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How a Dutchman runs METRO in Kazakhstan and why he thinks it is easy to be a leader


How a Dutchman runs METRO in Kazakhstan and why he thinks it is easy to be a leader

Anton Van Gorp, 61 years old, city — Almaty, CEO of METRO Cash & Carry LLP in Kazakhstan

Антон Ван Горп

About me, career and development of METRO in Kazakhstan

I am from the Netherlands. I got a good education, especially in the field of leadership and now built a career at METRO, which has long been successful in the market.

I came to Kazakhstan in October 2012 as an advisor and was asked to stay for a year. As a result, I am still here and very happy. This is the eighth country in which I work and I plan to retire here.

METRO is a company that quickly became successful in Russia. Therefore, it was decided to launch this brand in Kazakhstan as well. However, it turned out that this is a completely different market. It is a huge country with a small population, which makes sales difficult. When I arrived, we tested many initiatives, checked what would work and what would not, and attracted local specialists.

We have the best team

During this time, we have built a stable company, which often are included in the top 5 of the best METRO branches in the world. We have the best team. People love to work here.

About the role of the leader in the company

The leader must have a vision for the future development of the company. He must also be able to work with people, make decisions quickly. It is important to will to create something and change the company.

The most important thing is simple — it is all about people. I compare the development of a company to playing football. Leaders choose strategy and players who can work as a team. And the company needs team players. I often quote former Great Britain coach Arsene Wenger: "A good team player is one who allows his teammates to score." It is important. I am in favor of my colleagues becoming successful and supporting each other.

The most important thing is simple — it is all about people

Therefore, I am focused on working with colleagues. For my direct reports I am as an assistant and for other employees as a mentor. This means that we do not only communicate with top managers, but also support everyone in the company.

METRO has certain values, a style of work, and we expect a certain attitude from employees. We do coaching, and invest in leadership programs. Top managers hold personal meetings with company employees. There are also personal coaches for managers.


It is important to form the right relationships within the team. We have many examples of people who have been with us from the very beginning and have achieved great success, occupying leadership positions in the company. They have found their place and know how to achieve results.

The average age of our employees is 33 years. This means that many young people work for us, even in leadership positions. The world now talks a lot about diversity. We are proud that 60% of our employees are women. There are also many representatives of different nationalities in the company. They work well together and respect each other. They all give me energy and support.

I think being a leader is easy. You need to be attentive to people every day so that they feel happy when they go home.

My work is my hobby

I love working with people, helping them become successful, seeing growth. I get great satisfaction from this. I also like to serve people, help them become successful. I love the retail business in general. Therefore, my work is my hobby. It gives me a lot of energy.

About plans

My goal is to make the company profitable. We import many goods and we are heavily affected by devaluation. However, I still see many opportunities for development and do not plan to leave Kazakhstan yet.

After the completion of the work, I would like the company to be run not by foreign managers, but by local specialists. We have many talented leaders in our team who understand the Kazakhstan market better.

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