Original article: Forum | N°77 | 2023 – customer magazine of Alfred Müller AG, Baar (Switzerland)
Over 950 employees across 14 countries in Europe, a new branch in Singapore and a turnover of EUR 41.5 billion – what began 16 years ago with a small team as a spin-off of the Hungarian oil giant MOL in Budapest quickly became a global success story. And it continues unabated. Benjamin Lakatos, founder and CEO of MET Group, is conscious that this is primarily possible thanks to his employees. He confirms: “We would never have got this far without our employees. Our secret is our HR success story.”
Talent management is a key issue for the company, as it is the only way to retain the best talent. Employees from the energy and financial sectors, economists and engineers work for the four divisions of Trading & Wholesale, European Sales, Flexibility Assets and Green Assets. However, the energy sector is not always the first choice when it comes to pursuing a career. If you want to attract the best people, you have to offer them something. And that is what MET Group does.
Cleverly chosen linchpin
Over ten years ago, MET Group decided to relocate its headquarters to Zug. A smart move from a European perspective. With Zurich Airport as its hub, all 14 branches in Europe can be reached within a few hours. Zug can be reached from Kloten within 30 minutes. A piece of cake by European standards. However, with the rapid growth, the office space in Zug quickly became too small.
“The trading floor was pretty packed. Our offices were spread across three different buildings and were still bursting at the seams,” explains Bence Novák, Group Chief Strategy Officer, who was responsible for the search for a new home. The decision two years ago to look for a new head office was a logical consequence. The Quadrolith, built by Alfred Müller AG, was then chosen. “The Quadrolith offers us spacious, prestigious and expandable premises in an ideal location in the greater Zug area. It was particularly important to us that the conditions for a trading floor were in place and that our requirements and ideas in this regard could be realised. The well-connected location in direct proximity to the motorway and the Baar Neufeld suburban railway station speaks for itself,” says Novák.
The 160 employees moved to the new headquarters in mid-December 2022 – and are completely delighted with the new office space. MET Group’s Holding company moved to the fourth floor. The members of the Executive Board work in individual offices. Meeting rooms of various sizes and small cubes for undisturbed calls line the corridors and pave the way to an open-plan office at the end of the building.
Everything is bright and modern, large windows flood the rooms with daylight, harmonious colours and selected materials are a treat for the eyes and the open ceiling gives the rooms a touch of industrial chic. The highlight is the large Matterhorn boardroom, from where you have a clear view of Lake Zug and the Rigi and the Pilatus mountains. When meeting participants from abroad see this breathtaking panorama during video calls, the employees at the head office are regularly asked about the beautiful background filter. Their answer follows, not without pride: “It's real.” The other meeting rooms are also named after mountains. These include the largest or most important mountains of the 14 European countries in which MET Group has its own branches: Mulhacén, Musala, Marmolada... Twelve names are already taken, so two additional meeting rooms can still be named. With MET Group's expansion plans in Europe and Asia, more are likely to follow.
...and a state-of-the-art trading floor
If you take the spiral staircase down to the third floor, you enter a beautiful cafeteria, which is often used as a bar and lounge after work. It is directly adjacent to a large terrace and is much appreciated by the employees, especially in the summer months. If you go further, you pass the reception of MET International and enter the heart of MET Group: the trading floor.
Traders from numerous countries sit, deep in concentration, in front of their multiple screens and follow what is happening in the markets from Asia to America. The demands on the trading floor were high: state-of-the-art technology and security had the highest priority. Bence Novák confirms that the building infrastructure was one of the most important criteria when choosing the new location: “A trading floor requires special IT architecture. This is a given at Quadrolith, and was implemented to our satisfaction.”
Brilliant minds with a flair for risk
And what does a trader need to bring to the table? Assessments at MET Group are tough: logical thinking, stress resistance and expertise in risk management are basic requirements for getting a job on the trading floor. It's a tough mentality that requires a lot of knowledge. “You have to be able to juggle several balls at once,” says Bence Novák, describing the requirement.
The move to the Quadrolith has been worth it. At last, they are one unit in an inspiring location. Within a very short space of time, the sense of togetherness among employees has been strengthened. The Chief Strategy Officer is delighted: “Having often worked from home over the past few years, we can now see in our new offices how much positive energy there is when all of our colleagues are together in one place. We really enjoy that. And we have the impression that it makes us more responsive and efficient.” As MET Group is one of the fastest growing energy companies in Europe, the company also had the foresight to rent the fifth floor. It is still under construction, but soon this space will also be needed.
Proactive movers and shakers
In addition to the attractive office space, MET Group favours creative freedom for its employees. They are responsible for their projects from A to Z. A lot is on offer, but is also expected. It is a fast-paced, dynamic environment in which entrepreneurial spirit and performance pay off. In addition to the CEO and Keppel, a strategic investor from Singapore, 95 employees are involved in the company as shareholders. The annual talent development programme is also a great motivation, especially for young people. MET Group's HR success story seems to be working – and is actually retaining the best talent.
Text: Monika Mingot
Photos: Herbert Zimmermann