, produce, be efficient, scale and grow no matter what. This is Allevo and his most important legacy.
Plans for now remain the ones already set at the beginning of 2016, but I feel the need to outline a couple of these:
That being said, I have deep feelings for all those who are standing by us in these difficult times. I ask you to believe in us and our capability to continue Allevo's activity as planned. On behalf of the Guiman family and of the entire Allevo team, I address a very warm thank you note to all of you who have been close in these last couple of difficult weeks.
We will not let you down.
As we are not stuck on round numbers, this year we celebrate 16 years of Allevo. We invited our customers, our partners and our team members, in a word, our friends, to join us in these moments of rejoicing.
And we invite you now to join us for a few moments down on memory lane. Allevo started with a handful of intrepid IT specialists, armed with courage, patience and determination taking a road that will be neither short nor obstacle free. United by curiosity, interest in what’s new and innovative, they had the desire to bring something fresh and positive in the financial-banking industry.
In a man’s life, 16 years may not mean that much. But in the business world and, perhaps especially in the IT sector, 16 years of hard work meant for Allevo enough time to become a recognizable brand among specialists in Romania and abroad.
If we were to remember just some of the key moments in Allevo’s life, I would definitely think of:
We always believed that transparent sharing of information is crucial, while transparency in itself is a good and necessary guarantee to improve projects and refine ideas. In the IT industry, creative collaboration is almost synonymous with open source, and that led us to a further step, to publish in the open source space our application for processing financial transactions, what you already know now as FinTP.
After looking back at the past 16 years (of course I mentioned only the good moments), I need to take you back to the future. And the future of our activity has BOOST stamped on its forehead. Based on these three pillars - the FinTP open source project, the FINkers United community and the process of reinventing Allevo by aligning its business model to fit open source work - BOOST (Banking On Open Source Technology) is Allevo’s invitation to be part of a community that proposes, through open and sharing information, developing affordable solutions for the processing of financial transactions. With BOOST, Allevo wants to create a vehicle to increase financial interoperability between industries and geographical areas, and in the same time to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete in this environment, in Europe and beyond. You can imagine BOOST as a small step for open source that can become a big step for the financial market.
We only hope that our new initiative will bring us even more satisfaction moments in the next 16 year. And not just for us, but for the financial market and its players as well.
I cannot conclude without thanking everyone who has been a part of Allevo’s 16 years of existence and who supported us, nor without inviting all of you to take this new journey by our side and BOOST the financial market together.