Human Resources

C-suite career advice: John Renard, Cyient Ltd

John Renard                       

  Company: Cyient Ltd     

  Job Title: President EMEA           

  Location: London, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?

I always knew I wanted to go into business and the advice I gained along the way was less about what career to pursue but more about what industry to work in. In the end I followed two very sound pieces of advice. Firstly and simply, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. When I was 25 I left a well-paid and challenging job and started my own consultancy business. This was a big risk and at the time not an obvious career move. However, it opened up doors and opportunities that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. The second piece of advice I was given may sound hard to appreciate when you are at the start, but resonates when you are further into your career, “do something you enjoy”. Passion is an overused word in business, but it is much easier to succeed if you are doing something you enjoy and are naturally interested in, than if you have to do something simply for the sake of doing it.


What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?

When I was at University I was lucky enough to have the choice between two summer internships at the end of my second year. One was for a very large and well respected industrial PLC. The other was for a large financial services firm based in the City of London. Instead of paying attention to the actual content and structure of each internship, I followed the majority advice and headed off to the bright lights of London for the summer. The internship turned out to be incredibly boring and put me off doing anything related to finance or the City. I learnt a good lesson that summer, to focus on content and substance rather than first impressions.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?

I was brought up in a culture familiar to many who work in small to medium sized family businesses – a belief in hard work and careful financial management, underpinned by core values of fairness, respect and trust. This ingrained culture has served me well throughout my career and I would pass on this advice to anyone embarking on theirs. I would also urge anyone starting out their career to keep an open mind and believe the answer can more often be yes than no. As a C-level manager I enjoy working with people who like finding solutions and show me what can be done, especially when I am the skeptic.


What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?

Work hard and gain the respect of your colleagues. Ultimately, if you not only want to gain a c-level position, but to stay there and be successful, I believe you have to be liked and respected. A tip would therefore be to make sure you lead by example and do things for others that you would expect them to do for you.


Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?

Earlier in my career I was really pleased with how I was able to mentor and develop the career of one of my female associates. In an almost totally male dominated company and environment she joined as a junior IT support position and rose to be Operations Director. I like to think that I was able to provide some of the air cover and was able to create the opportunities for her, but in saying that her success was down to her own hard work, can-do attitude and ability to work with others. 


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