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Story CFO China – in his mid-twenties

At 23, business graduate Moritz Ottmann joined the Coroplast Group in Wuppertal as a controller. Shortly after that he began to climb the career ladder – in a new position with international experience and greater responsibility. He didn’t hesitate, showed great tenacity and did a convincing job. In fact so convincing that nine months later he received an offer that exceeded his wildest expectations. He was sent to China for one year as Chief Financial Officer, with the task of providing commercial support at the Coroplast Group’s location in China. At 24, Moritz Ottmann considered himself at the zenith of his young career, but there was still a lot more to come.

International responsibility

Today, his business card reads: “Head of Corporate Finance”. The 31-year-old is responsible for everything relating to the Coroplast Group’s international finances. The Chief Finance Officers of all five foreign subsidiaries report directly to him. For example, Moritz Ottmann coordinates payments to the builders in Mexico where the Coroplast Group is comprehensively expanding its existing plant. From Wuppertal, he monitors all of the service providers involved in the conversion, to ensure that the management team has a clear overall view of the company’s financial situation at all times. Moritz Ottmann is also responsible for the risk management, auditing and legal fields. He appreciates the complexity of his job and not knowing which challenges are awaiting him around the next corner. Colleagues in China, for example, might call because they want to transfer a machine for manufacturing vehicle electrical systems to Mexico. Moritz Ottmann then manages the entire monetary process that takes place outside Germany. He is the person who deals with questions of tax law and organises the commercial aspects of import and customs clearance. In view of his meteoric rise over the last five years, he does not dare to make any predictions about the next five – but they will definitely be exciting.

China was the best thing that could happen to me. I have never before learned so much in so short a time as I did there.

Moritz Ottmann | Head of Corporate Finance

China as a career impulse

“At the Coroplast Group, the rule of thumb is: if you go abroad for one year, you return after three. In my case it was even three-and-a-half. My first year in China was an incredible challenge for me. Normally, this kind of position is filled by someone in their mid-thirties with ten years of professional experience, whereas I had nothing but my qualification and the will to make a real go of it. Looking back, I don’t regret a single second. It was an intensive experience and the opportunity of my life at the same time. At the Coroplast Group, I come together with people who work passionately to achieve a common goal. These people are not here because they have to be, but because they are able to make a difference. If you tick the same way, it is hard to imagine a more productive environment. In China I learned to solve problems independently and to achieve the seemingly impossible.”