Brian Friedman has recently joined online corporate accommodation company AltoVita as non-executive board adviser. Here, he explains the reasons for him taking on the role and what he believes today’s corporations need from their accommodation suppliers.
Brian Friedman is well known in relocation circles. He is the strategy director at Benivo and the regular weekly host of a LinkedIn Livecast called ‘The View from The Top’. Earlier in his career, he was a senior partner with EY and Arthur Andersen where, he said, he led the Human Capital practice. He then retired.
“I'm probably the world's worst retiree,” he explained, before going on to tell how he has tried it twice and failed both times.
In 2008 he set up the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) and developed the EMMA awards. “When I looked at the industry I saw loads of people targeting the same buyer at corporate accounts: tax people, immigration providers, moving companies, RMCs, schools, etc. Everybody wanted to get their attention. So FEM was a safe environment in which everybody could meet. It was shared learning for everyone because we all had the same aim – to make sure that the individual gets a safe transfer - everybody was working on the same side.”
FEM was very successful and, within six months, was operating in 30 cities worldwide. Then came Brian’s second retirement when he sold the company to Centaur Media.
But it wasn’t long before he was back in the industry and met the founders at AltoVita: Karolina Saviova and Vivi Cahyadi Himmel. “I like to get involved with companies that fascinate me: companies that are doing things differently,” said Brian.
He explained that he was frustrated by the fact that we all enjoy better technology in our everyday lives than we do at work ...
Photo: Brian Friedman.