Peter Neufeld, UK
Past entrepreneur Peter heads up the EMEIA Financial Services Digital Practice. He is passionate about bringing an entrepreneurial mind-set into all of his client work.
Q Why is an entrepreneurial mind-set important in EY employees?
A Our clients are looking for people to come in and offer them alternatives to the way the they currently do thing. In the FinTech space, there are a number of challenges our clients are facing as technology rapidly changes. For example, Facebook are now offering payments through Facebook Messenger and Apple Pay, and regulators are driving lots of costs and challenges for our clients. All of these things are factoring in the need for them to address things differently. These industry changes mean our clients want organisations like EY to come in and bring new ways of thinking, new ways of organising, and respond to challenges in the market – which means we need to think with an entrepreneurially.
Q How would you describe the culture at EY?
A We have a really interesting culture - there is something entrepreneurial about it and we have a high calibre of talent here. Our people are encouraged to engage with one another and put market-facing solutions together. EY has a very pragmatic approach which is to get in there, bring diverse teams together, roll up your sleeves and start solving problems in an agile way.
Q What’s the advice you would give to someone looking to be more entrepreneurial within a large organisation?
A To be entrepreneurial within a large organization, you need to identify with things that you feel passionate about and are true to who you are, then everything else should fall into place. It’s critical to find the right people to learn from, and be mentored by. Also remember no one can do it alone, the more diversity you surround yourself with in your career, in your life, the happier and more successful you’re going to be.
I grew up in California and went to university in the Bay area. I started off work in a small company set up by friends. It was an e-commerce digital company, which was acquired by Sapient - I moved to New York to help build out another practice for Sapient. Following that, I ran my own company for about ten years, a small digital agency in New York. I worked with a lot of cool clients that were really looking to build their digital capabilities. Eventually I was able to sell my company, so I relocated to London in 2012.
Since September last year, I’ve headed up the EY EMEIA Financial Services Digital Practice with a focus on building new capabilities and helping our clients address the challenges of digital disruption within the market. I help to build cross-functional teams with other parts of the organisation, providing our clients with solutions across other competencies such as conduct risk, risk & regulatory, cyber security, and enterprise intelligence.
Part of my role also involves engaging with FinTech and other actors in the digital ecosystem. A lot of times our clients have challenges and problems that can’t be addressed by any one individual organisation, and require multiple organisations working together to solve those problems. Bringing that ecosystem together has given us a very competitive advantage, and has been very successful for us.